For the fifth time in a row this fun event was held in front of the beautiful Villa Taina Resort on Cabarete's golden beach on the island's north coast. The Cabarete Classic was first held in 2006 with the goal of keeping the spirit of windsurfing alive in the village, and to introduce a new generation of windsurfers to fellow competitors from around the world.
The mini-juniors were first to start the competition, struggling through the big waves in the surf, rounding a buoy a hundred meters offshore and finishing on the beach. Besting the conditions, Rabel J. Vasquez, Frans Fix and Adonis Sebastian, all from the Dominican Republic, took the first three podium places respectively.
A very challenging par course was laid out by the Dominican Republic's Sailing Federation for over fifty slalom competitors. In the Prokids category, Steven Max from Aruba took first place, Aaron Etmon from Curaçao second and Jensi M. Penos from the DR third.
The participants in the Women and Sports class raced together. It was very tough for the men to stay in front of the powerful ladies. Michelle Bourdeau crossed the line first ahead of Andrea Muhl and Andrea von Draiby. Antonio Chevalier, better known as 'Chino', placed first in the Sports class, way ahead of the fleet, making him now the fastest windsurfer in Cabarete, and a fine example for everyone to follow. Oscar de la Cruz finished second and Federico Arias Jilo or 'Chivo', third.
The junior heats were the most exciting. This, the largest group of racers, pulled out all the stops to get that coveted first position. It was Jean-Patrick van der Wolde from Curaçao who managed to grab first place away from Cabarete's fastest juniors, Eduardo J. Torres and Leury Fereira.
All six heats finished before a huge squall rolled in from the north-east, causing the wind to die for the next 24 hours. After one discard the final results for the Men's Open class were: 1st Diego Domenianni (USA), 2nd Constantino Saragosa (Bonaire), 3rd Antonio Esteban (DR).
On Saturday everyone enjoyed the spectacular moves preformed by the Freestyle athletes during a double elimination competition. Philip Soltysiak, the number four ranked PWA professional windsurfer from Canada, joined the fun and claimed first place in the Men's open Freestyle after an amazing show on the water. 'Chivo' lost his title, but managed to take second place ahead of Fernando Garcia, also from the Dominican Republic, proving that the local windsurfers are of a very high standard and able to keep up with the world's best.
In the Freestyle under 18 category, Florian Wegerer from Bonaire threw an amazing double Flaka, to win first place ahead of Carlos Jose Perez from the DR and Milan Gielingh from Curaçao.
This year the local youngsters made it difficult for defending champion Steven Max from Aruba to keep his trophy. Despite their great tricks they didn't succeed and Max kept his first place for the third year in a row, leaving Luis Miguel Perez and Denny Manuel in second and third place respectively.
On Sunday, the last day of the event, a Long Distance race was held for windsurfers and kiters. Leaving from the beach at La Hermita, the competitors followed a 20 kilometers downwind course back to Cabarete Bay. Again Diego Domenianni proved to be the fastest on the water, finishing slightly ahead of the fastest kiter, Bobo Curiel.
During the awards ceremony held at Vela, all the champions were praised for their accomplishments and again incredible prizes were given out.
Looking back on another successful event, organizer and local icon Pablito Guzman promised that next year's event will be as good and fun filled as this year's, if not better.
Els Kroon is a Dutch former teacher who now lives and works as an award-winning free-lance photojournalist on Curaçao.