The Starboard Pro Kids Junior World Championships, held May 20-22, went off with a bang as over 53 entrants, of which 45 were Junior participants, flocked to the beautiful waters of
The unique feature of this event is the fact that the top competitors were displaying amazing level of non planing freestyle tricks, and there was never a question if there was enough wind or not. The heats were called and the best rose to the occasion.
In the age division of 0-7 years, the youngest competitor, Yannick Finnies, 4 years, started windsurfing the week before the event. He announced to his mother that he wanted to be in the World Championship and when she replied he didn’t know how to windsurf, he answered “I will learn this weekend.” Learn he did. Amazingly, he was pulling tricks like duck jibes, sailing inside the booms, back to sail, sail 360’s, the miniscule body and sail twirling like a marionette. He finished 2nd in the competition.
First place, 7 year old Jurgen Saragoza, was clearly in a league apart as he pulled clew first back to sail, body spins, duck tacks and duck jibes, clew first duck tacks, one handed tricks galore, a clear sign that in a few years time he will be dominating among even much older competitors.
Andric Martis, known as “Goo Goo” just two years ago sailing with diapers on, took 3rd in the class.
Worthy of mention the fact that the 0-7 kids class had 17 competitors – with 6 of the participants in the girls division.
In the 8-9 years old division, another world class talent is obvious with Amado Vrieswijk who is very competive and talented, and in the end prevailed over Charles Martijn to take 1st place.
In the 10-11 years age group, Connor Baxter of Hawaii established a clear lead leaving a very close battle for 2nd and 3rd place between Dylan Robles and Ericson Martis.
In the Boys 12-13 years, the judges had their work cut out to try and select the best of the best. Bjorn Saragoza finished with all bullets, but had very close competiton in a few rounds. His versatility and total control of the competition reminded us that indeed this is a world championship and we were witnessing world class competitors performing. Vittorio Mazzocca of
Judges certainly had no time to relax when scoring the boys 14-15, Kiri Thode stole the show, consistently besting the field with impossible tricks and transitions. One handed flakas and diablos in non planing conditions, railrides, spins, and tricks never seen before filled the 3 minute heats. The panel of 5 international judges was seen many times shaking their heads in disbelief. Kiri, who was also registered in the PWA event as a 3rd time competitior showed his expertise in the ProKids event since the PWA had no competition due to wind minimums. His versatility with or without “perfect” conditions right before all eyes was an amazing display of world class freestyle and truly earns him the title of World Champion. Arturo Soliano and Archuendro Finies fought for their finishes right to the semi-finals where Arturo advanced to take 2nd and Archuendro took 3rd.
The best part was to witness kids being kids and having fun together playing and helping each other either on freestyle tricks, or changing equipment, or playing caddy for youger age group divisions. There was a true brotherhood between competitors, and much of it thanks to the Bonairian spirit and kindness.
The Great Final was announced on Sunday, when all the 1st place competitors from each division joined together in the final “Champion of Champions heat”. The crowds roared as a show unmatched anywhere in the world showcased the future of freestyle. Picture a 7 year old putting pressure on a 9 year old, and a men’s finalist having to pull out all the stops to be able to keep up with final winner Kiri Thode.
The place was electrified as if a grand finale round of fireworks was reaching epic proportions. And it did.
Special thanks to all the sponsors who made the event happen, Starboard, Maduro and Curiel’s Bank, TCB -Tourism Corporation of