Despite abnormal wind conditions for this year’s edition, contestants partook in a couple of race rounds, even if the famous race all around the island could not take place, and in fun and adventurous activities discovering the friendly island and the range of watersports it has to offer.
High spirits despite very light wind racing conditions
The high pressure weather system currently in the Atlantic ocean caused abnormal low wind conditions in St Martin at this time of the year and prevented the races from taking place as planned. Participants could only do one race on Friday morning. On Saturday afternoon, the wind picked up slightly before dropping again.
On Sunday morning, a 8-10 knots wind was established in Orient Bay and the races were launched for eager contestants: the kitefoil pro category did five races, being able to gain speed even in light wind, and the wingfoil category did two races. Sunday afternoon was the last window open for racing but the wind was not stable enough. ‘’We are glad participants could race, we took every opportunity we could’’ said organizers Maxim Van den Pol and Sacha van der Wouden.
During low wind periods, spirits stayed high and the group bounded together in friendly camaraderie. Friends, family members and partners who took the trip as well soon became part of the group as laughter filled out the headquarters at Club Wind Adventures. Participants were always ready to set-up in case of a wind gust, and in the meantime were discussing and exchanging around foiling technique and gear.
New water and on-shore activities
The organizers of the event adapted the schedule and proposed fun and adventurous activities. Participants went together to explore Tintamarre, practice foiling towed behind the boat, and e-foil in Orient Bay. The e-foil is available to try at Club Wind Adventures, a board powered with a battery and a remote control in your hand, rising above the water and gaining speed. ‘’You can get the hang of it in half an hour with a lesson with our instructor’’ says Emmanuel Demanez, owner of Club Wind Adventures.
Good times were also shared at dinners at restaurants in Orient Bay and during the beach BBQ of the Saturday night with a DJ and sponsored by Amstel Bright. During the day, in between races, contestants were enjoying the beach, playing beach tennis, could go around thanks to the Dollar Thrifty rented car and indulging in a well deserved ice cream from Gelateria Milano on the last day just before prize giving.
Awaiting next year’s competition
The desire to compete never left the contestants in these Championships and numerous races were very close with contestants winning by only half a point or one point difference. The final activity was a cheerful stand up paddle competition which was exciting to watch for spectators but taken seriously by many regarding the Cabrinha Wing to win, donated by Cabrinha Kites.
Overall results for the three days of the championships are as follow:
Kitefoil Pro category:
- First: Julien Quentel (St Martin)
- Second: Neels Pechoux (Guadeloupe)
- Third: Franck Balvay (St Martin)
- First: Sacha Fortuné (Guadeloupe)
Wingfoil Pro category:
- First: Mahé Thebault (Guadeloupe)
- Second: Caesar Finies (Bonaire)
- Third: Manon Dupé (Guadeloupe)
Wingfoil leisure category:
- First: Storm Nicolai (Bonaire)
- Second: Bobbi-Lynn De Jong (Bonaire)
- Third: Kit De Jong (Bonaire)
Prizes were also given to Aurélie Garreau as best female, Serge Amiot for best sportsmanship, and Lone De Jong for most worthy youngster.
Contestants on the podium received prizes from Duotone, Cabrinha Kites, local shop Surf Ace, One by K and day passes at Belmond – La Samanna for the winners. The grand prize of a two-nights stay at Belmond La Samanna stays open, as the record of going all around the island in kitefoil by locals Julien Quentel in 1 hours and 12 minutes, and in wingfoil by Theo Demanez in 2 hours and 53 minutes, remains to be beaten.
After three days together, contestants are ready to go back home from all corners of the Caribbean. The competition spirit remains and all are determined to go back and train to try again in 2023 in better wind conditions. Foiling is a fast evolving sport, and there are a lot of new promising talents in the region. ‘’I will keep training and come back next year’’ says Willan Dolmin from the group of young riders from Guadeloupe. The organizers would like to thank all sponsors who contributed to making this event joyful and attractive in the Caribbean and especially Club Wind Aventures, the headquarters of the event, for their support.
The Caribbean Foiling Championships will celebrate its third edition in 2022. This new and innovative event will offer three days of racing for professional as well as leisure kite-, wind- and wingfoilers! With trade winds, crystal clear waters and an everyday sunshine, this island paradise is the perfect setting for this one-of-a- kind event. Come and join the biggest foiling event in the Caribbean!