Bonaire… This is a place that would come up in conversation every now and again, but I never really paid too much attention to it. Most people including myself know of Bonaire for windsurfing or diving. You never hear much about kiteboarding in Bonaire. Thanks to Ruben Lenten and all the organizers of the Kite Ride Bonaire Event that is slowly changing.
Bonaire is a small island with a population of only 14,000 people and has been a breeding ground for champion windsurfers for years now and the island is all about windsurfing.
A majority of the best spots are windsurf only spots. Kitesurfing is banned in all the windsurf spots and kiters are limited to only two kite spots. Which is insane because there are so many little spots around the island that would be dream kiteboarding spots.
The whole reason for this Kite Ride Bonaire event was to try and bring attention to the sport of kiteboarding in Bonaire, locally and around the world. I think they have done a great job at doing that. They invited 7 of the top Kiteboarding Pro’s from around the world and I was lucky to be apart of that list. They had a huge amount of involvement from locals. Local youngsters built all the obstacles in an after school program that were the main attraction of the event, others learnt how to kite a few months before the event and were out there busting jumps and competing in the event. It was amazing to see how good the kids were in such little time.
It has been a struggle for kiteboarding to do much in Bonaire. For a number of reasons, living on an Island everything is already expensive and kiteboarding being a fairly expensive sport to get into it hasn’t been very accessible to kids on the island until this event came about.
And windsurfing has been such a strong force in Bonaire that kiteboarders are simply out numbered. For me coming from another island, I know what it is like to not have many opportunities to get into things like kiteboarding and that’s why this was one of the better events that I have been to. The event organizers are really trying to make a difference for the local kids and for the sport on Bonaire. Which I found very inspiring.
The Kite Ride Bonaire event has brought so much attention to kiteboarding on the island that windsurfers and local spectators now know what kiteboarding really is. And I think they are starting to realize that kiteboarding could be a huge attraction for Bonaire along side what they are already known for which is windsurfing and diving.
I hope that kiteboarding continues to grow on the island of Bonaire and it would not surprise me if some of the up and coming local rippers give the Pro’s a run for their money in a few years time.
Big thanks again to Ruben Lenten and all the organizers of Kite Ride Bonaire for giving me the chance to be a part of such a great event. I look forward exploring a little more of Bonaire the next time around.