Out of Bonaire

Femke airjibing in Sorobon PWA world tour - Canaries Femke with helpful top windgirls: Nayra, Karin, Daida
PWA Quick Start
by Femke van der Valk
As you all might know, Bonaire is becoming more and more interesting for windsurfers. The reason for this is are steady winds and the sunny, warm climate. I have been living on Bonaire for over two years now and still it is the best thing that ever happened to me. I started windsurfing, I met great people and learned some great lessons about life. For me windsurfing has become a passion. It makes me feel free. The only way to get to know this feeling is by trying it yourself!
Sorobon & Lac Cai
Most people know Sorobon from the magazines or from the PWA. Sorobon is the shallow bay on the east side of the island. The water is between your knees and waist, which makes it really easy and fast to learn. It is a one of a kind place. This is where I learned how to windsurf. Still day in and day out I go here to train. Also there are waves breaking outside the bay. Before joining the PWA tour I never really sailed in waves. I was at my best in water as flat as possible. Nowadays I try to go to the waves with the others as often as possible. Whenever the wind is coming from the northeast and blowing strong, we’ll all go to Lac Cai. There are days with mast high waves! I even like riding the waves now. It is a whole different feeling and once again indescribable.
Some of my experiences with the PWA
This year in May the PWA will once again return to Bonaire. After having the event in December for two years in a row, they have now decided to have this event in May, due to stronger and steadier winds. This season is my favorite, because it is really windy and sunny too! By the way: The first time they had a PWA freestyle world cup on Bonaire was when I saw windsurfing for the first time. I had just moved to Bonaire to teach scuba diving. After the first day I met some guys who where joining the competition and one of them, Ruben Petrisie, NB-50, asked me to come and try it. I was like, sure I can do that. Well it wasn’t as easy as I thought, but I kept pushing it hard and after a week or so I was in the footstraps and using the harness. Man did I enjoy that! After that I kept coming day by day out after work, every day after 5 PM ‘till like 7PM. And the next year the PWA tour was back. And this time I was in! This was amazing: within one year I joined the competition I was looking at the year before. All the people you can see in the magazines were there. I was so incredibly nervous!

After this I went to the Canaries in 2004. First Lanzarote, the conditions were so incredibly hard for me. I didn’t perform well. Then Fuerteventura. I loved it there, although in the competition I didn’t perform well either. We had one day of sailing after the competition and this was the best day ever in my “enormous” windsurf life. The water was as flat as in Sorobon but I was sailing a 3.3 sometimes even overpowered.
Than came Gran Canaria. After I didn’t perform well any of the contests before, I didn’t really look forward to Gran Canaria. All those stories that go around about the strong wind and waves. But when we came to the island the conditions were really mellow. Even in the competition it wasn’t so bad for me and for the first time every day I would at least advance one heat! I was so proud. I had broken something in my thumb a week before the competition and therefore I was so busy with how to put my hand on my boom without putting pressure on it during my heats. I was not even worrying about the competition. I was actually laughing in my heats.
Girls on tour
This year there were a lot of girls. I think in Fuerteventura there were even 17. This is great. The girls on the tour helped me so much. Nayra Alonso lend me one of her masts for my small sail. Karin Jaggi lend me a board so I wouldn’t have to sail with my 90-liter board the whole time. Daida helped me when I had to go to the hospital with my broken thumb. These were just some examples. I think it is great that they help you like that. I hope one day I can do the same for others. The whole tour was such an experience. If I can make it possible, I will for sure try to go again this year.
I hope to see you on Bonaire!!! Keep rippin’ !!!!
Femke van der Valk (NB-05)

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photos: PWA/Carter, Tanja Emig/Olympus, Brendan Pyatt windgirls 2005