I hate to jinx things, but it’s been sunny and the wind has been unbelievably consistent day-to-day these last couple weeks at about 17 to 20 knots each day. New guests seem to be making great strides. Young Noah (pictured below) came here having sailed very few times before and started on a big Starboard Start but progressed quickly down through the new JP-Australia Explorers and into the JP-Australia Young Gun... and after a few days he was into the harness and planing with feet next to, but not quite in, the footstraps.
Two couples from North and South Dakota (do they have water there?) started out paddle boarding but after one windsurfing lesson were hooked on the sport, sailing back and forth, tacking and staying both upwind and dry – and with big smiles! My last discussion with them was on buying windsurf-capable SUPs to use on their local waters. Many tourists have been using the new paddleboards to explore the shoreline.
The local windsurfing club held slalom racing this weekend out at the Blue Highway. It was great to see the participation and high level of slalom skills. Daan, a windsurfer/instructor from Holland who is helping part time at Vela for a few months actually finished first in the ‘Big Boys’ division after Wouter (could have been first?) had a sail downhaul break loose and had to miss a couple of heats.
In January, Sarah Quita Offringa was finally added to the local ‘Wall of Fame’ recognizing some of Aruba’s most accomplished athletes. Of note were her 5 consecutive PWA Freestyle championships, slalom titles, and being the youngest woman world champion.
I’ve been having fun sailing most every day and trying different gear. The carbon Starboard Kode has been great fun for a lively ride, jibing and old school freestyle. The carbon JP-Australia All Ride 116 is surprisingly fast with easy jibing. The new Starboard Carves are making a great addition to the Vela fleet as an easy, progressive freeride as a slightly wider option to the more traditional JP Excite Rides.
Last week we rigged a new NeilPryde Wizard 5.7. I was pretty excited to try this sail as for 2013 the Wizard replaces the Firefly in a lighter 4-batten (up to 5.7) design. Both Daan and I sailed the Wizard on Kode and Freestyle Wave boards and enjoyed the sail. It is a different approach, the four batten Wizard actually having a longer luff and boom lengths than last year’s 5 batten Firefly 5.7. We rigged the new Wizard on X65 SDM and sailed in medium winds. We first noticed a light, easy to use sail with smooth power, more than last year’s Firefly with a little higher draft. The bottom batten was hard to rotate (tried changing downhaul and uphaul) so the next step is to rig it on a RDM. The 5.1 Wizard, rigged on an RDM, rotated fine.
Come visit Aruba today! Go to velawindsurf.com for more info.