Category Archives: Windsurfing

A Beginner’s Guide to Windsurfing on Bonaire

Arguably Bonaire is the best place in the world to learn windsurfing; it’s a windsurfing paradise for beginners!

Even dogs learn to windsurf on Bonaire!Bonaire has been known for decades as the premier place to learn windsurfing in calm, clear, and shallow Lac Bay.  The island has been producing home-grown windsurfing pros for years now, with our team always placing high in pro competitions around the world. But everyone must start somewhere, and it’s easy for beginners to learn windsurfing while vacationing on Bonaire.

On Bonaire, four-year-olds are naturals as they skim across the water, and it’s not unusual to see an octogenarian or two plying the trades as well.  Of course, there’s every age in between represented, too!  Even dogs catch on quickly!

Thinking about learning to windsurf?

If you’ve thought of trying windsurfing, but didn’t know much about the sport, then Bonaire is the perfect place to remedy that.  It’s not as difficult as it looks. We couldn’t say it better than this:

Windsurfing is an exhilarating sport, that you can pick up and start learning whatever your age or ability. With expert tuition, the basics will quickly become second nature and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start years ago.

 

 

Windsurfing is a form of sailing. You stand on a board, holding a sail (which is attached to the board) and are powered across the water by the wind. You steer by adjusting the position of the sail and moving your feet.

It’s not the same as kiteboarding, although many sailors master both.

Top tips to get you on a board.

It’s easiest to get your initial tips from a qualified windsurfing instructor.

Anyone can learn windsurfing in the shallow waters of Bonaire's Lac Bay.If you’re keen to get a head start, understanding basic wind direction is an important skill to learn and will point you in the right direction, quite literally!  If you plan to try the sport during Bonaire’s busy winter season, be sure to book your lessons in advance.

Don’t be afraid of falling in.

The water in Lac Bay is calm, clear, and mostly chest-deep.  If you fall in, just climb back on your board, pull up your sail, and try again.

Know the windsurfing jargon.

Any time a new sport is attempted, there is always terminology consistent with the sport that must be mastered. Windsurfing is no different, and it might feel like you are learning a new language. Fear not! You’ll soon be throwing these terms around like a pro!  Of course, your instructor will explain anything you don’t understand.

  • Deck – the top surface of the board
  • Nose – the front of the board
  • Tail – the back of the board
  • Rail – the edge of the board
  • Mast – This is the upright post which the sail is attached to, it supports the front edge of the sail
  • Boom – is the bar attached to the sail–it’s basically the part of the rig that you hold onto, you could say it’s the handlebars
  • Rig – this refers to the windsurf set up i.e. the sail, mast and boom
  • Daggerboard – is the large retractable fin in the middle of the board. It provides the board with greater stability and sideways resistance
  • Fin – found on the bottom of the board, they provide stability and keep the board going in a straight line
  • Uphaul – a rope that allows you to pull the sail out of the water
  • Harness – a piece of equipment which goes around your waist and is then attached to the rig
  • Battens – flexible rods that provide strength and shape to the sail
  • Offshore – when the wind is blowing directly off the land or shore
  • Onshore – when the wind is blowing onto the land or shore
  • Jibe – a manoeuver that turns the nose of the board away from the wind
  • Tack – turning the board with the nose through the wind
  • Butterfly rescue – when you lay the sail flat on the board and paddle the board and sail back to shore

Four common beginner mistakes.

Kids excel at windsurfing when they start learning at an early age.Gear gazing

One of the big rules of windsurfing is that where you look is where you’ll go–if you’re looking down at your feet or the water, the likelihood is that the rest of you will follow soon enough.

Don’t stick your butt out

Not only do you look funny, research has found that lower back strain is one of the most common windsurfing injuries. Getting your stance right will not only improve your windsurfing and make you look good, but it will also help to prevent injury which means you can windsurf even more.

