Antigua's Windsurfing and Kitesurfing Experience.
About the island:
Antigua, Barbuda, and Redonda islands form an independent nation within the British Commonwealth of Nations. The first island is the largest one. It is about 22km (14miles) long and 18km (11miles) wide. The nation also includes the tiny uninhabited island of Redonda, now a nature preserve. The current population for the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John's.
The island has warm, steady winds, a complex coastline of safe harbors, and a protective, nearly unbroken wall of coral reef. The island has the most sunshine out of the Eastern Caribbean Islands.
Local famous expression says that they have a different beach for every day of the year. The beaches here are truly spectacular. Most of them are protected by coral reefs and the sand is often sugar white.
Antigua does not have high rises, big casinos and glittering nightlife. Most of its hotels are intimate. Although, there are a lot of great pubs, bars and restaurants.
Most locals will treat you with respect if you show them respect. The island is relatively safe but not the friendliest. There is too much unemployment and too great a gap between rich and poor.
When to go:
The trade winds blow here during the months of December through April with an average of 17-19 knots. The best waves here are from December to February. In May the winds drops to 15 knots average.
The highest wind is in June and July when the trade winds consistantly blows 20 knots. In August and September they drop to 15-17 knots. The least windy months are October and November when the wind drops to 12 knots.
The wind direction at the eastern part of the island where most sailing is going on is usually side-on shore which is great for all skill levels. The northeast trade winds averaging 15 knots during the year. (Antigua is one of those places you can go kite or windsurf pretty much anytime of the year.) The water temperature is about 23°C (73°F) in the winter and 26°C (78°F) in the summer. There is a low humidity year-round and very sunny most of the time.
Beaches to go:
Jabberwock Beach at Shallow Bay is the major wind and kitesurfing beach. Located on a beautiful white sandy beach facing the trade winds on the island's northeast coast, it is just 5 minutes from the airport.
This beach has an excellent long sandy launch for kiters with fairly steady, side to side shore winds. It is a perfect place to learn how to kite or to windsurf or to take your sailing to the next level. Jabberwock Beach accommodates kite and windsurfing schools and shops.
Dickenson Bay in the northwest, directly north of St. John's, is one of the island's finest beaches, with its wide strip of powder-soft sand and blissfully calm turquoise waters. This bay is another big center of windsurfing and kitesurfing activity on the island. Halcyon Cove on Dickenson Bay accommodated wind and kitesurfing shops and schools. In January and July, the annual Windsurfing Antigua Competitions are held.
Half Moon Bay is perhaps Antigua's most beautiful beach which stretches for nearly 1.5 km (1 mile) on the southeastern coast. Half Moon Bay lies east of English Harbour near Mill Reef. The Atlantic surf beyond the reef provides good wave sailing in this area. However inside of the reef the water is calm and is good for beginners to practice. The beach is a public park and ideal for a family outing.
Turner's Beach is also worth trying. This idyllic beach is located near Johnson's Point on the southwest coast. The beach has fine white sand and crystal-clear waters.
You may also try to sail from Darkwood Beach which is only 5-minute drive south of Jolly Harbour Marina or the famous Pineapple Beach. Their waters are crystal blue.
As it was mentioned before, there are 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. The great majority rest inside the calm, protected waters of the island's Caribbean side. You may explore the rest of the beaches and find your own perfect sailing spot.