The Barbados Windfest has been running in Barbados for the last three years and was the brainchild of local Barbadian wind sports enthusiasts who wanted to create an event that promoted Barbados as a wind and kite surfing destination.
The first ever event was held for just one day at Surfer’s Point, Inch Marlow on the south coast of Barbados in February 2006. The idea was to create an international wind and kite surfing competition, where visitors to Barbados could compete against the locals and appreciate the beach culture with a full days beach BBQ, festival atmosphere and beach party.
The event was covered by Sky Television in the UK and featured on their Extreme Sports Programme and on the Travel Show. As this first event was so successful and enjoyed by all the competitors and spectators the event was scheduled for the following year in January, which was traditionally a very windy month in Barbados and therefore excellent for wind sports.
The following year the event was held over a three day holiday weekend and moved to Silver Rock Beach, which is renowned for excellent wind and wave conditions.
The same format was taken for the racing with four main races over the three days. This event saw even more competitors with entrants from Barbados, Italy, Germany, Poland, France and the UK.
Winners at the Barbados Windfest 2007 were Dupont, a French man who won the Windsurfing Slalom Race. Then Gregg Howard, a Barbadian won the Windsurfing Expression Session. Junior a local kite surf instructor collected first prize for the Kite Surf Expression Session and the Downwind Race was a tie with Junior again and English man Steve Campbell, who now lives in Barbados and runs Redeye Kite Surfing.
On the beach there is always plenty of action to keep the crowd entertained with beach games such as volleyball and tug of war, and there is paddleboard racing when wind dies off. The atmosphere is very family orientated with a beach BBQ, bars and music to keep the beach party going.
For information on this year’s event please click on the link below.
The Barbados Windfest features four main events, and they are:
Windsurf Slalom Racing where four competitors race in a figure of eight around two buoys. Each competitor is given the same equipment on which to race. The start and finish line is on the beach, with a Le Mans style start where racers run to their equipment, beach start and sail to the first buoy, jibe and then back to the second buoy, jibe and complete the figure of eight, then race back to the finish line on the beach. This is run on a simple knock out ladder system, whereby first and second of each heat go through to the next round and the bottom two sailors get knocked out. This event is the main basis for the entire competition. Prizes are awarded for first, second and third place.
Windsurf Expression Sessions
These sessions are for wind surfers to show off their freestyle and wave maneuvers. Competitors use their own equipment and the crowd judge who they think is best. The heats feature between four and eight competitors depending on the wind conditions, and there is a time limit of 10 minutes per round. Points are awarded on a less is more basis i.e. if a competitor comes first that is 1 point, and if a sailor comes fourth that is 4 points, the sailor with the least points is the winner. Prizes are awarded for first, second and third place.
Kite Surfing Expression Sessions
These sessions are for kite surfers to show off their tricks and acrobatics. Competitors use their own equipment and the crowd judge who they think is best. The heats feature four competitors and there is a time limit of 10 minutes per round. Points are awarded on a less is more basis i.e. if a competitor comes first that is 1 point, and if a competitor comes fourth that is 4 points, the competitor with the least points is the winner. Prizes are awarded for first, second and third place.
Grande Finale Downwind Race
This event is the grand finale of the Windfest. All competitors are invited to race from Long Beach back to the finish line at the beach where the spectators are and this event is open to all wind crafts – wind surfers, kite surfers or any other wind craft! Prizes are awarded for first, second and third racers over the line.
After the final race there is always a closing ceremony and prize giving to the winners.
For more information on Wind and Kite Surfing in Barbados please read our article below.