Barbados Surf Dispatch #4 by Scott Valor

Barbados Surf Dispatch #4 by Scott Valor

The story is that surfing came toBarbados in the mid-60s or so, from visiting Americans. During the Vietnam War, the US still had the draft. Those who didn’t want to be drafted into the military faced arrest and imprisonment, so the draft dodgers usually only had one choice: leave the country. Many went to Canada. The smart ones headed to Barbados.

Their influence on a select few Bajans who lived near the coast is obvious. The Bajan term for boardshorts is still “baggies,” though we haven’t used that term in the
US for over 30 years. People still remember the first generation Bajan surfers. Most are dead, but some like Snake in Bathsheba and a handful of guys who live in the south part of the island, can still be seen paddling out when it’s good. Everybody knows their names and they are shown respect.

Meanwhile the young Bajans don’t realize how good they have it—the Internet’s daily reports, more traveling surfers than ever, more surf-related products available, like boardshorts, new surfboards, leashes, and wax. The poorer Bajans still have to get by on the kindness of visitors, but many you see with the newest equipment and clothes.

Soup Bowl is empty today, except for one Bajan kid who seems to prefer surfing solo. Yeah, there are waves. It’s bigger than yesterday, overhead on sets, but it’s a little windy and the tide is high. If this was my first day here, I’d be frothing and out there immediately. But, after a week of constant surf, I’m just falling into the Bajan trance—take your time, wait for a better tide and for the wind to calm down. It’s gonna get better, mon…

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