The container with 104 new JP and Starboard boards has arrived at customs in Aruba, but this is like waiting on Christmas morning for mom and dad to give the OK to open gifts. The Christmas/New Years week seems like a full holiday for customs (and most of the island) so we will have to wait for our boards to get cleared and delivered.
The big surprise was two days later our container of goodies actually arrived at Vela. I thought rigging the sails was a lot of work, after the first day only around 20 boards were setup. Amazing how long it takes to unload the container, log boards/serial numbers, install vent plugs, foot straps, fins, and glue on the rental-mandatory nose protectors etc. Good thing we have helping the guests, lessons, and keeping watch on the windsurfers to offer diversions (not to mention a few after work beers)!
After 3 days we’ve finally completed setting all the boards up, and the new gear looks great. Feedback from our guests of all levels has been real positive. We have new JP Funsters and Starboard Starts for beginners. JP X-cite Rides and Starboard Futuras fit the bill for intermediates/blasters – great for learning planing, footstraps, harness, jibes and all around fun sailing. For our speedsters we have new JP Super Sports and the always fast Starboard iSonics (90 through 127). Those working on aerial freestyle can choose from our Starboard Flares, and those who like to play in the waves or just love fast and ‘turny’ boards can have fun on our new Starboard Kodes. We even got a new Young Guy for our up-and-coming superstars.
Speaking of waves, Vela Aruba is known more as a learning, cruising, and speed location, but this year we have had many days of good wave sailing. Guests and instructors have been often seen heading just a little north toward the shipwreck and having some great wave sessions. Greg, one of our guests from Canada spent much of his time working on Spocks and Flakas, but was really psyched today after another great wave session!
Head instructor Mac is getting ready to defend his division slalom victory in Aruba’s annual High Winds competition. In the container were his two new carbon iSonics that look super fast. He’s already been seen out tuning up his new gear. Come to Aruba and work with Mac if you want to learn to be really fast! Stay tuned, there is rumor of the PWA returning to Aruba this year, I’ll snoop around here and see what I can find out. We’re all excited to again showcase the great slalom and freestyle conditions here. 2011 dates are not set, but check out http://aruba-hiwinds.org/ for last year’s event details.
It was Dec 27th that fireworks started, unbelievably peaked at midnight Jan 1, and (it’s now Jan 4) can still be heard going off. Local stands popped up all over the island, and the pops, crackles, and bangs are in the air. It was reported (but not confirmed) that 8 full containers of fireworks were brought into Aruba, up from last year. Midnight New Years was unbelievably spectacular, we went outside and everywhere you looked fireworks filled the air, going full bore for several hours. The next day there were empty crates everywhere and many of the streets were covered with red fireworks casings.
We’ve been really busy over the holidays with guests of all skills and from many countries. It’s great to see so many of our guests coming back to Aruba and Vela and we’ve been meeting many new friends. Lessons and rentals have been strong and everyone seems to be having a great time here. The winds have been up and down, with a little rain but in general great sailing with warm weather and plenty of sunshine. While some of us are always complaining about the wind, waves, gear etc, next week I’ve got a story to make us all realize (as the ABK motto goes) - Every Day of Sailing Is a Great Day of Sailing!