The Pro Kids event held in Bonaire made history August 1 – 5, with 131 participants in this year’s event, organized by the Bonaire Sailing Foundation, making it the world’s biggest freestyle event ever. With 37 participants, Windsurfing Curaçao established another record, being the largest delegation from abroad. The local air carrier Insel Air had to bring in three extra planes to transport all windsurfers and their families to the neighboring island.
Race directors Tinho and Suzy Dornellas were put on the spot, facing this great number of participants—the usual double eliminations for all of them would have taken more than the four scheduled competition days. Emergency consultations brought the solution: during the first two days, all participants would be split up in age groups of five, whatever their level of skills, and get the opportunity to show tricks and moves during three four-minute heats in a marked-off course. The judges could evaluate which riders would compete in the elimination rounds. The side effect of this creative move was a delight for the eyes of the spectators, facing many active competitors on the water at the same time.
Among the 131 participants representing 11 nations were several national champions including Max Droege from German, who trained about a month in Bonaire preceding the Pro Kids event, and Dominik Kovarik from the Czech Republic.
On the second day, when winds stepped over the magical 20 knots for a couple of hours, all showed the most crazy maneuvers like a Double Matrix and a Sleepy Hollow (clew first heli tack into a duck in the boom), Hoss Tacks, Ankle Biters, Seated Tacks and a Boomerang.
“It was a dizzy array of amazing combinations including a Fin First Board Jibe, a Clew First Sail Spin, a Combo Pirouette Hoss Tack, and a flawless Body Sail 360” according to Ann Phelan, one of the organizers.
The Baby Class of over 33 kids up to age seven charmed the crowds while the older kids wowed everyone with their talent and determinism. This year, the female competitor categories grew in all age groups.
Fifteen new world champions were the result of the tense double elimination rounds during the last two days. Ten of the titles were claimed by the Bonairean riders, as could be expected, and a remarkable four were conquered by windsurfers from Curacao, all girls!
Sarah-Quita Offringa from Aruba claimed the fifteenth title and was crowned Queen of the Pro Kids, next to Kiri Thode from Bonaire, King of the Pro Kids for the third time in a row. Most of the runners-up also came from the ABC-islands.
The prize giving was one big party on the beach of Sorobon, with a fashion show and body builders contest. All champions formed a “Calema-snake” doing laps of honour during a colorful water ballet. The closing ceremony also included the debut of a new hip hop written by Kiri and event organizer Elvis, showing that their talents are not only on the water.
Five days of windsurf action were over too soon but what remains are memories, trophies, newly-forged friendships, and plans for next year’s event.
1st Hilde Tuinbeek Curaçao
1st. Caesar Finies Bonaire
2nd Charlton Soliano Bonaire
3rd Quincy Offringa Aruba
1st Caesar Finies Bonaire
2nd Andy Brandt USA
3rd Brian Talma Barbados
Baby Kids Girls 0-7
1st. Blanca Veeris Bonaire
2nd Chloe Da Costa Gomez Curaçao
3rd Alima Lageveen Aruba
Baby Kids Boys 0-7
1st Nathan Finies Bonaire
2nd Jules Van Der Horst Curaçao
3rd Sarginho Finies Bonaire
1st Anais Pauletta Bonaire
2nd Esther Van Zadelhoff Curaçao
3rd Noa Stomp Curacao
1st Jurgen Saragoza Bonaire
2nd Steven Lageveen Aruba
3rd Mack Dylan van den Eerenbeemd Aruba
1st Camille Van Zadelhoff Curaçao
2nd Isabelle Van Zadelehoff Curaçao
3rd Ana De Windt Curaçao
1st Amado Vrieswijk Bonaire
2. Nick van den Eerenbeemd Aruba
3rd Jamil Jonis Bonaire
1st Renee Kanaar Curaçao
1st Youp Schmidt Bonaire
2nd Dylan Robles Bonaire
3rd Mozart Sances Bonaire
1st Mallory De Palm Curaçao
2nd Nadia Daboussi Bonaire
3rd Monica Harmsen Curaçao
1st Björn Saragoza Bonaire
2nd Dieter Van Der Eyken Belgium
3rd Felix Kervel Aruba
1st Sarah Quita Offringa Aruba
2nd Andrea Simal Bonaire
3rd Andreina Figaroa Bonaire
1st Kiri Thode Bonaire
2nd Arthuro Soliano Bonaire
3rd Archuendro Finies Bonaire