Sunday, June 5, 2011

The PWA World Tour returns to Bonaire & Aruba

Update | June 6: PWA Tour Director, Rich Page, confirms live video webcasts at both events. 

As of this writing, the PWA has scheduled a record 13 events for 2011. It's been 6 years since the PWA brought the World Tour to Bonaire. Like Maui, the inspirational home of wave sailing, Bonaire has become the inspirational home of freestyle. Windsurfing's hip hop ballet on steroids  has exploded with development since the first time the PWA came to Bonaire in 2002. Some, I hear, don't understand it, but man, just watch the action, 'cause freestyle commands your attention.

It must be exciting on Bonaire as they prepare for the tour's return. At the rental spots on Lac Bay, Jibe City and The Windsurf Place, you will find a webcam sponsored by Breathe Bonaire. Clustered with  Bonaire's 2 rental shops is the Event Site where the competition will run from June 12 - 16. For more info on the Caribbean, Bonaire and Aruba check out the Leaners guide, Community: Caribbean: Southern Islands.

Since 2002 when Matt Pritchard and Karen Jaggi won the Freestyle World Championships judging has changed. PWA Freestyle competition is now run using a Best Move format. In the new format, competitors perform a maximum number of moves and the judges score only the best moves. For example, the Race Director may specify a maximum of 12 moves in the heat, of which the best 8 will count. This gives the competitors more time to perform their moves and  helps the judges to focus more accurately on each rider. 35 men and 8 women are preregistered with prize money set at €30,000 for the men and €15,000 for the women.

Congratulations Bonaire; let the celebration begin !!! I've heard the much heralded, and seemingly forever in the making, Children of the Wind will be using footage from the 2011 event to complete their project. And thank goodness for Kuma Blog, who never turns off the camera; let them show you Bonaire with their recent videos at the end of this text.

Only 86 miles away, the second PWA Caribbean stop, is a slalom and freestyle event in Aruba which starts 3 days later and runs for a week from June 19 - 26. There are 54 men and 17 women preregistered for slalom with prize money set at €30,000 for the men and €15,000 for the women. There are  40 men and 8 women preregistered for freestyle with prize money set at €30,000 for the men and €15,000  for the women.

Background: "In 1988, the PWA (then PBA) joined with the Aruba Hi-Winds Pro-Am, then in its second year. Windsurfing legends like Robby Naish, Anders Bringdal, Pascal Maka, Nevin Sayre and Bjorn Dunkerbeck came to the island to compete. In the early nineties, one of the most grueling events of the entire PWA tour was held on Aruba: the legendary Round-the-Island Race, a long distance race of around 70 miles, which was won twice, in under five hours, by Bjorn Dunkerbeck.

Government sponsorship dried up in the mid-nineties but the Aruba Hi-Winds survived as an amateur event; it was held at the Fishermen’s Huts and welcomed several new additions to its menu: Super-Kids races, Freestyle (‘King of the Huts’) and Kitesurfing at Boca Grandi. Local talents and those from its sister- islands honed their talents and participated in the Aruba Hi-Winds. Taty, Tonky, Björn and Kiri from Bonaire became ‘King-of-the-Huts’ and went on to reach PWA World Tour top rankings, as did Aruba’s own Sarah-Quita, who has captured the title, Freestyle World Champion for the past three years."


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