Loving your equipment a bit too much

Pulling the rig (sail) too close to your body will affect the way it catches the wind and will cause you to overbalance, ultimately resulting in a big splash. Remember to always keep your front arm extended to help keep the rig away from your body.

Not keeping your weight over the centerline

The centerline is the most stable part of the board. If you stand too far forward or backward, or too close to the rails (the edges) you’ll tip the board and again…. splash!

Read the entire article: A beginner’s guide to windsurfing.

Love Bonaire’s tropical waters?

You might also like to try:

Diving on Bonaire
Snorkeling on Bonaire
Kayaking on Bonaire
Kiteboarding on Bonaire

(Source:  Nielson)


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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


 

 

 

Precautionary Advisory for Jellies (Jellyfish) on Bonaire

The season of jellyfish on Bonaire–take precautionary measures in the coming weeks.

March and April are normally the months when more jellies (also commonly referred to as jellyfish, although they are not fish) can be encountered in the waters surrounding Bonaire. This year, it appears the season of jellies is starting earlier than normal.

Why are jellies more prevalent at this time of year?

Recently, through a combination of plankton blooms, which attracts jellies, and light wind reversals, large numbers of jellies washed up on Bonaire’s leeward (west) coast, including some that have painful and nasty stings. Luckily, plankton blooms are rare and short-lived and they mainly occur in colonies on the South American coast. Due to recent reversal of winds, they have been swept toward the ABC islands. The good news is that plankton and jellies are favorite foods for many turtles, rays, and whale sharks.

Jellies which can be found on Bonaire during jelly season.

Portuguese Man-of-War.

In mid-February, a Portuguese Man-of-War was spotted on the beach at Sorobon. It is a cnidarian with a float of up to 9″/25 cm, filled with a gas. This “float”catches the wind to “sail.” These jellies have very thin, very long tentacles which can reach quite deep. Usually the Portuguese Man-of-War lives in colonies far out to sea. During wind reversals they can be swept in closer to the coastline. A sting is extremely painful.

Bonaire Banded Box Jelly.

In February, the full moon occurred in conjunction with a plankton bloom and slight wind reversals, and these coinciding events hearkened the mating period of the box jelly, Tamoya Ohboya. These jellies mate in the evening near the coast, and swimming is not recommended during these times. Tamoya Ohboya is a translucent “balloon” swimming sideways. The sting is very painful and can be dangerous. Each month, during the first 10 days after the full moon, a few of these box jellies spotted on Bonaire.

Comb Jellies.

But it is not all bad news!  Comb jellies are oval-shaped jellies with a brightly striped “comb” which is used to propel themselves.  These jellies do not sting and they are favorite food for sea turtles! The spot winged comb jelly glows in the dark when something moves–just wave your hand in the water when you see them. A beautiful sight!

Avoiding stings from jellies.

Be aware of the jelly season, and try to avoid being in the water during prime mating time (in the evening hours ten days after a full moon).  When diving or snorkeling, be sure to wear a wet suit or skin. If you observe any Portuguese Man-of-War or any box jelly, do exit the water as soon as possible.

Medical assistance and first-aid for jelly stings.

If you do receive a sting from a jelly, first-aid procedures may include immersing the area in hot salt water or dousing with vinegar (although this is not recommended for the sting of the Portuguese Man-of-War).  Many dive shops also have Sting No More available in their retail stores.  Do not use urine or fresh water, and do not scratch or rub the afflicted area.

The San Francisco Hospital on Bonaire (telephone: (+599) 715-8900) also has protocols in place for bites and stings, including those of jellies.  If necessary, do report to the emergency room at the hospital for treatment and assistance.

(Source:  STINAPA)

 

 

49th Annual Bonaire Sailing Regatta & Festival is Coming!

It’s time for Regatta-Frenzy!

regatta2016From October 13th through October 15th, Bonaire will once again be in a frenzy!  Regatta-frenzy, that is!

Racing for a few cases of beer…

2016 brings the 49th annual edition of this much-loved Bonaire event, which historically began with a sailing race between Captain Don and Ebo Domacasse, a Bonairean dive guide, with the winner pulling in a few cases of beer!

