Aruba Hi-Winds: A short HistoryThis year the 21th anniversary of Aruba Hi-Winds will be celebrated at the Fisherman's Huts. The organizing committee plans to make it another sportive festivity during the day; all-out partying during the cool evenings is once again scheduled on the program. After 21 years we would like to look back a moment to see where we came from.
The Aruba Hi-Winds was first organized in June 1987. Local entrepreneurs Antony Blok and Ruben Croes took the initiative for the sailing event and they chose Eagle Beach with its wide sandy beach as its location. The first event was so well organized that the Professional Boardsailing Association (PBA) decided to sanction the event and make it part of its 1988 World Tour. In the next few years the Aruba Hi-Winds developed into one of the top windsurfing events in the world. Former world champions like Björn Dunckerbeck, Robby Naish and Anders Bringdal came to the island regularly. Because of the superb and strong winds on Aruba, the Hi-Winds held the PBA-record for completing eight rounds (192 heats) for years; other events completed three or maybe four rounds at the most. Besides taking care of the races of the professionals, the organizing committee focused its efforts on the amateurs who enjoyed the racing where fun and sportsmanship took center stage.
During the early nineties, one of the most grueling events of the entire PBA-tour was held on Aruba: the legendary Round-the-Island Race, a long distance race of around 70 miles. Due to safety reasons, only a select group of sailors was allowed to participate. Sailors had to fight huge waves and the toughest, windiest conditions imaginable. Björn Dunkerbeck proved to be the absolute master of this game and he won each and every one of these races. In 1996 the Aruba Hi-Winds changed its site to the famous Fisherman's Huts because of its superior racing and spectator location.
Through the years, the Aruba Hi-Winds has obtained the valuable and valued support from the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA). During the first ten years of the event, the financial assistance of the Aruban government made it possible to attract the best professional windsurfers of the world to Aruba. In 1997, however, the government was obliged to curtail its financial support to the Hi-Winds. In response, the organizing committee decided to turn the Hi-Winds from a top professional race, into a top fun amateur event. In recent years Freestyle Windsurfing was added to the program and freestylers competed for the coveted crown of King-Of-The-Huts. The event’s latest addition is Kiteboarding and the new formula has proven to be an immediate success.
From the very first start of the very first Aruba Hi-Winds, amateur racers from all over the world have come to Aruba Hi-Winds to have a blast on as well as off the water, making the Aruba Hi-Winds the largest and most fun amateur windsurfing event of the entire Caribbean. They still do.