Barbadian life is full of contradictions. Generally it’s a safe island whose crime is concentrated in impoverished neighborhoods often saturated with drugs and gangs. Outside of those, as these photos affirm, crime – including theft – is minimal.
At Brandon’s aka Drill Hall Beach, one of the island’s best surf breaks, crime is a distant reality for Barbadian surfers who freely store their boards in the open.
Left unattended, insecure and guarded by a Keith Herring-esque mural, any passerby could easily load the few dozen boards onto a vehicle and disappear. As far as I know, no boards have ever been stolen since I arrived in Barbados in October 2020.
My move to Barbados brought many changes. One of the biggest is a new-found addiction to surfing. I’ve taken a few lessons, and while I’m still learning, I’ve conquered something pretty big (for me).
I never expected to pick up a new sport – especially as recently minted 42-year old.
My first few surf sessions were exhausting and terrifying. I’d slug a shot of rum (or two) before paddling out to calm my nerves. The spicy tonic would impose a focused presence without intoxication. Some days I’d paddle out without liquid courage. After months of coexisting with fear, confidence overcame the trepidation and I am not only a mediocre surfer (who can consistently catch waves and carve a bit) but developed a healthy surf addiction (sometimes surfing twice a day).
In so many ways surfing is meditative. Paddling into waves requires a balance between the mind, body and the churning ocean. Past the break zone you wait, straddling the board until a series of waves barrels toward the shore. Between wave swells, I often find myself meditating (literally), focusing, breathing deeply with closed eyes as I shed the daily grind in blissful harmony 300-feet from the shore.