The Cabarete Classic was first held in 2006 to keep the spirit of windsurfing alive in the small town by reuniting friends from all over the globe to enjoy the winds of Cabarete together. July 26 – 29, 2007 was the second time Cabarete’s native windsurfer Pablito Guzman stuck his neck out organizing this international windsurf event on the little beach town at the north coast of the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola.
The pleasant experiences of last year’s participants made our Curacao group grow to twelve windsurfers and ten supporters who all made themselves visible during this year’s event by flying their national flag, cheering the sailors, and winning quite a few heats and prizes.
Cabarete is built along the road that parallels the long curving beach, so the town center fulfills the requirements of the tourists by day and by night. No car is needed. In case a visitor might have a reason not to walk, numerous “motoconchos” on their fast motorcycles are standing by on every corner to carry passengers for a song.
Cabarete Bay is the best-suited place for both windsurfing and kitesurfing along the long north coast stretch of the island and thus attracts a lot of wind-lovers. Winds strengthen the further the day progresses, making it useless to start a competition in the early morning. Nature controls the races and thus the rhythm of life of Cabarete’s people.
Race director Mark Hillaby, a Canadian who has lived in the Cabarete surroundings for almost twenty years, explained that wind strength has to do with the presence and connection of clouds on the horizon just above sea level and the ascending hot air bumping against the mountains. The right conditions can make a “killer day,” according to the old hand.
Spirits were high when Pablito Guzman sounded the first start, well after midday. A total of 38 windsurfers came to the starting line, among them Olympic candidate Denise Parris, who came from Merritt Island, Florida to train and compete. From the first day, Parris had difficulties handling new, light Olympic equipment in the Cabarete winds, perhaps the reason she didn’t end up in the top three of the women’s competition. Last year’s winner, Hilde Tuinbeek from Curaçao, feared competition from Parris, but remarkably slaughtered her during all seven women’s slalom heats, winning the women’s competition in the end.
Good winds and a strong competitive field in all eight categories made three marvelous days of racing in slalom, formula and freestyle. A great number of mini-juniors under the age of 12 had fun racing around one jibe mark.
The Men’s Open class was again a tight fight between the Dominicans and Ingmar Schnitzler from Curaçao. Until the last day, the first place was a tie between Schnitzler and Antonio Esteban from the capital Santo Domingo. Emilio Munoz from Cabarete, who won last year’s event, was trailing just a few points and not ready to give up on winning again. In the end it was Schnitzler who prevailed by winning the slalom competition.
The Freestyle competition saw a lot of action from all Curaçao sailors and many prizes traveled south when the event was over. The final in the men’s competition went between Samuel Perez from Cabarete, who came in second last year and Schnitzler who came in third last year. Perez knew to impress the judges again this year and won the first place. Schnitzler got second.
Evenings after the races were filled with action entertainment during the dinners together and came to a climax during the prize giving ceremony on Sunday evening when a big crowd of locals and windsurfers gathered around the race tower in the middle of the spacious beach. The unexpected interest spontaneously prompted some sponsors present to donate quite an amount in prize money for the men’s Open Slalom and Freestyle class.
The category Mini Junior with kids under 12 years was a highlight as fanatically-sailing kids showed that windsurfing is not dead, but very popular among the future slalom and freestyle stars.
The unique and remarkable Business Class Competition found directors/owners of local windsurf-related businesses, who were involved for at least 10 years in Cabarete, fiercely competing during the weekend…another innovative initiative from the organizers who have more challenging ideas in the pipeline for next year’s Cabarete Classic!
Cabarete Classic 2007
Juniors: Arismendi Gonzales, Cabarete
Women: Hilde Tuinbeek, Curaçao
Sports: Antoine Langeard, France
Business: Udo Jansen, local, from Germany
Open men: Ingmar Schnitzler, Curaçao
Sports: Samuel Perez, Cabarete
Open men: Antonio Esteban, Santo Domingo
Mini Juniors winners:
Girls: Naomi Routier, Canada
Sports: Gino Martina, Curaçao
Open: Felix Martina, Curaçao