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January 18, 2011 at 08:35 PM
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Viewing posts created during February of 2011

A busy President's Week!

Cruising on an SUPPresident’s Week has been especially busy this year; I counted well over 50 windsurfers on the water this afternoon (compared to 4 kiters). The winds have been good for a while and I had some great slalom sessions on an ISonic 107/Hellcat 6.5 followed by a fun freestyle day on a JP 98 and Firefly 5.3. Our quiver of 5.x sails was empty so we rigged additional sails. I finally got through testing all the JP boards. The new Excite Rides have been improved this year, slightly wider in the footstrap area and improved bottom shaping provides earlier planing, a slightly looser ride with a more comfortable sailing position. All boards in the line have a similar ride so switching up or down makes for an easy transition. The Super Sports have similar improvements, still with good speed but they seem to have a much smoother ride and more controllable jibing than previous years. Planing through jibes has never been easier! Next week on to the Starboards.

SUP session

Miles BorashWell known East Coast racer Miles Borash (winner of the Grand Masters in last year’s Aruba Hi Winds) was visiting for the week testing a quiver of Maui Sails TR 6’s with our ISonics, training and preparing for a Curacao event. Rumor has it Miles has a quiver of new TR7s waiting when he gets home next week.

How do we know the wind finally dropped???

- Miles was finally seen slogging on a 10 meter sail

Marty's new lines- Big Marty finally started slowing down [Marty was famous this week for breaking two harness lines (hence – Big Marty!) and was ecstatic when our carton of new lines arrived (4 weeks late)]

- ABK is coming to town (fortunately the wind kicked back in on ABKs starting day! I guess Andy still has an in with the wind gods.)

RRD Wassup fleetWassup?? Just in time for the 3 light wind days, new goodies arrived this week. Our container of 8 new SUPs arrived and they were setup and put into quick service, Vela now having a great selection of new 11, 10, 8.5 SUPs as well as two kids SUPs.  They were quickly setup and immediately were all on the water for paddling as well as light wind sailing fun. Big Marty said he had tons of light wind fun cruising the 11 footer with a 6.9 Firefly, while I played light wind freestyle on the 8 ft 6 in SUP with a 5.3 Firefly. The soft rails, slight rocker and smaller fins gave the board a really fun ride forward, backward and in transition, while Leo took it to the wreck and had fun catching the waves.

Mmmm!Our local friends Robert & Carina took us for an Aruban fish dinner at a local ‘restaurant’ called Zeerover (Dutch for Pirate). Nothing fancy, Zeerover is basically a Caribbean rum shop, on water by the fishing docks, down in Savaneta. At some point they added a ‘kitchen’ – outdoor sink, fryer, cooking counter. Fresh fish comes in daily and is cooked up that evening. You’re never sure what you are getting as ‘catch of the day’ is truly that. We had a great meal of Wahoo, shrimps, fries, and plantains. Liter bottles of cold Presidente beer from the Dominican Republic rounded out the meal.

Posted: February 28, 2011 at 09:35 AM
By: Windsport Magazine
(0) Comment/s
Look who's in Aruba?

Back homeI thought life was great in Aruba, but after seeing a picture of our lake fully frozen, covered with snow, and reading the temperature of -2F, it feels even better down here. Good winds, warm and sunny weather started out the week. Today brought light wind and a little rain, but by afternoon the sun returned and the wind again picked up. I had a great slalom session last night sailing with several of the Vela staff and some local hot shots! The iSonic 107 and Hellcat 6.7 worked great but it was tough (impossible??) keeping up with the guys on carbon slalom boards and full on 7.8 race sails who were tuning for this year’s Hi Winds.

Toronto crew... eh!Guests have really started to pick up this week as we are in peak months. Our regular gang from Canad-eh, with their ‘adapted’ (and proud of it) Mass. contingent, arrived this past weekend and  have gotten right back into taking the fast gear, speeding the blue highway all day, then having a great ‘after sailing’ session discussing the day’s events and planning the evening. It looks like cold Balashi beer helps relieve the pains from the day and loosen up the planning process. They came with special shirts this year to help tell each other apart! Gary had a close encounter today, sailing along on the blue highway he was suddenly surrounded by around ten dolphins. They stayed with him for a while, one coming up and grazing the side of his board, another surfacing near the front of his board and lifting the bow a little out of the water.

Tie-dye is back...at least in Canada!

