PRO SURFER KARINA PETRONI ON BAHAMAS’S BEST

“I feel weird if I don’t get to see the ocean,” says Karina Petroni, the Panama-born pro surfer who spends her time island hopping in the Bahamas when she’s not searching the globe for new breaks. The humbling power of spending time in the sea is a feeling she became addicted to at age 9, when she first picked up a surfboard. Six continents and nearly two decades later, Petroni is still amazed that “you can be so consumed by something.” Here, Petroni gives photographer Nico Guilis an island-hopping tour of her new home, from the best waves to her favorite water-loving neighbors.

Photography: Nico Gullis

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“That’s the island of Eleuthera. It’s actually derived from the Greek word meaning “freedom.” It’s probably my favorite island in all of the Bahamas. That’s a little secret beach we came across and found some fun waves. The island is so diverse. It’s rolling country and has so much history. Combining that with the beaches is a match made in heaven.”

“That’s my husband and my plane. She’s pretty much his new wife. I can take the yoke, but I’m not a pilot yet. I’m planning to get my license soon. I can keep her cruising, but getting her down is another thing.”

“That’s down in the Exumas. The swimming pigs are pretty world famous. They live on this island. People say that when the British were down there in the 1700s, they had their livestock. When they up and left, the pigs and some of the livestock stayed. They ended up living on this island and beach. When yachts anchor in the bay . . . they just want to eat your food.”

“Cruising the streets of Harbour Island. It’s a dreamy place—from the colors of the homes to the foliage and the pink-sand beach. It’s chic and not overdone, not tacky.”

“This is Runaway Hill—I’ve forgotten how much I love skateboarding. I used to skate more than I surfed. Talk about letting it go and channeling your inner Dogtown skater girl.”

“I’ve been so blessed to see a lot of this planet at a young age—I’m so thankful for that, really—but flying over the Bahamas is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Thousands of shades of blue and green. When you look out of a plane, that sense of silence comes over you—how small you are looking down at everything. There’s nothing else you can think about.”

“Back in Eleuthera—in another amazing town that’s filled with history and incredible old architecture. You land right there in the bay, throw the anchor, and wade in and eat lunch. We went to Da Perk. It’s the cutest café run by an Australian-Bahamian couple. Awesome local produce, fresh fish, and healthy food. It’s a special spot. It looks right over the harbor.”