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Monday, 06 April 2020
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Dominican Republic

All Images by Trudie and me.

First off, this wasn't allowed to be a windsurfing holiday! My long suffering girlfriend Trudie hasn't had a holiday which doesn't revolve around my sports for about 5yrs. There was still a compromise though, I was allowed to go surfing and Trudie would get to learn.

Ideally we'd have gone somewhere exotic -Bali, Reunion, Maldives, Mauritious, but insufficient funds meant it had to be Dom Rep. The best bet for lovely weather, half decent surf and less than £600 all inc..

I somehow managed to take my windsurfing kit too!
But I didn't expect it to get much use. The wind at this time of year is pretty fickle and if it does blow doesn't normally kick in 'til 3pm and is rarely better than 5.7 weather.

A bit of research showed the surf can be pretty good in Feb though, I found this pretty hard to believe, but Magic Seaweed was showing 8ft almost everyday.


We turned up on the second day at the most reliable spot 'Encuentro' and I was relieved to see it looked perfect -overhead, nicely pealing rights and not too crowded. So this was where we spent most mornings, with Trudie doing the beginner lessons, and me perfecting my backside..


Come the first weekend, there was a local surf comp and we watched how it should be done. I got down there for 7am so I could get a couple of hours in beforehand..

Dawn on contest Saturday.




The contest rippers.

The hotel.

Haha, only joking. Our hotel (Paraiso Tropical) was pretty nice, but a long way away, the other side of Caberete.
Bizarly, despite the lovely beach and great surf at Encuentro there's very little developement -only one hotel and the ruin above.

The dogs were really friendly in DomRep, except to the passing horses! Encuentro beach.

Some food with flavour atlast!

Trudie's croc pic.



We spent a day on paradise island, along with 200 other people..
Fantastic snorkelling though, I'll prove it when the film gets developed.


So what of the windsurfing?
Well, I didn't actually fair too badly. I stayed 3 miles to the East of Caberete and sailed at the beach there. I think I prefered it in someways to Caberete as the waves break straight onto a small reef 20ft off the beach and not miles out to sea.

I had 3 days in total;

The first being 5.7 weather and head high waves. Cross onshore and  a bit underpowered so nothing special, but it was still nice to be out in Feb, in shorts, infront of a busy beach.

The second might have been better, -I was full powered on the 5.7 and about to show the kiters how it's done. It was low tide though and the 8ft waves were closing out on the bar with a bit more oomph than I had anticipated. It only took getting caught once for my solitary 430 mast to be in 5 bits. Bugger! I fully jinxed myself a few months back by boasting that none of my Gaastra masts had broken in 4yrs of poundings...  that makes 2 now in as many months (in fairness they are getting on a bit)

I re-rigged on the 400 and maximum extension and stayed out of trouble. Sail felt very weird though.

The 3rd session, towards the end of the holiday was sweet. Finally some 5m weather and enough power to bust some big moves. I posed around infront of the hotel for a couple of hours, hoping to make the teabaggers who'd been doing the same everyday look limp with their daggly twirls. Then decided to do a downwinder to Caberete to check out the conditions down there.
It was pretty cool, the waves on the reef there were a bit random and don't line up well, but it's slightly more cross-shore and you get a good run at the ramps.
The plan was to head back before the light started to fade and the wind eased, as I knew from previous strolls on the beach that home was a 40 minute walk away.
Stupidly, I grossly miscalculated the time by having far too much fun. My first 3mile/20min tack out to sea, gained me 100yrds towards home! The second left me back where I'd started. What followed was the longest walk of shame in history, an embarassing de-rig in the dark infront of  200 bemused diners and a big scab on my head a few days later....  

In summary, I'd recommend Dom Rep for surfing in Jan/Feb and it would be great for novice/intermediate windsurfers too. But for experts it's not really a place to head -too iffy. Having said that I've a funny feeling some of the surf spots could be sick for windsurfing on their day, particularly Encuentro which blows cross shore and peels perfectly to the right, but I never saw it get really windy there or heard any mention of people sailing..
It's cheap to live out there as the pound is so strong against the Dollar. We got around on a scooter for £40 a week.


The surf was pretty small and rapidly disappearing on the last couple of days, unfortunate timing for the 'Masters of the ocean' which started today...

Moo Custom
Hot Sails Maui
K4 Fins





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