Bonaire: An Island Watersports Playground!

If you’re looking for a warm-water destination in the winter – particularly in the months of January-March, look no further than Bonaire. We just got back from a 9-day trip to this small, Caribbean island just off the coast of Venezuela and we wanted to share our experience.

Ultimately, this a great island to escape to if you’re looking for a diversity of things to do in the water. This island is mainly renowned for two thing: sensational SCUBA as the island is surrounded by a coral reef and a place called Lac Bay, an intermediate and freestyle windsurfer’s dream. However, there is a kite boarding beach, amazing snorkeling, powerboat rentals, wakeboarding/waterskiing and sailboat excursions.

Let’s start with Lac Bay, the windsurfing area.

The winds speeds in Lac Bay were fairly light compared to our wind conditions.The average wind speed was probably about 14-16 knots but we had some lighter and some strong wind days.

The bay is divided into two sections.One section is a huge area of thigh-high, flattish water.This area is amazing for intermediates to practice all of their skills and a great place to work on freestyle moves because if you mess up you can easily just hop right back onto the board. This is a perfect place to work on any intermediate skills or non-looping freestyle moves.

If you do want to practice looping or go for longer runs or even get into less crowded deeper blue waters, just sail a longer distance into the deeper section of the bay. You may even see lots of sea turtles and other fish (there are flying fish all around the island).

Just as fun, and sometime more fun than sailing, is watching the unbelievable freestylers on the island. 3 of the world’s top 5 windsurfing freestyle champions are from Bonaire. The moves these guys can pull will blow your mind. Even the light wind freestylers are hard to take your eyes off.

Caesar Finies is just ridiculous in light winds. If you think light winds are boring, let’s see if you can do some of these tricks! Do not miss the end of this video for him taking the sail off, throwing it into the air and catching it to sail back onto the beach. This is him below.


For rentals and/or lessons there are two beach side equipment rental concessions to help you out: Jibe City and Bonaire.

Jibe City rentals are very nice and consist of mostly new JP and Neil Pryde equipment.

Bonaire Windsurfing Place has a stellar selection of Starboard, RRD and some Naish Boards. They also carry a full spectrum of Hot Sails Maui Sails including the DD for those who want the lightest weight rig possible.

Both locations also have restaurants and bars right on the beach so you can eat, drink and watch the action – or have a place to relax after a long session.

On the kiteboarding front, there is a smaller, offshore wind beach about 10 minutes away from Lac Bay. If you’re an experienced kiter confidently going up wind, you’ll do just fine. The local kiteboarding school has rescue boats and for $20 you can catch a ride back home if you get stranded down wind. As this site is on the ocean side, you can see lots of flying fish in this area. There is really nice swell on the outside and the area closer to the launch can be relatively flat.

We did take some down time from all of the windsurfing and kiteboarding to rent a powerboat and cruise around Klein Bonaire, a little islet about a half mile off the western side of the island. The snorkeling and diving there are absolutely amazing: Lots of coral, fish, crabs and things to see.

Bonaire is a little quite on the nightlife side, but the food on the island is the best that we have had in the Caribbean. Try the ceviche at New Peruvian Restaurant, the mussels with spinach and gouda at It Rains Fishes, the grilled shrimp and Mona Lisa and just about anything at Unbelievable Restaurant.

For accommodations, I’d recommend contacting Ann Phelan the master of Bonaire travel info:


Since 2002, the Boardsports team has offered kiteboarding, windsurfing, and stand up paddling instruction, rentals, and retail sales. With exclusive teaching rights at two of the best beach locations, we assure you the best lesson and gear buying experience in the Bay Area.

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