Fierce Windsurfing Championship Battle
Set for Bonaire December 11 to 17
Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles -- The fierce battle for the Professional Windsurfers Association Freestyle Championship 2002 will be decided December 17 on the sun drenched beaches of Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean. As it stands the race for the title is incredibly close with the top three freestyle pros separated by just 201 ranking points.
Seventeen-year-old Ricardo Campello, the young Brazilian who lives and trains on Isla Margarita, Venezuela, holds a narrow lead over Nik Baker and Californian Matt Pritchard, whose brother is the 2002 world Wave champion. All three will be competing at the Bonaire King of the Caribbean Pro-Am event along with two-time World Champion Josh Stone, 2001 winner Antoine Albeau and more than 40 other top windsurfers from around the world.
As witnessed so far this season, the standard of freestyle on the PWA World Tour is so high that all sorts of upsets are possible, especially in a new competition location such as Bonaire. Rumors are rife about some of the island’s hotshots who could easily cause major upsets.
Bonaire is home to number nine ranked Tonky (Everon) Frans and his brother Tati (Elton) who is ranked 23 and Keke (Christiaan) Dammers, ranked 32. This is the first year that all three Bonaire teenagers joined the professional tour. Several other local sailors will be in the competition on their home territory.
The top three ranking female pros, Daida Ruano Moreno, Karin Jaggi and reigning champion Colette Guadagnino are also signed up for the event, which will be the grand finale to the 2002 PWA World Tour. The World Tour opened last April in France and has made stops in Austria, the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy and twice in the Canary Islands.
This first King of the Caribbean World Championship Freestyle Finals, sponsored by Maduro & Curiel’s Bank NV, will start 11 December with registration, a press conference and island-wide party. Professional competitions will begin on the 12th and run for six days with the finals on 17 December and the King and Queen of the Caribbean crowned that night. Men are competing for $55,000 in prize money and the women for $10,000.
Amateur, Novice and Junior events are planned to start at 3 pm on Friday, 13 December and run through the weekend. Awards ceremony for the Amateur, Novice and Junior competitions will be Sunday night, 15 December, midway through the professional competition.
The Bonaire event is expected to show lots of new moves and combinations that have been created just in the last year, demonstrating the highly dynamic nature of freestyle windsurfing. Exciting performances from a number of young competitors will also spice up the competition.
Ricardo Campello, the 17-year-old leader in the 2002 freestyle competition, is training hard at home on Isla Margarita and on Maui in an effort to hold on to his narrow lead. Hoping to be named King of the Caribbean and the 2002 Freestyle Champion, Campello says he feels “a lot of suspense” as the countdown for Bonaire begins.
Since Margarita Island and Bonaire are so close, Campello is hoping for similar wind and weather conditions to work in his favor. “I heard windsurfing there is great for freestyle,” says Campello. “It is kind of like where I live, hopefully. I hope it will be warm, sunny and windy.”
The combination of top ranked professionals, young hot shots new to the tour, exciting new moves and the extremely narrow point margin in the men’s competition, all point to a dramatic climax for the PWA freestyle tour 2002 on Bonaire.
Web site for the December 2002 King of the Caribbean is http://www.bonaireworldfreestyle.com. At the site there is information on the Professional, Amateur, Novice and Junior competitions, island-wide parties, event schedule, registration, accommodations, car and gear rentals and more. Soon the site will also feature a “See You There” page where windsurfers can find out who will be attending this PWA World Championship Freestyle Finals. E-mail inquiries should go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The small island of Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles, is gearing up for what is expected to be the hottest year-end freestyle finals yet. Bonaire is one of the three Dutch islands located just north of Venezuela. While it does not have the high number of tourists as its sister islands Aruba and Curacao, it is a paradise for scuba diving, snorkeling, and of course, windsurfing. Sorobon Beach at Lac Bay, the pristine area where the Bonaire Sailing Team trains, will be the setting for this First Annual King of the Caribbean World Freestyle Finals.