Words and Photos by Ravi Lloyd
Anguilla’s beaches are highly regarded for their beauty but, very quietly, many have something else to offer as well: great surfing. We had LargeUp contributor and Anguilla-based surf enthusiast Ravi Lloyd, co-founder of the SurfAXA collective, give us an introduction to Caribbean surfing’s best kept secret. Read Ravi’s story, and find out more about surfing in Anguilla by following Surf AXA on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. If you find yourself in Anguilla and in need of a board, a surf lesson or just a recommendation for a hidden spot to take on the waves, be sure to look him up.
The SurfAXA collective began after realizing how many surfable waves are in Anguilla that no one is surfing. The realization came after my brother Akio and I were able to travel and see waves around the world. Individually, we went to Puerto Rico, Ghana, Fiji, Hawaii, Mexico and California to realize we have some of the best uncrowded waves here in Anguilla.
My brother and I began bringing boards down to Anguilla every time we were passing through the US or St. Martin, and then eventually moved onto making our own boards. There’s no surf shop in Anguilla, but the combination of Anguilla’s boatmaking history and maritime knowledge make surfing out here possible. No surf shops also means no crowds. Although other islands close by have bigger surf scenes like Puerto Rico and St Martin, Anguilla still has a lot of freedom in the water.
It really is just putting together everything that we have out here and being resourceful. We take Styrofoam from the major import warehouses on the island to shape boards and sometimes we mix it in with the yucca plant to make the boards too. My brother pioneered that whole effort just through searching the Internet for what you can make boards with. We don’t have anyone out here teaching us, we just know how to make boats, and have been doing that all our life, so we figure we could make a surfboard too.
As a company we are all about spreading awareness of the ocean and maritime skills. Anguilla owns 200 nautical miles of ocean—much much more ocean than land—and it is one of our greatest assets. Our position on the top of the chain of the Lesser Antilles also means unprotected north swells. We have been blessed this season with a few good swells, but everyone in the region is still waiting for the bigger Atlantic swells that are common around this time of year. Here’s a few photos of what has come in this year so far, but the best is yet to come.