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Virgin Islands: Surfing

While many people come to the Virgin Islands for fishing, boating, sailing and a great number of other water sports, the waters around the islands also beckon surfers. This section is especially for you avid wave riders!

This section is presented in a Q and A format. If you still have questions after reading this section, visit the Travel Forum, post a question and we will try to assist you.

Surfing Q and A:

What is the best time of the year to go surfing in the U.S.V.I?
Answer: The ‘surfing season’ is November through March.

Where are the best spots, in terms of access and waves/swells, on each of the U.S.V.I islands?

ISLANDLOCATIONGETTING THERE
St. ThomasHull BayRoad Access to Bay
St. CroixJudith’s FancyRoad Access to Bay
Water IslandSprat BayBoat Access
St. JohnReef BayShort Walk

Are there any surf locations in the U.S. mainland that would compare to surfing in the U.S.V.I?
Answer: No, surfing in the U.S.V.I is completely different. No point of reference can be made between surf spots around the mainland and those in the U.S.V.I.

Do any local surf shops rent surf boards for visitors?
Answer: Most local surf shops do not rent surf boards. The boards at these shops are for sale only. There are a few windsurfing shops that have short and long boards for rental.

Is it worth while for a visitor to bring a surf board to the U.S.V.I? Can the board be brought on the plane?
Answer: Yes, if you are visiting between November and March it is worthwhile to bring the surf board. Many airlines will let you check the board as luggage. In the past the cost was around $75 each way from the mainland to the U.S.V.I, check with the air carrier you are using for specific fees. Also take note that the air carrier does NOT take responsibility for accidents to your board. And the people we spoke to who had traveled with their boards many times had this to say:

“Your board will get damaged, every time I have traveled with the board something has happened. Luggage gets thrown around, things happen and they always have arrived damaged in some way. Not once has my board not gotten damaged. Best bet is to pack the fin very carefully and hope for the best. Worse case scenario your board gets cracked in half – but remember the airline will not cover it”.

How would you describe the waves/swells around the U.S.V.I and surfing in the U.S.V.I?
Answer: It varies greatly. However on average between November and March the waves/swells are between six to eight feet. During the rest of the year it is virtually flat. The surfing in the U.S.V.I is all reef break, there is no beach break. Therefore if you are afraid of reef break or hitting the reef, this is not the place for you to surf. This is not the surf location for someone to travel to if they are just learning to surf. Although local surfers learn here, they usually do this with an experienced surfer. A surfer should have moderate skill at surfing to surf in the U.S.V.I.

Any problems with sharks?
Answer: No problems, of course there are sharks but they are not bothersome.

Any special advice?
Answer: As with surfing anywhere, it is not advisable to surf alone. Anything can happen. You could hit the board, hit a reef, be injured in some way that leaves you unable to help yourself. For that reason, it is always a good idea to have someone out there surfing with you or at least on the beach, just to be safe. Especially if you are surfing in unfamiliar surf areas like the U.S.V.I.

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