Posts Tagged ‘Kiri Thode’

Kiri Thode has been crowned the 2013 PWA Freestyle World Tour champion

October 9, 2013

Kiri Thode, NB61, is undeniably, the 2013 PWA Freestyle World Champion. Hailing from the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire, Kiri recently dominated in his heats while competing in Sylt Germany. The final stop of the PWA Freestyle Tour, Sylt’s conditions are cold and fierce. Kiri prevailed and won top honors.

I met this windsurf rock star in 2001.This windsurf athlete exemplifies grit and resilience. Hard work pays off. Also, having an entire island supporting and loving and believing in you helps to the end. But, this is not the end for Kiri. He will be seen on future windsurf podiums. Kiri represents windsurf brilliance.

Kiri’s training grounds are at windy Lac Bay. To learn more about Kiri and Bonaire’s awesome windsurf training grounds, contact Ann Phelan at Ann is a former event coordinator for over 6 PWA freestyle event. When she’s not booking trips, she’s on the water windsurfing.


Children of the Wind – A Documentary

February 14, 2010

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 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…

Grande Finale Day 2 Freestyle

July 20, 2009

Kiri Thode

Day 2 the final day of freestyle was a light wind day. The wind was truly disappointing but the ABC freestyle posse took it in stride and made the best of it, in fact some of the sailors excel in light winds putting on quite the show.

The crowd favorites are clearly the baby kids. For the girls Koleta Abrahamsz placed first and Faye Larlo Scheper of Curacao placed 4th. For the boys, Jursten Trinidad placed first, Nicolas Verploeg placed second, Terrence Anthony third and Harley David Jenkins 4th.

In the boys 8-10 category Bonaire rider, Rover Dullart won the heats. This young kid has been training and hanging with the pros and it shows. He is a rider to see at future pro podiums. Aron Etmon of Curacao placed second, Serginho Finies of Bonaire placed third and Christopher Thuis of Curacao won 4th. It was a fun heat to watch.

In the boys 10-11, Aruba’s Steven Lageveen won the title sailing his rainbow Hot Sail. He tossed a few Gecko Flakas, Vulcan’s and switch stance moves. Jurgen Saragoza of Aruba placed second. He performed a jump tack and other light wind moves. Mitchell de Palm of Curacao has been practicing at home as he placed third thanks to a few one handed tricks. Stepherd Gustowski placed 4th sailing for Bonaire. He also performed well in incredibly light wind.

Team Aruba was neck and neck when Nick van den Erenbeemt and Mathias Ver Ploeg duked it out. Kaj van de Lubbe was pulling off his moves early on and as the day progressed pushed it to the limits in the boys 12-13 group. Nick’s Spock 540 was impressive and Mathias pulled off a clean gecko.  In the end, Nick’s smooth moves won him the title. Nick left early to attend Cabarete Race Week.

In the boys 14-15 Amado Vrieswijk maintained his title throwing some clean Grubby’s, E Sliders and Spock 540’s. Rich was showing the judges some impressive 1 handed Spocks and heli tacks while Dylan was a sail flip wiz.

In the girls, Nicole Van der Velden from team Aruba won with her sail finesse. Iris Jasperse from Bonaire was a wiz at light wind sail flipping making the crowd dizzy with her display. Andrea Simal from Bonaire came in third after a set of nice sail flips and tacks.

In the boys 17-18 there was a showdown of some fierce freestyle moves. The winner, Bjorn Saragoza of Bonaire won the title thanks to a dazzling set of freestyle. A crowd favorite was his Cana Brabu named after the local band of Bonaire. Endro Finies placed second showing off some smooth moves including a nice switch stance Chacho.  Victor Wederfoort from Curacao has clearly been training hard and placed third. Hendryck Balentien a team rider for RRD placed 4th showing a nice display of freestyle in his heats.

