ION CLUB Cabarete // First Love

Back   27.07.17


Hawaii, Barbados, Cabarete – these were the big spots I had always dreamt of when I got addicted to windsurfing at the end of the ´80s.

Now, after travelling the world for almost 30 years, it finally happens: I am on my way to Cabarete in the Caribbean. Why didn’t I go there earlier? When I was young, I was only able to afford cheap trips in Europe due to a small budget, and then over time new exciting spots were discovered and the “old” dream-spots started to fade in my memory somehow. There may also be the reason of being afraid that it would not meet my own demands – in thirty years a lot of things changed of course and the big question is, if Cabarete can fulfil my expectations, or if it is completely different to my imagination…

The 10 hour flight from Frankfurt to Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic passes according to plan, and due to the different time zones there is still plenty of daylight when I finally arrive.

Visa and immigration procedures pose no problems, and 40 minutes after touchdown I am sitting in the pre-booked taxi which will take me in around 20 minutes to Cabarete. The drive is fantastic, we pass through lush green vegetation, and the colourful huts in between get me into the Caribbean vibe immediately. I see myself already lying in a hammock between some palm trees with a good glass of rum.

Oli and Sweetie – our centre managers – are already waiting for me at the centre and I get a quick introduction about the most important subjects ... where to eat best, where to get good breakfast and dinner and the best places for shopping etc. We make an early morning appointment for the next day – the swell forecast is good, so time to get a SUP wave session in the reef!

At 7 a.m. we meet at the centre and paddle 10 minutes together through the turquoise lagoon to the reef. The waves are up to head high, glassy and it is just the three of us out there. Perfect to get settled in again. In summer, the waves are mostly like that, in the winter time they often get bigger and more powerful. The water is beautifully warm – just board shorts and nothing else required!

After a session of almost 2 hours we are stoked and tired and we paddle back with a broad smile on our faces - now it is time for breakfast. One of the most popular places to go for breakfast is a bakery on the main street, here you can enjoy fresh juices, pastries and chocolate croissants or different breakfast menus while watching the busy and colourful goings-on in the street and the surrounding shops. With salt on my skin and sandy toes I am sitting on the terrace, sipping on my fresh mango juice, enjoying in the moment and get finally hooked up to the relaxing atmosphere. The Caribbean feeling has already taken me.

Next on the list is sightseeing. I have a look around Cabarete, the windward part of the beach where our centre and all the other windsurfing centres are located, and the leeward section where the kitesurfers get on the water. Our centre lies protected on the windward end of the beach under palm trees, and here there are not as many people on the water as further downwind. From our centre you walk around 4 minutes towards the start of the kite zone, or you can of course also kite at one of the other various kite spots in and around Cabarete. That’s why Oli invented the Special-Kite-Delivery-Service, meaning you just send a whatsapp message or a call to Oli and he jumps on his motorcycle and brings the right gear straight to you at the hotel, or to the launching spot you chose – and the best of it is ... it is a totally free service! Also for kite lessons the instructors are extremely flexible and will always chose the perfect place for teaching – depending on wind and tides.

Around noon the wind picks up and I am out on the water with the Fanatic Freewave STB TE 95 and a North Sails Volt 5.9. With the Caribbean air and water temperature I have heaps of fun trying new manoeuvres sailing on flat water inside the lagoon, and in the reef, I can even play with the waves. What an amazing playground!

The next morning after the obligatory SUP session we take the motorcycle to Playa Encuentro, the surf beach west of Cabarete. It is pretty easy to get there, for a small fare you can hitch a ride on a mototaxi. Mototaxis are everywhere, basically every Dominican owning a motorcycle will give you a ride. Playa Encuentro is like a dream come true – it is what you would expect in movies like “Endless Summer”: A small hidden bay, with the forest reaching almost to the water. Small wooden huts under the trees with surfboards leaning against the walls and people chilling relaxed in hammocks in the shade of the trees with a view to the Caribbean Sea and the break. Beginners can enjoy the beach break, while the better surfers can ride the waves which break further out over different reefs. The atmosphere is extremely relaxing and I would love to stay the whole day, but Oli still wants to show me the lagoon directly behind Cabarete. With the motorbike we drive back to Cabarete and to the lagoon. The lagoon is not accessible from many points and at the only official entrance the rangers charge a fee. From there you start into the rainforest on your SUP and you paddle through all of the tropical shades of green you can imagine. In just a couple of minutes you leave the hustle and bustle of Cabarete behind and dive in to the silence of nature – just the sounds of water and the song of birds.

The whole back country of Cabarete is literally inviting everybody for excursions with numerous lagoons, torrential rivers, green steep mountains, tropical rainforest. Hiking or biking – here, all is possible!

But I came for water sports and as the conditions for SUP in the morning and windsurfing and kitesurfing in the afternoon are sick every day of my stay, I don’t manage to run off to the planned hiking trip. Instead I am having daily fun on the water, and when the waves are dropping I change to freeride gear: Riding a Gecko LTD 120 or the new Blast LTD 115 and an E-Type 7.3.  I enjoy some awesome sessions, on the flat water I can transform any gust directly into acceleration even when all other windsurfers are pretty powered up already on 5.9’s.

After 7 days and a perfect 100% of wind I find myself back at the airport of Puerto Plata again. My hair is still wet from my last session, my feet are covered with sand and a slight sunburn is glowing lightly on my nose. My expectations of Cabarete? They have been met by more than 100%, I would love to stay a couple of weeks more: The hispanian way of life, the locals, wind and waves, nature and life in Cabarete – this is the Caribbean and perfect lifestyle in its purest form and I will be back for sure soon!


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