Aruba came early this year as we arrived the first week in December. Early weather was rainy but since Christmas the sun and clear blue skies have been back along with hot temperatures and the warm clear Caribbean! We have not had any ‘no wind’ days, typical early season winds have ranged from light to medium. Some days have had us planing on 5’s, lighter wind days needing 7’s and some big guys on 8’s! Yes, there have even been a few non-planing days.
It’s great to see that the windsurfing staff at Vela has not changed, including instructors Mac, Enry, and Darwin. New 2012 Neil Pryde sails have arrived and are being slowly introduced, the main focus being on the larger, racier models. I feel a big improvement this year is new H2 2-cam models. Many speed oriented guests like the stability, power, and top-end of these sails which match up well with our racier Starboard Isonic and Super Sport models as well as our Futuras. Others prefer the slightly more maneuverable no-cam Hellcats. 2012 boards are expected in within a couple of weeks.
The holiday season was really busy, with guests packing the beaches and water, and having many full beginner classes. Racing out on the ‘Blue Highway’ is as popular as ever and I hope to organize some fun slalom races again this year for our guests at Vela. New this year at Vela is on the water Yoga classes on our RRD Wassup SUPs.
Also new this year, Geert van den Berg , long time Aruba board shaper, in conjunction with Wim Eelens of Aruba Active Vacations, has moved the FiberworX retail shop from the Boardwalk, into a larger, newly remodeled space in Aruba Beach Villas (formerly Sailboard Vacations). While still gearing up, the shop looks great and already has a good selection of new windsurfing boards and accessories. See http://www.arubasurfshop.com/ for details or come to Aruba and visit!
It was great to have Sara-Quita and Quincy Offringa home from college for the holidays and on the water. Both are looking forward to the 2012 PWA season. It was funny to hear several guests ask how they can plane with such small gear! In the words of Mel Brooks ‘It’s good to be efficient’ – or something like that. Besides doing freestyle, Quincy was seen going really fast on slalom gear – look out PWA???? Both are thrilled with the 2012 Starboard Flares new design and looking forward to 2012 PWA Freestyle events.
Highlights of the week for me include teaching the young daughter, Lulu, of guests. She started out only having sailed a few times to using the harness by the end of the week. Jacque and Louise are also back. Jacque going fast as ever on really small gear, but was seen talking with Sata Quita on the water hoping to pick up a few speed tips from last year’s slalom champ!
Personally I’ve been having a great time here helping the guests, giving lessons, and doing all kinds of sailing. It seems like too many options, already this year enjoying slalom gear, working on freestyle, sailing small waves at the wreck, cruising on SUPs, paddling SUPs for exercise, light wind freestyle and just ‘plane’ having fun windsurfing. It’s hard to beat the great weather and sailing options here. I suppose I should focus on getting better at one thing, but what the heck – in the words of Andy Brandt, ‘Any Day of Sailing Is A Great Day of Sailing’.