I became a windsurfer in the late 90’s. It was all I thought about and encompassed all aspects of my life. I thought and lived wind. In the late 90’s I spent many a cold winter nights watching instructional windsurf videos. My favorite videos were the productions of my now friend and colleague, Dasher. Dasher made these cool videos of some kids n Aruba’s sister island, Bonaire. They were crazy hot shots on Bic mini rigs. I had heard whispers of this island in the windsurf community but never made it there. One day in cold February 2001 my colleague and friend Tinho Dornella told me the team from Bonaire was coming to his event, Calema. I had been to Calema twice and thought there was no better way to see the team then to scout them out. I was the co founder and event coordinator of King of the Cape with my then colleague Marc Lefebvre and we wanted them at our event for June. We flew down early March and met the team. Tonky Frans has a face full of piercings and a killer smile. He had red hair too. It was electric. He later told me Andy Brandt tutored him to stand out and that’s how the red hair came to be. Me, I don’t think he needed the red hair. He stood out, that’s for sure. Little Kiri Thode stood on the shore shivering in the March air. Chris Bernabella was there as laughing with his friends. He told me he loved Florida but did not love the cold. I asked around who was in charge. I then met Byron Tromp. Byron and I spoke and agreed they would try to come to King of the Cape, a PWA sanctioned event. They worked hard at their end finding sponsorship through many sources including Air Jamaica. Back on Cape, Marc Lefebvre and Nevin Sayre (Fiberspar) connected and agreed to sponsor the team any way we could. Nevin and his wife Stina took in a crowd. I had a group at my house. The rest is their history. They dominated the event blowing away the pros in attendance. I recall Martin van Geehoven being astounded with Taty Fran’s flat water loop that sealed the deal for his win. Brian Talma was in attendance meeting little Kiri Thode who we called the “mini Irieman”. That was the start of a very special friendship; Kiri barely spoke English back then. The team went back to Bonaire but Ro Mayer and Tonky went on to the Gorge. Tonky dominated the Gorge Games and Ro was a force to be reckoned on the water. My daughter I traveled West to join them and witness windsurf history. Windwing saw something in the guys and sponsored them. Bill Morrisey from Dakine also took on the team as riders. Nevin hooked the guys up with Fiberspar gear and AHD boards. After Cape Cod, the Gorge was the second part of the world to catch a glimpse at their brilliance. This was just the beginning..it all exploded that year, 2001 but it started wayyyy before that.
World reknowned producer Peter Robertson and his colleagues, Daphne Schmon and Robert McCormick are documenting Bonaire’s windsurf history.Take a glimpse at their story as shown in the trailor in “Children of the Wind”. This soon to be released production will warm your hearts, expose you to a culture and introduce you to young people who have a passion that breaks through all barriers.
Photo Courtesy of Children of the Wind
Please note the trailer is not part of the actual production by Peter Robertson. It is short promotional preview that was shot by Robert McCormick and Daphne Schmon. Production continues on island in May. Join Children of the Wind on Facebook and Twitter. This is such an important documentary on so many levels. This is a tribute to a village and community who believed and the kids who dared to dream…