Last year’s (2010) video – another great job documenting their vacation and showing the great conditions, gear, and fun waiting in Aruba. Check it out at

John ChaoJohn Chao, President and Designer of Windwing in Hood River, was in town for a few days this week and brought along some of his kites for friends and a Windwing Hammer RDM 6.9 for himself. The Hammer is unique in that it is a cam sail designed around a skinny mast, with 2 tack straps to better control draft  Check out the Windsport 2010 sail test - we found it to be very stable and fast, with smooth rotation in the jibes. John’s black sail really stood out as he and the Vela iSonic raced with guys on the Neil Pryde sails.

The new Oasis!With great fan fare (at least the Vela staff was excited) we finally got the new Oasis on the water and guests immediately lined up for a refreshing cool drink of water. This year’s edition does not have a flag pole and Vela flag. Seems like the kiters were having a problem running into the pole last year! So much for control and steering!

For anyone who MIGHT need an afternoon from windsurfing or more likely something to do in the evening, a new ride just opened at Palm Beach Plaza called the FlowRider. Body boarding or stand up surfing on a single wave is simulated by a large pump pushing water up a curved incline. Dennis, a friend of Vela who runs a surfing school, is working part time there as an instructor (video below is not Dennis!) helping out people who give it a try.

Posted: February 13, 2011 at 10:52 AM
By: Windsport Magazine
(2) Comment/s
A new Oasis!

Going slalom sailingAfter a few days of mediocre (for Aruba) winds and people on 7.2s, it’s good to see the weather getting back to normal with clear skies and stronger winds. It was good to hear actual guest “complaints” of:

  • “I need to trade to a smaller sail”
  • “Can I get a smaller board”
  • “I’m exhausted - man that was fun”
  • “I haven’t gone that fast before”
  • “I was getting nervous going into jibes that fast”
  • “I really need some vitamin A (alcohol) or vitamin B (beer—cans work well for the sore hands!).”

Finally some people are working on freestyle aerial moves on 5.0s and speedsters taking 5.2/5.7/6.2 NeilPryde Hellcats. Quincy Offirnga is home for a week from university in Curacao (pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering), and it’s good to see him making huge shakas, burners, etc. out at the red flag. I love watching his efficient and controlled sailing style. Dr. Steve from Holland has been ripping it up with Spocks, Loops and great starboard side Flakas plus a bag of old school tricks. This week was also cool as several of our guests were ABK alumni that I haven’t see for a while.

Our new SUPs have arrived on the island and should be through customs this week. There are 3 new sizes and we will probably keep a couple of our older SUPs to supplement. I am looking forward to a giving them a try for paddling, windsurfing and wave riding, and to get some feedback from our guests.

Cleaning up the beachA little boat repair work

The new Oasis!After the busy holidays, the number of guests is a little down but starting to increase as we move toward the busy months. We at Vela have been taking advantage by building a new Oasis (pictured right), cleaning up the grass around our palapas (pictured above left), trimming trees, ordering new goods for the retail shop, repairing the rescue boat (pictured above right), etc. For those of you new to Aruba, the Vela Oasis is a platform built from two old boards, placed out in the sailing area each day, with a cooler of cold water (we tried to get a beer cooler but got turned down) on it. It makes a great spot to stop and refresh, chat with new sailors, and to use as a reference site while sailing. Last year’s Oasis went to the great Oasis burial ground, somewhere off Columbia, in the middle of the night!

Meet Enry... nice suit!Everyone who has been to Vela Aruba knows Enry—one of our best instructors, cool tatoos, and always with some helpful comments or at least a good joke! In his off time, he loves music and plays guitar and sings in a band. In addition to singing while at work and doing beach-style gigs, lately his group has been playing at the Radisson and Marriott. We checked him out last night, and (going upscale) we were shocked to see him in a suit (at least no collar, tie or wing tips). I thought he was too young, but the Miami Vice style outfit, while in black, ‘suited’ him well, the sneakers and big smile still showed through.

An Aruban survey stake!On a final note, walking to work last week we noticed a Caribbean approach to reusing beer bottles while saving the trees. A building lot was being cleared, and a marker/stake was an upside down, orange painted beer bottle! I checked, at least it was empty – but now I have another excuse to drink a beer after work!


Posted: February 4, 2011 at 08:52 AM
By: Windsport Magazine
(0) Comment/s

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