In a sun- and action filled weekend, Kiri Thode defended his Freestyle title successfully and Taty Frans took the Slalom pro division with ease. 85 windsurfers from some of the world's best surf countries, Bonaire, Aruba and Curacao, competed in front of hundreds of spectators. In its fifth year, the Curacao Challenge again proved to be an event where high level of competition is mixed with a great atmosphere.
There wasn't enough wind for the freestyle pros to perform their usual arsenal of tricks so a special tow-in sessions was organized, where the surfer gains high speeds by being pulled by a jet ski before letting go and doing a spectacular move. Tow-in competition is gaining popularity worldwide as the public can see the moves close to shore and no wind is needed. Remarkable were the efforts by local windsurfer Rafael de Windt, who went for extreme maneuvers but placed 4th behind the big three from Bonaire. Kiri Thode took first place, followed by Bjorn Saragoza and Taty Frans. Other competitors were Amado Vrieswijk and Quincy Offringa.
Taty Frans did take home the slalom title in front of one the most beautiful beaches of Curacao with clear turquoise Caribbean water, the so-called Directors Bay. The 1st day of competition featured 20 knots of wind and a total of 7 ocean heats raced, which set a record for the Curacao Challenge. Kiri Thode proved to be very capable on a slalom board and took second place. Jean Patrick van der Wolde, another local Curacao talent, placed third.In the amateur divisions, Curacao showed where its real future of windsurfing is, with over 15 female competitors and some raw talent in winners Mylene de Vries and Evi Brandt.
The 3-day surf event was characterized by smiles, which showed at the award ceremony where, although Bonaire took the biggest prizes, the local talents climbed the podium with happy faces and pride. Taty Frans produced the biggest smiles of all, which truly makes him one of the greatest ambassadors and inspirations for the sport of windsurfing. He arrived on Curacao by surfing from Bonaire to Curacao in a world record 1 hour and 40 minutes for a fundraiser for his friend Jayson Muller.
Stand Up Paddle
For the first time on Curacao, a SUP competition was held. With 48 competitors this sport rapidly becomes popular on Curacao. Again, Bonaire took control and Taty Frans claimed the title with a board length after 4 rounds of elimination, followed by Ingmar Schnitzler and Felix Martina, both from Curacao.
Both the organization and the competitors are excited for the sixth edition in 2014, where the international focus of the event will be continued and hopefully generates more competitors from Aruba, Bonaire and possibly even neighboring country Venezuela.
The Curacao Challenge was sponsored by Amstel Bright, Goisco, Insel Air, HICC, EWT, het Kinderfeestje, PRGV, Windsurfing Curacao, Merlin Internet Marketing, Securitas, Dolfijn FM and many more.
Curacao has great wind conditions year round with trade winds blowing at around 20 knots. With an average of 8 sun hours a day and absolutely no need for a wetsuit, this beautiful Caribbean island is a windsurfer's dream. The conditions are similar to neighbouring islands Aruba and Bonaire, which are two of the world's most popular windsurf destinations.
Event website [http://www.curacaochallenge.com]