courtesy of: The Morning News
They may be tough competitors out on the water, but when the final award dinner is conducted at Paseo Herencia Mall, the hundreds of wind and kite surfers participating in the annual Aruba Hi-Winds demonstrate complete camaraderie and friendship for their fellow enthusiasts.
Such was the case on Monday night, as another successful pro/am meet came to an end. Unfortunately, a number of the pro contenders and winners could not be there to collect their trophies as they had to depart for Italy on Sunday to compete in the IFCA Windsurfing Slalom Youth/Junior Master World Championships in Torbole, Italy, which began on the final day of the Hi Winds.
This year’s organizers Ivar van Luyk and Reinier Middel expressed gratitude on the part of the Hi-Winds Committee, headed by Wim Eelens, for the generous sponsorship of the Aruba Tourism Authority, Insel Air, Purple Entertainment Group, Pro-Tec, Cool FM and Amstel Bright.
Male and female athletes competed in Long Distance, Slalom and Freestyle categories in both windsurfing and kitesurfing, most of latter heats conducted in Boca Grande on the eastern end of Aruba.
First to receive their awards were the youngest contenders in the Guppy Class, some only 6-years-old; Jesper Prins of Aruba claimed first place. Z Schettswi from the U.S. was first in the next age bracket, “Barracudas,” with his older brother Jake taking the top spot in the Superkids class and the New Kids champ was Xenion Celestijn of Bonaire.
In the adult ranges for slalom, Mark Tjon of Aruba won the Big Kids division and the Slalom Overall for his age group while Miguel Bruggeman of Venezuela took the Juniors’ title in Long Distance also, for the Overall trophy. Veteran participant Richard Albisu of Argentina claimed first place in the Grandmasters Slalom and Overall, and perennial champ Nathan McFarlane of Aruba again stood tallest on the podium in the Masters category in Slalom, Long Distance and Overall. Pro Champ in Slalom and Overall went to Venezuelan Diony Guadagnino, and his compatriot, Carolina Comino for all titles in the Women’s races, for the Overall title. Hender Acosta, also from Venezuela, won the Sports Category.
Long Distance first place trophies went to: Milan de Jonge of Aruba, Big Kids, Fulco de Vries of Curacao, Grandmasters, Josh Angulo of the Cape Verde Islands claimed the Pro Men’s trophy and Alejandro Soto of Aruba won the Sports Category.
Freestyle races were initially delayed as the needed wind for those breathtaking acrobatics was not on schedule for Friday’s heats. Things picked up, and after the double eliminations on Saturday morning, Pro champ Kiki Thodé of Bonaire was named King of the Huts, Ethan Westera of Aruba earned Prince of the Huts, and Aruban Stephen Max claimed Kid of the Huts.
In the Kitesurfing Freestyle challenge, Hernan Arends of Venezuela was crowned King, along with taking the long distance crown, his countryman, Sergio Coella was the Pro champion, and Janka Madrzykowska of Slovakia was “Queen of the Huts,” Nicole van de Velden of Aruba won the Women’s Long Distance title in kitesurfing.
Winners received beautiful, handcrafted trophies, a distinctive tradition of all windsurfing events, cash awards in the adult categories, and gift certificates to FiberwerX surfing supply store in Malmok. For a full listing of all competitors and their standing at the finish, visit the Hi-Winds website: http://www.hiwindsaruba.com/
The Aruba Hi-Winds Committee put to bed another week of great athletic competition on the sea, accompanied by beach parties and other exciting events for the spectators, which attracts participants from all corners of the Caribbean, Europe, Latin and North America, until they get ready to do it again next year!