This year’s event will include sailing races and festivals.

Bonaire Regatta 2016 Site Map

Click to enlarge

Today the event has morphed into a huge party.  Of course, there are still sailing races throughout the days, but in the evenings, there are festivals with food, drink, music, and dancing on the beach.

View the 2016 Schedule of Races.

 

View the 2016 Festival Schedule.

 

Need additional information on Regatta?

Learn more about this unique Bonairean sailing tradition.

 

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

(Source:  Regatta 2016 Website)

 

 

 

 

Next Quarterly Underwater Cleanup is April 9th, With a Special Guest!

dive-friendsThis Saturday, April 9th, Dive Friends Bonaire is hosting another quarterly clean up dive.  Everyone and anyone is invited to come by and help keep Bonaire blue and beautiful.  This event will provide to be especially interested, as Dive Friends will have a celebrity guest volunteer, Mr. Fabien Cousteau!

Check in for volunteers will begin at 9:45 AM at the Yellow Sub location, with a briefing for all volunteers at 10:00  AM.  Please don’t forget your certification cards (if they are not already on file at Dive Friends) and BMP tags.  The focus for this clean up dive will be Te Amo Beach.

Those planning to dive should bring their dive knife or shears, as it is hoped to collect as much fishing line as possible.  Contact Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire for more information about their turtle shaped line collectors.

Those who do not dive are also welcome as assistance is always needed to help with a shoreline clean-up and to log the items removed from the water for PADI Project AWARE Dive Against Debris.  The counting and logging will be conducted at Te Amo Beach.

At 6:00 PM, Dive Friends will be hosting a potluck BBQ for all the volunteers at their Hamlet Oasis location.  It is potluck, so please bring a snack, side-dish or dessert to share and Dive Friends will provide the main course and one beverage.

For additional information, call Dive Friends Bonaire at 717-2929.

See more upcoming events on Bonaire.

(Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Join in the ABK Boardsports Windsurf Clinic on Bonaire in May, 2016

Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations has just announced a very special opportunity for windsurfing this May, when Andy Brandt from ABK Boardsports is on Bonaire to teach a clinic.

windsurfingclinic Andy Brandt and his team will be on-site at Lac Bay for a five-day clinic beginning May 30th, 2016.  It’s the perfect opportunity either hone your skills and take them to the next level, or start as a beginner, if it’s something you have always wanted to try.

Lac Bay is one of the world’s best places to learn to sail with gin-clear water, balmy temperatures, and on shore winds.  Ann Phelan, a former PWA Event Promoter, from Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations can assist with reserving space in the clinic, as well as any other travel arrangements necessary.

Discounted land packages, including gear, clinic, accommodations, and vehicle, start at $1,800.00 per week. For additional information, email ann@bonairewindsurfing.com(Source:  Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations)


Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations Launches New Web Site

Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations has just launched a brand new web site to showcase the fine menu of services which they can offer the visitor to Bonaire.  Ann Phelan, owner of Caribbean Wind & Sun, has been offering personal assistance in travel plans for over 25 years.  Ann is also a resident of Bonaire, so she certainly knows the “ins and outs” of what is best for her clients when they wish to plan a trip.

The new site can be viewed at www.bonairecaribbean.com.  Not only does Ann provide tips on dining and other activities, but as an active windsurfer herself, she can provide the best advice possible for those wishing to come to windsurf. 20151217-Wind&SunCaribbean Wind & Sun Vacations offers a choice of Intimate Properties, at a Platinum, Gold, or Silver level where her clients can have accommodations.  Ann’s personal blog, Bonaire Bliss, is available on the site as well, where she shares current tips about the island.

The new web site is fully responsive, so it will display well on any platform, be it mobile device, tablet, laptop or full desktop computer.  Be sure to check the new site out at www.bonairecaribbean.com.  (Source:  Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations)