Saint Barth has a home-grown hero in Antoine Questel, www.antoinequestel.com , the young windsurfer who continues to pursue his dreams. This summer, he spent two weeks in intensive training in the Canary Islands, at Gran Canaria, where he then competed in the first round of the World Cup, July 7-17. Questel took part in the slalom races at a windsurfing beach called Pozo Izquierdo .
“ At the beginning of the event you have to choose four sails and two boards for the entire event; you can’t afford to make a mistake,” he explains. With strong winds of 30 to 40 knots, he found himself in 22 nd place after the first three races, which is exactly where he finished after the next few days of grueling competition.
“The strong winds at Pozo destabilized me,” Questel notes. “I lack training in those kind of extreme conditions.” He admits that he did make a mistake in choosing his sails, picking one that was too small for his board, and he would have like to have had a larger one at his disposal.
The competition continued from July 22-26 at Fuerteventura (the closest Canary Island to the African coast), where the French windsurfers traveled by boat. Once again, Questel was in the slalom events, with two races per day. At the end of the first day, he found himself in 16 th place. But the second day, he injured his back while adjusting his gear, and was not able to reach his peak performance, ending in a disappointing 25 th place. “I was a little disappointed as I had started this competition in a good position and was started to get used to the extreme conditions,” he notes.
For now, our local hero has completed more intensive training at the top-level Funboard Center of the National Sailing School in France, and went off to South Korea for the world championships of Formula Windsurfing, one of his main objectives this year. “I would like to thank all my partners and the island of Saint Barthélemy,” he says, “for the support they give me all year long.” Anyone who has seen Antoine Questel practicing his “art” here in Saint Barth knows this is a special sort of athlete!