Today was the second day in the freestyle discipline at the PWA event on Aruba. During these two days the wind was never suitable to finish any heats. The heat area is about 300m outside and even the judges are on the sea on boats. Hugo Lewis from the PWA wrote us on Twitter, that huge storm clouds were approaching the heat area, which looked evil and brought some wind for a moment. The first heat was started twice, but also cancelled twice due to the disappearing wind. Jesper Orth, our man on Aruba, has still has some time left until the slalom competition starts, decided to rent a bike to explore the island a bit, instead of waiting for his lost equipment to arrive.
Sponsors: RRD, KA Sails, Vector Fins, Aeron booms and CTM masts
Sailrepair WA – Jesper Orth
Looking at everybody sailing and waiting for your own delayed gear is never that great fun.
When I called the American airline office to check what was going on, I got told the following “ Wow Sir, we got a lot of nice information here for you. Your bags are all over the place, but should all eventually arrive to Aruba”. Great I thought all I can do is wait.
So I decided to rent a MTB bike for the time here. First reason was, so I could get rid of some of the “steam” and 2nd reason was that it is handy to have here, to go from the hotel to event side and also shopping for food.
I went for a few hours ride and it took me around the North part of Aruba. Escaping the tourist hotels a more rugged terrain faced me with hard rocks a few hills and the onshore cooling breeze from the ocean. Not knowing exactly where you are and what’s coming up around the corner is always good fun as it feels a bit more like exploring.
My only regret was the short cut I did in the end. I little half dry lagoon separated me from the hotel 500m away, so it was this or ride another 2-3km around. This is a no brainer I thought. I asked some local kids on BMX bikes if it was safe to cross over and they said “Yahhh just carry your bike”. Why would you carry your bike? I thought, but I soon found out.
What looked like just some grass and soft bush land was instead a “minefield” of massive low laying thorn bushes. The thorns were hard as nails and up to 3cm long and not good news for any bike tyres. I jumped off the bike and instantly felt a pain in the feet. The thorns went straight through my cheap flip flops into my feet. Ahhwwww I yelled out. Now I had 2 options. 1) Go back passing the laughing kids and confront the humiliation and defeat? Or 2) try to make it through the minefield and somehow keep my “dignity”. I choose option 2 and many ahhhwww later I finally made it back to the hotel with some very sore feet.
The freestyle competiton started yesterday. From the beach it is quite hard to follow what is going on as the event area is a good 300m out. The offshore wind makes it too gusty to have it closer to the beach. When you look out there is a few places to avoid with shallow water and rocks. It will be interesting to see when the slalom start the 23rd of June, how far out it will be? Also it would take a little time to get back to the beach to change gear. So your choice of gear would be quite critical.
C7 – Jesper
PS: Avoid short cuts biking on Aruba. Stay away from main roads as bike paths seem to be non-existing.
The colour full male Aruban Whiptail lizard is called Blo-blo in the local Papiamento