Travel 2023: Explore a New Culture in Barbados
DeAction man, windsurfer, Brian Talma, Barbados. Photo: Alex Williams
Escape and find a purpose! In our February/March 2023 issue of Zoomer magazine, we featured “23 Reasons to Travel in 2023”. In this edition, we focus on destinations to explore ways to experience a new culture in sunny Barbados. Click on the link at the bottom of the story for more ideas and inspiration for your next trip.
“Action” is a word Brian Talma, 57, uses often and interchangeably, as a greeting or a goodbye, to signify adventure and fun. The kind you have carving up waves with the wind in your face, as Talma does in the ocean off his deAction surf shop and rental apartments at Silver Sands on the southernmost tip of Barbados. The kind you have just up the road that night at Chicken Rita’s, where Bajans go for the only thing on the menu: spectacularly seasoned fried chicken.
At a gathering there with Talma and some of his fellow wave riders, a Canadian visitor who offered to get some “good wine from the car” was almost laughed out of the place, and the drinking of Mount Gay rum and Banks beer – local libations, both – continued apace.
The hushed luxury of fine-wine lists, five-star hotels and polo matches on the West Coast leans into the island’s “Little England” identity as the country’s first overseas colony, dating back to 1625. But, in 2021, Barbados removed Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and declared itself a republic – a vibe shift personified by native Rihanna’s Caribbean-queen energy and Talma’s vision of “global organic tourism,” which aims to respect and support local businesses, people and culture.
It’s all spelled out in his book – called deAction, of course – which is part memoir and part manifesto, and he has created the Waterman Festival (a competition that blends surf sports with island favourites like cricket and dominoes); the Last Waterman Standing (a gnarly stand-up paddle board race that circles the island); and the Beach Culture World Tour that travelled to London in 2022.
His 16 magazine covers prove Talma is a star of the international circuit – placing fourth in the 2022 International Windsurfing Tour’s Aloha Classic Master on Maui – but “the action” is about an authentic and immersive experience.
“I do not call it a retreat, but you can come here, stay and do a lesson every day,” says Talma. “Then you can just hang out” in the clubby beach enclave, where you can eat, drink and take in his art – a mix of word graphics and
sea-life symbolism – which decorates his equipment and is displayed around the property.
“You come and really look within yourself, and find yourself – and I utilize my art, so I encourage people to do art – and I encourage people to write and do poetry to reflect who they are as a human being.”
Or as Talma also says, “The brain smiles and life sings. Action.”
A version this article appeared in the Feb/Mar 2023 issue with the headline ‘Experience a New Culture’, p. 89.
For more ideas and inspiration for your next trip, go here.