|Windsurfing at Lac
Bonaire has long been known as one of the finest windsurfing destinations in the world, attracting experts for high-energy competitions as well as novices in search of a quiet, steady breeze. The foundations of the island's windsurfing appeal are its location and topography--Bonaire basks in the midst of extraordinarily steady trade winds, and the very shape of the island breaks this current into a range of intensities. In spots like Lac, this combination of wind, water, and land has created an ideal windsurfing environment. Winds across the bay's eight square kilometers are as reliable as sunshine in Bonaire, and its unique shape creates three distinct zones, each perfectly suited to particular skill levels. A protected marine park, Lac holds turquoise waters as balmy as the air, and just about as clear.
Bonaire is home to many of the world's top windsurfers. In particular, many Bonairean children are highly ranked world class freestyle athletes in this beautiful sport. It is well worth a visit to the bay just to watch these kids dance with the wind.
Daphne Schmon and Robert McCormick have produced the wonderful documentary "Children of the Wind" about these children who journey from humble beginnings to international fame.
First-time windsurfers start out on the beach side of Lac. The shallow waters here allow easy recovery from falls, and the bay's protective barrier reef ensures smooth-water sailing. More experienced sailors strike out for the blue-green swells across the bay. In this intermediate area there's still some swell protection offered by the island's outstretched arms, but the energy of the wind and the water are raised a few notches. For experts in search of greater challenge there's an even more adventurous option at Lac's outer edges. Here the mast-high swells of the Caribbean and the unadulterated, steady strength of the trade winds create sailing conditions of unequaled consistency and excitement.
Lac's beaches remain unspoiled by high-rise hotels and casinos. Its only two resorts--Kontiki and Sorobon Beach Resort--are likely to remain the only developments, since Lac has been declared a protected marine park. As a result, windsurfers can rest assured that the area will remain an unspoiled paradise for years to come.
Visitors who are ready to start windsurfing should head for one of Lac's two rental operations: Jibe City Bonaire, managed by Gertjan en Fiona de Man and The Windsurf Place, managed by Elvis Martinus. Both offer good equipment, facilities, and instructions by qualified staff.
Bonaire has two windsurfing seasons: high-wind and light-wind, each with their own charms. The high-wind season extends from the middle of December through August; the light-wind season from September to the middle of December. Every October, the island celebrates Regatta Week, with a series of international sailboat and windsurfing races. There are also professional surf-sailing contests throughout the windy season.