Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Who is Pablito Guzman?

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“Pablito is the force behind the Cabarete Classic in 2006, founding the event and bringing it to life.” according to the editors of Cabrete Classic.  This year, the hardworking, vigorous, omnipresent, but somewhat shy Cabarete native windsurfer continued as the event’s main organizer, and without any doubt, plans to keep it going for years to come. 

Guzman, 38, has a long history in the windsurfing world, having competed in contests all over the globe for the past twenty years. His passion for the sport gradually brought him to his present job. “Pablito is a board repair guy, and he is definitely the best!” says race director and windsurfing connoisseur Mark Hillaby, Pablito’s right-hand man in the second edition of the international competition.

Pablito’s career started when he was very young. While his older brother worked in the Vela Windsurf Center, Pablito hung around and learned board repair with the greatest of ease. Soon it was obvious that he was a naturally talented person, not only in the repairing business but also on the water. A side benefit of working at a windsurfing school is that you get to go out on their new equipment with plenty of time to learn and practice on the water.

Pablito got better and better as the years went by, particularly in light winds.  He attracted many tourists to try out the sport, just because he was always on the water even when nobody else would be because there seemed to be no wind. “There must be a farting fly outside”, became a proverb, pointing to Pablito’s ability to move forward on his board without a single breeze.

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In 1998, Guzman left for Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, after the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) stopped calling in Cabarete for the World Tour. He took his German wife at that time to one of the best locations in the world for speed sailing and slalom racing, where he worked as an instructor for about a year. Then the couple left for Berlin in Germany, just for a short while because, understandably, city life didn’t work out for Pablito.

Back in Cabarete he joined the local Fanatic Surf Center and soon started his own business, a workshop where he repairs windsurfing and kitesurfing boards. “The best in the Dominican Republic” say both Mark Hillaby and Jens Bauer, owner of the Vela Windsurf Center.
Another old hand in the business, Marcus Böhm, remembers when Pablito became one of the best windsurfers in the Dominican Republic. “But one way or the other, he never made it to the Pan American Games. As a young windsurfer he was poorly off. However he was out at sea every day.  He didn’t want to risk his equipment at freestyle windsurfing so he practiced slalom and became very good in it.”

“By organizing the Cabarete Classic he wanted to make a dream come true and also fill the local windsurfers’ need for competition, which would even be better with international competitors attending. Pablito’s realized this goal by offering free accommodation to windsurfers from abroad. After all, he knew from personal experience that finding affordable accommodation is often an obstacle for young sailors,” Böhm said.

During the second edition of Pablito’s Cabarete Classic it became abundantly clear that he is much appreciated in his home town because of his hardworking and humble attitude. Many hotels and restaurants show their appreciation by donating free rooms and dinners to keep the participants coming back—like in the glory days back in the eighties en nineties when the PWA discovered the unique windsurf qualities of Cabarete’s bay and merged the place into its World Tour for four years in a row.

With the Cabarete Classic Pablito fills the gap in windsurf racing that existed since the end of the series of race weeks in 2001. “The Cabarete Classic is a good new start,” said race director Hillaby at the end of the event. “Organizing a windsurf competition is like a piece of theater: the performers are the racers and also the customers…Pablito took care of the things behind the scenes, a huge amount of work. He deserves the recognition!” Hillaby said.

At the prize giving ceremony on Sunday night, Pablito received his reward: the huge crowd that attended the event, having so much fun that the sponsors gave the green light for continuation in 2008. Again Pablito will do the “dirty work” but with a little bit more help from his friends.

See you in Cabarete in 2008!

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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