Kite surfing is scarcely out of the egg in Curaçao, but the kite community is vastly growing since Dirk Jan Kuizenga, nicknamed DJ, came to the island. His enthusiasm, professionalism and perseverance united the local kite surfers. By organizing special events, the group has worked itself into the picture—like a thoroughgoing clean-up of the dirt road that leads to the new kite surfing spot at St Joris Bay where the group can be found every day of the week and where DJ keeps his kite surfing school.
Besides St Joris Bay there are some great spots in Curaçao for kite surfing like secluded bays at the south coast, windy coves at the north coast and the small inhabited island of Klein Curaçao. The wind in Curaçao is about 16 to 20 knots from January until September and it only slows down a bit in the rainy season.
“As we kite in secluded areas, the down side is that these territories are also used for illegal dumping,” says DJ. “The terrains that are owned by the government or privately owned are so big that the owners don’t have any sight on who is entering their site. Unfortunately, dumping garbage in nature is a bad habit on the island. It should be over!
“Slowly but surely we are gaining back ground by cleaning up this illegal dumping with the help of kite surf volunteers, nature foundation “Uniek Curaçao,” and Selikor, the waste management company of Curacao which considers litter prevention as one of its missions. The people who dump their trash should let go of their old habits and start thinking about the future of their children and the Island!” DJ firmly states.
Looking into the future DJ started establishing a kite foundation so competitions can be organized and international foundations have a contact on the island.
“Curacao holds a lot of secret spots that still have to be discovered and surfed. Guided tours accompanied by a following boat to secret beaches and hard to reach lagoons are something I want to realize. I want to make Curacao a kite surf destination with adventure kite spots for everybody’s level!”
About DJ: Kuizenga first got introduced to kiting in 2001 in Aruba. He quit his desk job at IBM in the Netherlands at the end of 2000, packed his stuff and moved to his mother’s island. After taking a few lessons, DJ soon became addicted to this new sport. In 2006 he started working for a friend who just had taken over a kite/wind surfing school. For one and a half years he taught kite surfing and windsurfing day in day out, building up experience and teaching skills. After visiting Curacao a few times he noticed there was no kite school at all. Taking his chances he moved to Curaçao last year and set up his own kite surfing school.
“I really enjoy teaching kite surfing as every lesson is different depending on the student. The learning curve for kite surfing is real fast and you really see a lot of results within a few lessons. It surely is rewarding to see the students having fun and learning something completely new.”
Kite Surf Curaçao gives IKO certified lessons. (www.ikointl.com ) This means that all lessons are given according to a world wide recognized standard where safety is a prominent factor. For photos: www.kitesurfingcuracao.com
What is Kite surfing:
Kite surfing, also known as kite boarding, is a relatively new sport that first gained popularity in the late 1990s. It’s by far the latest craze and fastest growing water sport in the world. Kite surfing involves using the power of a large controllable kite to pull a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a kite board (a wakeboard-like board). Your body is the only connection between the kite and the board and you have to control them both at the same time: piloting the kite in the sky and steering the board on the water. The power kites use an inflatable edge to form the shape of the kite and are capable of being relaunched from the water.
Once the kite is in the air it manufactures its own wind, which is proportionately faster and creates a higher rate of speed so the kite surfer is able to reach high speeds, jump extremely high and perform amazing and exhilarating stunts. Different size kites allow you to kite board in various wind strengths. The bigger the kite, the lighter the wind you can go in. With bigger kites you can get going in as little as 10 knots, and with smaller kites you can still sail along in strong winds of 35 knots or more.
The sport is becoming safer due to innovations in kite design, safety release systems, and certified kite surf lessons for the right instructions. Many riding styles have evolved such as wake style, wave riding, freestyle, jumping, and cruising. In its short but exciting history kite surfing has brought together the most exciting components of other extreme sports.
Els Kroon is a Dutch former teacher who now lives and works as an award-winning free-lance photojournalist on Curaçao.