Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bonaire SUP Sailing

I finally got around to putting together a short video clip from SUP sailing at the Lac Bay reef in Bonaire - here it is:

Go to Vimeo to view the movie in HD.

I did a couple of SUP trips out to the reef during our two weeks in Bonaire. The first was with Andy Brandt and several other campers during the ABK camp; the second on, from which the video is, was a few days later with Nina. It was great, if not essential, to have Andy show us the way during the first trip, since the reef has a number of very shallow areas that just love to eat fins. On the days I went, winds were marginal (15 mph), perfect for SUP sailing. The waves are slow and very beginner-friendly; most of us fell once or a few times, but no damage was done. Being on slow SUPs was a big advantage - we were going slow enough that we could pick our way between coral heads in the dicey areas. A German windsurfer, Rainer, came out to join us during the second trip, but he was planing on a shortboard. Even though he is a better windsurfer than I am, his speed did not give him enough time to avoid the corals. He hit on, and broke off the fin. There was not much we could do to help him, other then keep an eye on him. He tried to tie the harness around the back of the board as a fin replacement, but that did not work. Fortunately, the wind was onshore, and within a few minutes, he had drifted in past the reef, from where he slowly walked his way back.

I sailed to him to check if everything was fine, but underestimated how fast the wind made me drift sideways, and ended up falling off at a really shallow spot. Since I did not want to climb over the pretty much untouched corals there, I had to let go of the board, and swim around through deeper channels to get back to it. But perhaps that was a lucky fall, because the GoPro took some nice footage of the corals while the board was drifting (I was using the dive housing, which works great above and under water).

I used the oldest and longest SUP that Jibe City had lying around, because Andy had called it "unbreakable". It worked fine for me - I don't think that I would have done anything more dramatic on one of the newer, fancier, turnier SUPs. There's not much action going on, even after piecing together a few small rides, but I thought that the reef was just so beautiful that I had to share the video.


  1. Most of that branching coral was dead, anyway, if that makes you feel better about walking on it. I did see some live fire coral, though. Good thing you missed that. Makes me want to go to Bonaire. PS- Cool song!

  2. James, I did not actually walk on any corals. My seat harness may have touched some for a few second. I got a few scrapes on my knees that burned for a while. Probably not the fire coral, though - Nina had some fire coral contact a few years ago, and she was in a lot more pain.

    I did feel somewhat bad about being out there with a group, because the reef look much more alive than the reef in Cabarete or places in Puerto Rico that I had seen. Some contact is hard to avoid, especially the first time out there. Not sure I feel much better hearing that a lot of the branching coral is dead...

  3. Hello from Italy from a windsurfer of the Vada beach. Nice to read and watch some report from a nice spot in the world from a fellow who share the same passion for the sport.