Things seem different this year but I'm not sure why. We usually have a pretty good mix of beginners, intermediates, cruisers, and speedsters with a spattering of freestylers. This year the mix is tending toward the usual beginners taking introductory 101/102 classes, and speedsters taking the faster gear (Hellcat sails with Starboard iSonics or JP Super Sport boards). Activity on the Blue Highway is heavier than ever before. This year more people are working on increasing their speed and planing through jibes. Drag races are more and more common.
Both guests and locals are getting in on the action. The regular Sunday racing seems more popular than ever. Last Sunday there were around 30 people taking to the slalom course, followed by long distance racing this week. Maybe people are getting excited for the PWA slalom event coming to town this June?
I hate to admit it but I’ve also become addicted to speed (sailing) this year. Lunch hours and days off have been spent tweaking gear and technique, chasing people, talking through improvement ideas with Mac, and working on faster jibes. One of these days back to freestyle, but for now I’m really having fun. Aruba is a great slalom location! I just hope my freestyle friends will forgive my ‘digression’ to speed! It just makes me realize how diversified Windsurfing is, and that all areas of the sport are fun and challenging.
Our friends Jacque and Louise from Quebec are back at Vela again this year. Jacque (see very top photo in this post) is one of the faster sailors here (sails iSonics at home) and is amazingly efficient. He has a really smooth technique, has clean jibes, and while a small person is usually on sails one meter smaller than everyone else. Louise does not windsurf but has become a great sketch artist, capturing with great humor all the activity on the beach.
After the Christmas and New Year holidays, activity has dropped off a little, giving us a chance to catch up on things. On top of the list is building a new Oasis (‘on the water water-cooler’) and going through all the new gear, checking out foot straps, fins, sail tuning etc. We’ve also been discussing holding weekly fun slalom races to help keep out speed hungry guests satisfied and get some new people realizing how fun it can be.
This week’s blog is a little short, so please forgive me. I guess I’ve been too busy sailing to spend as much time on the blog as I should have! Next week I hope will be longer, but – the wind is still blowing here and it’s hard to argue with Mother Nature.