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Aruba 2011
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justall



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 169

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject: Aruba 2011 Reply with quote

Just back from Aruba, having hit and (most importantly) finally landed some jumps! Waves and rolling swell were in style this New Year's Day at Fisherman Huts. I was 5.8, but saw folks moving nicely at even 5.0. A lot of fun.

While I was there, Vela received a shipping container full of new boards. So for those of you planning to be there soon ... enjoy the new equipment. Wish I could have stayed longer to try them out.

I was a bit saddened to see what appears to be some construction beginning on a new Ritz Carlton. A green fence had been installed around the parimeter and some concrete and rebar is now evident (I attach one of my pictures showing the green fencing and vertical rebar). From the looks of the renderings http://www.travelweekly.com/article3_ektid210432.aspx# it looks like the wind will be blocked from that perfect beginner location. Rumors up and down the beach suggested the Ritz was going to "extend the beach further north" to appease wind and kite surfers. We'll see ... and hope.
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longboard08



Joined: 16 Dec 2010
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks justall for the recent info on Aruba. Visiting there has been on our wish list but the other recent Aruba threads on the Caribbean page have mixed reviews. Hopefully, other readers visiting there will add to the subject...
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wndsrfgrl



Joined: 30 Aug 2001
Posts: 61
Location: League City, TX

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would you happen to know what Vela's plans are when the Ritz is complete? Will they move farther north? It's so sad that much of the wind will be blocked. It's bad enough with the Marriott Resort/Ocean Club/Surf Club blocking the wind. Will have to find another location to windsurf. Sad
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longboard08



Joined: 16 Dec 2010
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Other places to windsurf in Caribbean a potentially fun discussion during winter. We went to Le Galion in St Martin recently and they have a good set up for windsurfing....... Hopefully the Ritz will keep their word and extend the beach in Aruba, which has many direct flights from the US. Haven't been to Aruba yet but it's on our list. I would love to see more windsurf rental ability in Puerto Rico. Tons of direct flights, great weather, consistent wind, waves, and nightlife.....
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Caribchakita



Joined: 05 Jun 2001
Posts: 286
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is Le Galion a shop? What kind of gear?
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longboard08



Joined: 16 Dec 2010
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Le Galion is a bay on the French side of the island, the bay right before Orient Bay as you are heading out that way from the Dutch port of Philipsburg. Le Galion has a Fanatic Boarders Center with lots of good windsurf gear, the managers are nice enough but don't speak much English. Cash only. Right next door is another place that we will try next time called Tropical Wave. Not sure what the equipment is like or how up to date the website is. Le Galion is a good site to play at, with a shallow bay and fairly long reach making me want a harness. There are some waves that the Fanatic center takes surfers to on a small boat since it would be a couple hundred yard paddle. Didn't try to wavesail out there since it was rented equipment and the language barrier with managers. Looked pretty good , maybe too onshore....
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justall



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 169

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vela didn't indicate any future plans, but I didn't specifically ask. I'm sure they will be championing the windsurfing cause, though!

The good thing is that there is still a lot of flat land North of the developing Ritz location, so should still be a great place to go!

And, thanks for the LeGalion idea, longboard, I have plans to hit Orient Bay at some point, so will check it out. Also, have Bonaire on my boarding "bucket list" (BBL), so sooner or later I'll be reaching out to Caribchakita ... looks a bit tricky to do in a weekend from east central US, so will need to integrate with a vacation.
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longboard08



Joined: 16 Dec 2010
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justall, I like that--BBL--and may your bucket be a long way off!!.... Bonaire does look time consuming to get to, though looks best windsurfing wise of the three ABC islands. I saw caribchakita's posts about it. I am definitely interested in quick trips from eastern US also (North Florida). We hit St. Martin from a cruise ship and when you go, consider Le Galion Bay as alternative to Orient Bay. The physical lay out seemed better, it was definitely less crowded than Orient, and the Fanatic Boarders center had good equipment. www.fanatic-boarderscenter.com[/url] They won't take care of you like I have heard Vela does, but the gear is there..... We are really interested in Puerto Rico as a windsurfing destination. They have tons of potential. I have been looking at storage facilities there recently--there are lots of direct flights there. They have a rental windsurf outfit there named velauno but I'm not sure what kind of gear they have. Happy windsurfing!!!......
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jfeehan



