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September 21, 2012 at 05:45 AM
By: Marcus
» HEY TOM
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June 28, 2011 at 11:03 AM
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January 18, 2011 at 08:35 PM
By: ned crossley
New Aruba Windsurfers, New Aruba Activity

SUP Yoga in Aruba

The winds here in Aruba have been pretty good the last 2 weeks, seeing many returning guests but also some first timers. A really fun group was 6 friends, first time in Aruba, who all had some windsurfing experience and were of various levels through working on planing jibe. It was fun to seeing  them get comfortable on our gear, sailing multiple sessions a day, seeing them gain confidence and improve their skills –but mostly coming back in at the end of each day with big smiles on their faces and lots of tales to have over beers. It was especially rewarding to get the following note of feedback:

“Basically, we all had the time of our lives down there at Vela. We all grew up together windsurfing at a place that is usually cold, and has a day like it was every day of our trip, once a summer maybe. I can't think of a better location than Vela Aruba for any beginning windsurfer to really take their sailing to the next level. I learned a lot at Vela, and am going to make it more of a point to windsurf as much as possible because of my experiences in Aruba. We hope to all come back next year.”

Hope to see you all again!

The Wisconsin crew

 

Yoga on the Vela RRD Wassup SUPs has been getting more and more popular. Rachal Brathen, who was born in Sweden, has been teaching yoga for 2 years and paddle board yoga for one. She has been settled on Aruba for two years now, and is the yoga director at Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa where she leads yoga retreats and hosts large yoga groups from all over the world. In her job she teaches 15 – 20 regular classes a week, mostly Vinyasa Flow, and 2 – 5 SUP yoga classes a week, more in high season.

SUP Yoga

 

Rachal describes the classes as:

“Right now we go out seven people at a time. I do a quick run-down with the group on the beach; giving some tips and techniques on how to paddle, how to turn, how to find balance standing up on the board. Then we paddle a little bit up the coast - it's a great warm up, and gives the students a feel for how the paddle board works on the water.

No previous experience is needed at all! I get complete beginners every week. Of course, it helps if you have done some yoga before; but the poses we do are very basic (to start), and it's more about the balance than going "perfectly" into every pose. Same goes with paddle boarding, if they have some previous experience that's great, but it is in no way necessary. I get all kinds of people in class; and everybody seems to absolutely love it! There is no way to predict who is going to be "good" or more "advanced" on the board; I've had very experienced yoga teachers on the board that had a hard time even standing up, and I've had complete novices to amazing; inversions, arm balances, you name it. It's more about your core sense of balance than anything else. The good part is: falling off is fun! You just get wet, which is pretty nice since we're in the Caribbean...

It's SO much fun! We always laugh a ton in class, I like how it takes some of the seriousness out of yoga, but how it's still so meditative.”

If you want to give SUP Yoga a try when you come to Aruba contact Rachel at rachel.yoga@manchebo.com. Follow Rachel on Facebook at Rachel Brathen Yoga Lifestyle.

Tom's Windsurfing Update:

Personally I’ve been having a ton of fun sailing in Aruba this year, already having logged over 30 days on the water since Jan 1st. Not focused on any one thing, I’ve run the gamut including:

  • slalom sailing on race gear
  • old school freestyle on freestyle/wave boards
  • cruising on long boards
  • fun sailing testing our varied gear
  • wave sailing on SUPs
  • light wind sailing on  large, small, and SUP boards
  • still working on Vulcans on our Flares
  • bump and jump on the blue highway
  • SUP surfing
  • SUP paddling for morning exercise.

I have to admit I’m becoming a carbon board snob, loving the liveliness and performance of the new Vela gear. Maybe one of these days I’ll get back to improving my windsurfing skills, but for now it’s hard to beat just having fun!!!

-----     The Next blog – GPS speed sailing comes to Vela Aruba   -----

 

 

 

 

Posted: February 13, 2012 at 08:06 AM
By: Windsport Magazine
(0) Comment/s
Aruba's Carbon Footprint

Great News for guests of Vela Aruba... they are expanding their Carbon footprint (in terms of windsurfing, NOT the enviroment).

CARBON!

For the first time, Vela Aruba has received special edition carbon boards designed for improved performance for our advanced windsurfers, and matched well to speed sailing, and bump and jump sailing on the Aruba Blue Highway. Carbon boards are lighter, stiffer, and livelier than their heavier constructed but more durable versions. Included in the new carbon range are:

  • Starboard iSonic: full blown racing editions used by top PWA pros. Vela has a range of 5 models from 90 liters to 127 liters. For 2012 the Isonics have been improved with more refined tail cut-outs, reduced nose thickness, slightly thinner tail, and the center of volume moved back slightly for better control at speed.
  • Starboard Kode: four new models of freestyle wave boards from 113 to 84 liters. The larger models focus around a maneuverable freeride while the smaller boards have more emphasis on maneuverable freestyle/wave performance.  For 2012 the 86, 94, and 103 are shorter with a sharper edge at the tail for improved control and acceleration. We also brought in 2012 models in the same range in wood construction.

Also, for the performance oriented sailor, the 2012 JP All Ride boards are a new addition for Vela Aruba this year.  In the pro edition Vela guests will get a higher level of performance, the 116 being an easy riding, smooth jibing speedster, migrating towards more freestyle/wave performance as we go through the 106 into the 96.