In the boys 19+ Kiri Thode came away as the reigning champion. Despite hardly any wind, he wowed the crowd with some sick aerial freestyle including Ponch’s, Funnels and more. Caesar Finies, the star and creator of Flowstyle sent the crowd to their feet with his sail dynamics. He placed second. Jaeger Sint Jago from Bonaire placed third showing off some rail rides and other light wind techniques.  Aruba’s Sara Quita Offringa flew Sunday to Fuertaventure missing her second day of heats.

The awards ceremony was an incredible event. Recognition was given to Jopi Soleano who hand crafted the lovely trophies. All the sponsors were present to present awards including Hot Sails owner Jeff Henderson who flew in from Hawaii to see his team. Lt. Governor Thode, a windsurfer himself presented awards as well. The Bolas champions won prizes for their weekend competition. After, Rincon Boys serenaded the huge crowd into the night. It was a wonderful weekend of freestyle and beach culture on Bonaire.

Day 3 Wed. Squalls and dead zone

July 16, 2009

The weather contrast from yesterday to today is vastly different.  An 11 AM squall during the heats created a wild frenzy on the course. Then, the wind was gone. The winds are well below the wind minimum for racing so heats were postponed. The riders are taking a break from two days of course racing working on email correspondence, listening to music, catching up on windsurf news and tuning gear. Many are taking to the sea to enjoy the Caribbean blue.

In the Master’s Division Sergio Mehl A 21 is creeping up to the 3rd spot.  Thomas Faust ITA 106 still earns top spot but Markus Poltenstein, AUT 30 knows it’s not over yet. In the Youth Division Enes Yilmazer TUR 2 is determined to hold the top spot in his division. He is a confident talent riding for JP Australia and North Sails.  Sebastien Kordel GER 220 is focused on remaining in the top 3 positions. Malte Reuscher ITA 7777 is the most easily visible sailor with his black Point 7 sail. He is a worthy opponent to watch in future heats.  In the Junior Division Luigi Romano is still on top despite a disqualification. Sail ITA 911 is riding for RRD and Simmer Sails.  Gutek Kurzewski POL 75 was resting during todays no wind afternoon in preparation for future heats. He is confident and determined.  Morane Demont from France is a driving force staying in the top 3 against her male opponents. Morane rides for Starboard and Severne Sails.

Everyone is gearing up for the big night in Rincon tonight. At 5 PM the Paranda Party Bus leaves Sorobon for an island tour. At 7 the villagers of Rincon will host a night of music and culture at Magazina di Rei. Once the site of grain and food storage in the days of slavery, this is a historic building steeped in history. There will be traditional fire dancing, local food and music.

Tue. night the freestyle under the stars was phenomenal. This a fun informal event spotlighting local talent. It was a brisk windy night. Judges Ro Mayer, Mac, Jaeger and Elvis coordinated single ladder 3 min heats to see who would be crowned King of the Night. Kiri Thode won the title King of the Night for planing freestyle while Caesar Finies won the title for non planing. There was a lovely chicken BBQ and local music.

Photo by Marco Di Gianvito - ACTIVEYEPHOTO

Photo by Marco Di Gianvito - ACTIVEYEPHOTO

Freestyle Heaven…

May 2, 2009

Video Courtesy of Matowind

I first heard of these guys whilst watching a Dasher video one cold winter night in 2000. I had dreams of sailing and it was as close to sailing as I could get.  I heard the “Bonaire Kids” were going to Tinho and Susie’s event, Calema so my event partner and I headed to Merritt Island to scout the team and invite them to our event, King of the Cape 2001. The rest is history’s a peak at their talent. It’s mindblowing, actually.

Wicked Wind

February 13, 2009

Windguru ( and our local weather forecaster ( were right on with the weather forecast. The winds have been great for our windsurf tourists. The ABK Clinic attendees are certainly having  a great time on the water. The next two weeks are easily two of the busiest weeks on island. If you can find some last minute airfare, call me at 800-219-0118. I have some killer last minute deals.  It’s 4.5-5.5 wind all the way.

Enjoy a photo of our rock star Kiri Thode on the water!!

freestyle wind