Joined: 27 Jul 1998
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just returned from a week in aruba.

the main purpose of the trip was for my 14yr old daughter to learn harness, beach start, etc.

i had been there a few times before, the last time being about 16 years ago.

since then, i've been to cabarete pretty much every year (including this year, in february) - but that's a somewhat difficult place for learning, and my daughter was looking for a setting where she could make more progress, with flat water, reliable wind, and some shallow areas.

anyway - there was very little wind all week. i had basically 3 hours of 7.2-7.7 planing, and that was it.

my daughter made some progress, but even for her, it was pretty light.

aruba either is, or isn't your kind of place. it most definitely isn't my kind of place - but i knew that before i went. it has absolutely the most unattractive tourist development of anywhere i've ever been.

as far as the sailing goes, the big shallow area that aruba was known for is really not a great place for beginners now. it's just too busy (and probably unsafe) with lot's of motor boat traffic. there are many boats towing people on big inflatable toys, and they zoom through the sailing area every few minutes. often, they don't have a spotter, so they are looking backwards at least as much as they are looking forwards, and it's only a matter of time till they hit someone. i was scared seeing my daughter sailing with them.

there were also a lot of jetskis going through the shallow area, but i think that, was mostly arubans on their good friday/easter holiday. it may not be typical.

beginning kiters also use the shallow area, and it only takes 3 or 4 of them, with kites constantly crashing to the water, to occupy nearly the whole shallow spot. my daughter was constantly dodging kites and kite lines. kite instructor motor boats are also frequently buzzing through the shallow area.

for competent sailors who go out in the deep area, i would say that it's still as good a spot as it ever was - not much traffic out there, and the breeze fills in pretty well. it's fun.

vela was pretty good. the gear is pretty new, and they seem to have a lot of it. i found that the sails nearly all needed more downhaul, and the harness lines were way too long - but maybe that's just me. staff were generally friendly and helpful.

i stayed at the boardwalk, where i had stayed on my last trip 16 years ago, and it was still nice - a very relaxing place, with great staff.

it's hard to imagine that windsurfing can continue when this new hotel is finished..., but maybe they'll find a way.

why the aruban government thinks that it needs another monstrosity like the new hotel will be.., i just can't imagine. is there never enough of that kind of thing?
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Ugly_Bird



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jfeehan wrote:
just returned from a week in aruba.


we too Very Happy
I think I saw both of you on water on one of the lightest days, when practiced sailing backwinded

jfeehan wrote:

anyway - there was very little wind all week. i had basically 3 hours of 7.2-7.7 planing, and that was it.


Mike said that it was the lightest April in 10 years.
I spent two days with 6.7, then day with 7.7, then 3 days dead flat, and finally yesterday 6.2. Today, when we were leaving it was really blowing!
Well, whatever plans we have, The Mother Nature has her own.

jfeehan wrote:
it's just too busy (and probably unsafe) with lot's of motor boat traffic. there are many boats towing people on big inflatable toys, and they zoom through the sailing area every few minutes. often, they don't have a spotter, so they are looking backwards at least as much as they are looking forwards, and it's only a matter of time till they hit someone. i was scared seeing my daughter sailing with them.


+1. Those are complete idiots. It's indeed matter of time to an accident. They intentionally try to pull their tows as close to windsurfers as possible. I'm surprised Mike doesn't try to negotiate with them. Was going to ask him, but forgot.

jfeehan wrote:

for competent sailors who go out in the deep area, i would say that it's still as good a spot as it ever was - not much traffic out there, and the breeze fills in pretty well. it's fun.


This is might change too after the new highrise is completed. It will also close the view from Boardwalk to sunsets. Actually already did.

jfeehan wrote:

why the aruban government thinks that it needs another monstrosity like the new hotel will be.., i just can't imagine. is there never enough of that kind of thing?


Money, money, money. That's the driving force.
We stayed at HolidayInn for a couple of days and absolutely hated that. It was much better after we moved to the Boardwalk.
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