Jason Latham is one of our favorite sup safari sponsored athletes who keeps the stoke real and the energy level high. He travels extensively searching for the perfect wave and gives back frequently to his community and the preservation of the environment. JLay (as he is known) is a true waterman and stoke master.
Here is the tale of his recent exploits to Barbados.
Destination Barbados, From Caribbean to Atlantic: tons of fun this 21-mile long island
Coming from the East Coast, of the United States, I first heard about Barbados during my first trip to Costa Rica when I was 14 years young.It was a story that really stuck out to me at that age. The story was told by an older teenager from the same region as me which is Georgia, N. Florida area. He talked about the epic waves in Barbados and how he got bit by a small shark on his arm while surfing there.
Flash forward 15 years later.
Apparently, he was pulling my leg. After recalling the story with Jason Cole, local Bajan waterman, born and raised in Barbados, Jason laughed and said, “There’s no sharks in Barbados. I’ve only seen like 3 sharks my whole entire life living here”.
Then he grinned and said, “He was probably lying about the waves too.”
It’s all about the people: Barbados offers tasty bajan surf and a laid back local vibe
Jason Cole is loaded with knowledge and good stories to tell. He and his wife Sarah own a paddle board concession and surf school on Carlisle Bay in Barbados aptly named Paddle Barbados. A true local and all around waterman. Sarah and Jason do it all.. From kiteboarding and windsurfing, to traditional surfing, to sup surfing/racing and downwinders. They truly are living the dream!
“Remember that famous Kelly line: ‘It’s all about where your mind’s at?’ In that interview, Kelly mentioned that one of his favorite waves in the world is Soup Bowl in Barbados. If Kelly says it’s that good, I’m in.”
On that first trip to this 21-mile long, tiny island, I took along a good friend and talented photographer, John Krivec. John was on hand to document the adventures for my sponsors, Jimmy Lewis Boards and Ke Nalu Paddles.
John and I met via stand up paddling when I moved back to Georgia after residing on the North Shore of Oahu back in 2012. John had just returned to Georgia from Laguna Beach and opened up a paddleboard business on St. Simons Island, Georgia. He recently sold his business after a successful run to focus on his professional photography.
He’s a pro, as you will see.
Why Barbados? A bucket list item and Slater too
This trip would not have been possible without our good friend Evelyn O’Doherty at Standup Journal linking us up with the awesome folks at Paddle Barbados. Thanks to Evelyn, we saw that Sarah and Jason Cole were hosting a stand up paddle event in Barbados called the Dragon World Sup Championships in early November. John and I planned our trip accordingly, and decided to go after that event finished up. Neither of us had been to Barbados and we were both excited to explore this ‘bucket list’ item.
I thought about Kelly Slater too. Remember that famous Kelly line: “It’s all about where your mind’s at”? In that interview, Kelly mentioned that one of his favorite waves in the world is Soup Bowl in Barbados. If Kelly says it’s that good, I’m in.
Getting gritty with Barbados: where to eat, what to do and ideal surf spots
Soup Bowl on the East side of the island is an epic wave that I got to surf on my last day of the trip. It is supposed to be one of the most reliable waves in all of Barbados. Barbados is a surfer’s dream if you are looking for a tropical getaway with good surf, especially in the winter time. Plus, its not too far away! The plane ride is only a three and a half hour flight from Ft Lauderdale, Florida and five hours from New York’s JFK.
“There are lots of places to explore and plenty of paths to venture down in this sandy, soulful island.”
John and I booked our condo through Airbnb and got a sweet deal near Pebbles Beach which is just a few miles away from the largest town in Barbados, Bridgetown. There is great snorkeling/diving/fishing right out front of our condo and it also turned out to be an easy walking distance to a several great restaurants.
Fish Cutters and Monkey Mayhem
Remembering these restaurants has got my mouth watering thinking about “Fish Cutters”. A fish cutter is basically just a fish sandwich with the works (lettuce, tomato, onion, bread, etc.) But, in Barbados, you’re not given just any fish sandwich, The fish is super fresh, tasty and delicious.
John and I decided the best fish sandwich or “cutter” ever was from the restaurant directly above Paddle Barbados called, “The Cruising Club”. It is a perfect name for this top deck, open air eatery that’s an excellent place to chill out, grab a bite and share with a tasty local brew, and cruise!
Overall, our trip was fantastic! When John and I were not in the water, we were exploring the island. We even visited the Barbados Wildlife Preserve to hang out with some real monkeys while we were there.
Blue Waters and Lots of Swell Action
There are lots of places to explore and plenty of paths to venture down in this sandy, soulful island. The water in Barbados is very unique in comparison to many of the waters that I have seen around the world. Not only is it crystal clear, but it is a true turquoise blue. It literally puts most swimming pools to shame!
“The vibe in Barbados is super cool and laid back. The entire culture reminded me of Jamaica and England mixed up together in a blender.”
Most of the water time for John and I we spent on the Eastern shores around Bathsheba. This is one of the most reliable areas in Barbados for surf. According to the locals, the surf breaks around Bathsheba work well on any given day.
There are also a few different peaks to choose from in Bathsheba, which provide a variety of fun lefts and rights.
Creating community ties and surf sup adventure pals for life
We also journeyed to some other amazing spots to the North/West side of the island as well. There is so much beauty to see riding along the coast from the mountains to the winding back roads in to the jungle! Another great aspect about Barbados is that there are a lot of great surf spots and setups on all four sides of the island. Most of them are pretty easily accessible as the island is so small.
“Perhaps for me, the best part of any trip is not always the surf, but the relationships you create along the way.”
The vibe in Barbados is super cool and laid back. The entire culture reminded me of Jamaica and England mixed up together in a blender. We made the best of the surf conditions we were dealt with and we got to see the endless potential of setups and surf all around the island.
Perhaps for me, the best part of any trip is not always the surf, but the relationships you create along the way. The bonds we made with Jason, Sarah, Tremayne, and Adrian at Paddle Barbados will be lifelong. John and I look forward to getting back there sooner than later! Thanks for having us, Barbados!
— Written by, Jason Latham
Photography: John Krivec Photography