To supplement the existing 2011 Futura 141, 133, 122 models we have added 2012 Futura  111 and 101  models for the higher wind days and lighter sailors. For the big guys we brought in 2 Carve 171 boards for earlier planing performance.

Starboard GeminiReady to double up? We have a new 2012 Starboard Gemini Mark II tandem board. For our newbies we have 4 new Starboard Large boards.

We are keeping the rest of last year’s gear as it is in good shape.

Our easiest all around board is still the JP Excite Ride in sizes from 158 down to 100 liters. This is a great board for progressing, learning harness, foot straps, planing and jibing having a slightly more traditional shape.  Moving up in performance we have Starboards more advanced all arounder, the free race Starboard Futura, in sizes from 141 to 122 liters. These boards have a shorter, wider, thinner shape, plane earlier, go upwind a little better, and are faster.

Our JP Super Sports offer an easier to use slalom ride with good speed and jibing, with sizes from 136 to 100 liters. For best speed we are keeping our 2011 Starboard Isonics to supplement the new carbon 2012’s. The 127 is an amazing early planer matched with our 2012 8.7 H2s.

For higher winds/lighter sailors we have our freestyle wave Starboard Kodes in 113 to 84 and for the aspiring freestylers the Flare in 106, 98, and 86.

Don’t forget, for beginners we have a selection of Retros, Starts, and Excite Rides to make learning easy, quick, and fun.

As an alternative we still have 12 RRD SUPs for paddling, surfing, and windsurfing!

This year Vela Aruba has its best range of great boards, so unless you’re allergic to sunny days, warm water and good wind to come visit us and give our gear a try!

Posted: February 2, 2012 at 08:47 AM
By: Windsport Magazine
(0) Comment/s
Aruba is Alive and Well!

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.

Vela resort

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.

The new shop in Aruba

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!

Wim at work

Quincy and his new Starboard FlareIt 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.

Jacques and Sarah-Quita

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!

Teaching Lulu

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’.

Posted: January 15, 2012 at 09:25 AM
By: Windsport Magazine
(0) Comment/s
Busy Season in Aruba

As we get further into the busy season work is settling down into customer service mode, fun and excitement coming from seeing old guests return and meeting new guests. Routine tasks such as checking straps, fins, retuning sails etc.  fill any spare time. Unlike other years, the wind seems to be cycling between light and medium days. In talking with guests who have visited other islands we’re all experiencing similar conditions.


One of the neatest parts of being here several years in a row is watching families return each year and seeing the kids grow up and their sailing skills progress. While mom and dad (Jackie and Jeff (hope I get this right)) have always sailed well, young Ben is getting into the harness, footstraps and planing this year.  The JP Young Guns and Neil Pryde One sails are really good for progressing kids. It seemed like an island view of ‘The Brady Bunch’ watching dad, mom, and Ben, with Amy sailing on the back of dad’s board, taking a family cruise to the wreck and back, Ben actually taking the lead.

The SUPs are continuing to get more use. Even on somewhat windy days we are getting a lot of guests and walk-ups taking the SUPs out for a paddle. The new boards are easy to use and everyone has fun on them. As proven by Peter and daughter Georgia, the kids’ SUPs have been great for a family to use to ‘teach’ (or at least to give them a fun time) their young kids to windsurf. The boards are really light and have a comfortable, forgiving deck and the 1.0 kids sails fit perfectly.  Some are using the big SUPs for cruising, while others are having fun paddling, sailing, or surfing in the small waves.

ABK was in town for their annual camp. On their off days, Andy and I took advantage of the new SUPs and Firefly sails to do some wave sailing up by the wreck. I’m admittedly am not a wave sailor but Andy gave me the basics and I caught a few waves and managed to tack and jibe out after some fun rides.

We had another evening sail for some of our guests this week. It was really fun and relaxing without a lot a people around and sailing until the sun set. Some margaritas and cold beer capped off the evening.

Congratulations to Arubian star Sarah-Quita Offringa on her PWA Woman’s Slalom victory in Vietnam. In Aruba we’re all used to her winning Freestyle events, but it seems like she is focused on winning two disciplines this year. The local windsurfing community is now getting more excited for the PWA’s return to Aruba this June. Quincy Offringa (Sarah-Quita’s brother and 10th overall in last year’s PWA Men’s Freestyle) is around during college breaks (studying mechanical engineering!) and is also sailing really well, getting ready for Bonaire and Aruba. Hopefully he is able to pick up additional sponsors and travel to more of this year’s events.

On the down side, we got a note from Maarten Van Ochten, H73, who fractured his leg and is out of sailing for at least 3 months. After Maarten finished 9th in PWA in 2010, and has been doing a lot of training for this year, we all wish him the best luck and a speedy recovery. Maarten is HOPING to be back for the Bonaire and Aruba PWA events.

On the non-windsurfing side, we finally had a night out with some old friends/guests. Dinner was at The Old Fisherman, a restaurant downtown. Everyone selected fresh seafood and we downed it all with some wine and other goodies. The meal was great and I’d recommend it to all. We finished the evening listening to one of the Vela desk worker’s singing at a downtown open-air restaurant/bar.


Posted: March 19, 2011 at 01:41 PM
By: Windsport Magazine
(1) Comment/s
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

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