Posts Tagged ‘Pro Kids’

Youp Schmidt Windsurf Rock Star

April 19, 2010

Photo Courtesy of Youp Schmit

The Curacao Challenge was the premier Caribbean based windsurf event of the Spring season. Youp Schmidt, a young talent from the island of Bonaire earned 1st place in the freestyle category for 18+. The freestyle event was held for two days April 5 and 6. While the winds were light, Youp pulled off some slick moves including a Shaka seen below. Youp goes on to Europe this summer to compete in the Professional Windsurfing Associations (PWA) world freestyle tour.

Photo Courtesy of Youp Schmit

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Windsurfing Scene

February 21, 2009

Windsurf Stickers Even On Trash Cans

Bonaire, the sleepy sister island to bustling Aruba is best known as one of the Caribbean’s best dive destinations. Much of Bonaire’s coastline is designated as a marine park. Heavily enforced rules keep the reefs healthy teeming with sea life. Above water, year round cooling trade winds make this island windsurf paradise. On the southeast corner lies a tranquil area called Sorobon. Here a mellow nudist resort and two windsurf shops share Lac Bay. The gin clear water and brown sugar sand attract beachgoers on weekends. What makes this perfect for windsurfing are the steady onshore breezes. Newbies revel in the beginner conditions. Intermediate sailors love the bump and jump conditions on a super windy day and enjoy blasting around towards the mangroves. Expert sailors head upwind to Cai to catch the waves. The entire area is surrounded by one of the island’s best reefs. Windsurfing is big on the island. Its a common sight to see windsurf stickers on cars, buildings and even on trash cans. Folks love their local windsurf heroes. The island hosted several PWA windsurfing events in recent years.  I was one of the organizers enjoying every minute of these high adrenaline events. Now, the island is the site for the annual Starboard Pro Kids Worlds held each Aug. In one previous event over 131 kids competed for the coveted title of Pro Kid. The children start early as young as two years and spend weekends training. Some come daily after school. Parents and grandparents sit on the shore’s edge or at the windsurf club, Aquaspeed watching their children sail. The kids and adults that windsurf are a dedicated bunch. Some have gone on to be pros competing internationally. Tonky Frans, Kiri Thode and Taty Frans are in the top 10 in the Professional Windsurfing Association’s (PWA) Tour. Others compete in the European events including a handful of talented kids. One year a group went to Alacati Turkey to compete in the Slalom Worlds.  Last year they went to Italy. They are the ambassador’s for this little country of 14,000 residents. It’s really quite impressive and has created a national pride for the unofficial national sport, windsurfing. When visiting Bonaire, take an afternoon and head to Lac Bay. Enjoy one of the two on site restaurants. There is plenty of shade or sun and it’s a great place for all ages.

Pro Kids