Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Aloha from Kiteboarding Paradise! Six weeks IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m already in Cabarete and for the first time we had no wind, so I found finally some time to send the latest news to your screens. Cabarete is better than ever, blessed with wind, wind and more wind! We have been sailing everyday and with some fun waves on the reef outside it is like a big playground in our front yard! Bozo Beach is proving to be excellent training ground for the upcoming season of competition, some challenging choppy and gusty conditions on the inside mixed with smooth water and waves on the reef make an excellent combo.
Hotel Caracol, my new sponsor, is a perfect home base for my action packed kiteboarding schedule, with great beach access just in front of the PKRA World Cup competition area, a great grassy garden for taking care of the gear, a high speed internet connection, and a full service kiteboarding center including school, test center, and swim up bar on the way. What more do we need than a swim up bar!!?? Oh yeah, did I mention the massage table in the garden in front of my room?
The Dominican boys are getting better all the time, with lots of younger kids out charging. It is just wild to see these 100 pound bodies flying and twisting high through the air! Jose Luis Ciriaco and Luciano Gonzales are killing it, and many of the other guys hope to find sponsors as well and participate in competitions overseas this year and see more of the world than their home island.
Plenty of Euros around as well, been checking out Swiss rider Kurt Bodenwinker, he is looking quite sharp on the water these days. And the Dutch Philishave Cool Skin team including Stef de Jong and young hot shot Christiaan Brouwer were training here in Bozo Beach. Flash Austin and Rebecca Wolthers from Hawaii were here in Caracol enjoying the perfect conditions and Tuva from Norway. Frenchi Betrand Fleury and Leeshi Miller just showed up into town. I'm looking forward to kiting more with these guys and keeping up with the latest tricks sure to appear in the first contests in Europe in April. Everyone seems pretty excited about the speed race in Leucate in AprilÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Also visiting often are the crazy Brits from Ft. Lauderdale, Hamish MacDonald and Neil Hutchinson. Hamish has been freaking out the locals with his attempts at mid jump double kite loops just near the beach. After watching him slam over and over I wondered if he has a personal massage therapist who travels with him to sort him out after his session. He said no, but the position is open, and so far excessive amounts of Presidente, the local brew, have done the trick.
Even celebrities are kiting and hanging out here in Caracol! American television personality Steve Santagati has been staying here for the past month, entertaining us with his antics and adventures. And we all agreed, that the characters and scenery here is better than every TV reality showÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ The hotel is pretty much full of kiteboarders from all over the world, Russia, Austria, Norway, France, South America, Switzerland and of course the US, so plenty of fun evenings around the barbeque and gear fixing on the lawn in the morningÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Personally I have been keeping an unusually low profile, training hard with my new Wipika AMPS and enjoying every second of it! These kites are amazingly powerful, lift like you would not believe. So as you can see all is well on the Cabarete front. I will be here holding down the fort for the next month or so, we have some pretty big tricks up our sleeve so stay tuned for further developments! Or better yet, come down and visit yourself and see what all the fuss is about! Good winds and Aloha from Paradise!
*Laurel Eastman was the hottest newcomer of the season 2002 and is currently the best ranked US kiteboarder. She is keeping us up to date, from her travel, training and competition adventures from all over the world.
Crazy Steve, USA
Dom. Rep. young talent:
Flash @ Cabarete
Laurel and a future local kiteboarding champ?
People from around the world meeting in Cabarete:
From left to right:
friendly worker of the Caracol Hotel, local rider, Alex from Brasil (instructor and boyfriend of Laurel), Laurel Eastman with her new Gath helmet (of course, in pink ), Alex from NY and Ukraine, another beautiful kitebabe (sorry, forgot the name! - was it Anna or Eva?), me=Toby, Boarding Bob from Wipika, USA, Dmitri from NY and Ukraine.
BTW-if you meet one of the guys from Ukraine living in NY now, they have a story to tell Way to go, guys!