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Windsurfers Come for the 4th Cabarete Classic

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It all started in 2006. Native Cabarete windsurfer Pablito Guzman wanted to keep the spirit of windsurfing alive in his home town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, so he reunited water sports fanatics from many parts of the world to enjoy the famous winds and waves of Cabarete Bay. This year, from July 22 through 26, it happened for the fourth time, as Pablito succeeded in attracting windsurfers from abroad to compete with his very talented Cabarete youngsters.

Among other foreign participants, twelve windsurfers and their supporters from the Dutch islands of Aruba and Bonaire chartered their own plane to attend the event. Raul Marquez from Argentina was there to defend his formula title, and Steven Max from Aruba, now living in Curacao, represented the Windsurfing Curacao group.

The competition started with a new event called the Butterfly Effect, which brings women together for noncompetitive ocean sports gatherings in coastal cities all over the world. The aim is to instill self-confidence and a love for the ocean in women of all skill levels. The Butterfly Effect began in Hawaii in 2007. Since then, the event has been organized in Brazil, New Zealand, France, Oregon, Germany, Australia, the Dominican Republic and Tahiti by initiator and organizer Tatiana Howard, assisted by Juliana Shelef, both from Hawaii.

In Cabarete, Michelle Bourdeau was the local Butterfly Effect host. The main sports have been windsurfing, stand-up paddle, and kiting but are not limited to other water sports such as wake boarding, surf, and kayak. Each gathering also includes safety and stretching sessions, as well as food and gear from local sponsors and fund raising for local charities. Hundreds of women around the world have already participated in these fun and non-competitive gatherings.

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The 12th event in Cabarete added 30 women to the score. It started with a beach clean-up led by the Dream Project Girls Summer Camp group. The day full of water sports fun was concluded by a raffle to benefit the event and the local Dream Project. This celebration, in LAX restaurant, led the way to the official opening of the windsurfing competition, which started the next afternoon, when winds were sufficient for formula sailing and all categories of slalom.

Throughout the weekend, wind-forces stayed below normal and only enabled the freestylers to show their tricks on the last day, whereas slalom competitions were sailed every day. During the 14-mile long distance race from The Hermitage back to Cabarete Bay, the windsurfers raced against kitesurfers for an overall win.

The Cabarete Classic once again was a relaxing, fun-filled event that stimulated the brotherhood of Caribbean windsurfers. Initiator and organizer Pablito Guzman, supported by many local businesses, once again showcased Cabarete’s beautiful and perfect wind-and kitesurfing facilities and its heartwarming hospitality. The crew of Hotel Villa Taina, situated on the beach in the middle of the action, once again displayed great involvement by sponsoring a dinner for all and offering rooms for officials.

Many participants promised to be back for the fifth anniversary edition at the end of July 2010. Cabarete Classic maintains a website where results and photos can be found. www.cabarete-classic.com. Silvan Wick’s photo, which inspired the event’s logo, is worthy of a visit

Nicole van der Velden

Aruban sailor Nicole van der Velden, 14, was one of the remarkable participants of the Cabarete Classic. Her name appeared before in All At Sea when she, teaming up with her father Martin, participated in the Aruba Heineken catamaran Regatta in November last year and won the small class category.

In Cabarete she showed that she’s able to reach highs on her own. Nicole only started windsurfing three years ago when her father’s colleague convinced her to try out the sport at Wim Eelen’s Aruba Active Vacations (AAV). World champion Freestyle Sarah-Quita Offringa took Nicole under her wing, resulting in a second place in women’s slalom in Cabarete. The Collegio Arubano student will focus on slalom and wave windsurfing and will surely be heard from more in the near future.

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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