Antigua is one half of the island nation of Antigua & Barbuda (one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region). It was a major sugar resource for much of Europe and the wrold in the 1700s. Antiqua’s a bit different from other Caribbean islands as it considered “flat” by many. It rises to just 1,000 feet above sea level as compared to the spiking volcanic peaks of neighbouring islands like the Dominican Republic with the 10,000 foot-high summit of Pico Duarte.
Antigua surf forecasts and temperatures
The predominant forecasts call for locally generated windswell that rarely exceed three feet. North Atlantic swells are dissipated in the shallow surroundings or blocked by sister island Barbuda. Hurricane season can bring epic days and great surf reports, but it’s a rare occurance. Northeast winds are the rule throughout the winter while southeast winds are the norm in summer. The prevailing trades make Antigua a kiting and windsurfing paradise.
Antigua temperatures remain steady throughout most of the year, dipping as low as the mid 70s Fahrenheit in winter and peaking in the upper 80s in summer. Water temps are even steadier, varying only a few degrees but always within two or three marks of 80. Rainy season is September through December but it’s still fairly dry compared to neighbouring isles.
Antigua & Barbuda surfing spots and best beaches
The island’s SUP (Stand up paddle surfing) and Kitesurfing hot spots are clustered along the eastern shores with Shoal Bay, Dutchman Bay and Nonbsuch Bay providing consistent sessions. Jabberwock Beach on the northwest side of the island is a one-mile expanse of white sand. Located just outside St. John, it’s constantly buffeted by the trades and can provide good-to-epic kitesurfing.
Kiteboarding’s complicated nature is addressed in an introductory package from Kitesurf Antigua. For $300 students get four hours of intensive one-on-one instruction through the school’s “Beginner Special.” Kitesurf Antigua also offers a complete 2-to-3-day course made up of 10 hours worth of lessons. That program is $650 per person for private instruction and $500 if done in a group. More info: kitesurfantigua
“Where kitesurfing is easy to learn” is the motto of the 40 Knots school which offers windsurf and SUP lessons as well. Kite students launch off Green Island into Nonsuch Bay while instructors follow you around in a dingy providing pointed advice and troubleshooting issues. Two comprehensive private half-day lessons start at $480 low season and go up to $600 at high surfing season in Antigua. Check for info: 40knots.net
On the days when there’s no wind, SUP Antigua provides customised lessons and tours. And if you already know how to paddle, they rent out SUPs as well starting at $30 per hour. Check for info: standuppaddleantigua.com
Antigua surf hotels and camps to stay
A stay at Nonsuch Bay Resort offers easy kitesurfing, windsurfing and SUP courses. The bay here is perfect for learning, with two-square miles of open, shallow water. All inclusive stays with meals and airport transfers start at $465 per night per couple. (with kite lessons extra.) The resort features modern, open rooms with hard wood trim and splashes of tropical color. Most units are clustered around the hotel’s pool or bar/restaurant. More info at the Hotel’s website.
Antigua Village is a condominium surf resort with units clustered along the shore of the island’s famous turquoise waters. Located at Dickenson Bay St John’s, the condo complex grounds spread out over flower lined pathways that all lead to either the beach or the pool. Rooms are decorated in an open, colourful and modern design while oozing heaps of Caribbean steez. Stays start at $144 with a variety of customisable options. Check for more info: antiguavillage.com
Ellen Bay Cottages offer modest, authentic island stays in affordable apartments that start at just $71 per night. The colourful units sit next to the beach adjacent Stingray City. They offer studio and two bedroom apartments with one “superior” two bedroom apartment that sleeps up to seven guests and comes with a view of the hills and the sea. The rooms are brightly painted and open to the tropical breeze. Check this Antiqua surf resort’s website: ellenbaycottages.com/en-us
For more informatiion on where to stay and what to do in Antigua visit bestantigua.com
Antigua & Barbuda surfing guide prepared by Bryan Dickerson (wavepoolmag.com) for Dailystoke.com
Photo by Bertrand Bouchez