Guide to Windsurfing in Cabarete
Our mini guide to the spot, history, centers and right of way rules.
For over 30 years, Cabarete has offered the perfect playground to watersports fanatics from all corners of the globe. So much so that it has been named as one of the top wind sports destinations in the world. Let’s kick start this guide off with a trip down memory lane to where it all began with windsurfing in Cabarete.
A Brief History Lesson
If you’ve visited Cabarete before, then you’ve probably heard this story. If not, then let us fill you in on where it all began. Around the 1980’s, Hawaii was the place to be for windsurfing. It’s where everyone went to train, compete and socialise. Canadian windsurfer, Jean Laporte, quickly became tired of the lengthy and expensive flights so began to scope out closer training grounds. After putting his trust in his travel agent, he was on his flight to the Dominican Republic. Jean was quickly disappointed with his findings on the south side of the island, but after discussing the wind direction with local fisherman, he realised the north coast was the best bet. After scouring the north coast, Jean and his travel partner were enjoying a cold one with the locals when they noticed the wind and waves starting to pick up. The midday trade winds were filling in. They hopped in the car, drove around the corner and there it was … Cabarete Bay.
From that moment on, this little fishing town transformed into a watersports mecca and has since welcomed top athletes. In addition, Cabarete has hosted prestigious windsurfing and kitesurfing competitions like the Windsurf World Tour, Master of the Ocean and the Cabarete Classic!
Cabarete Windsurf Spot Guide
Windsurfing Conditions in Cabarete
- Wind – The wind mainly blows from the east meaning its cross-onshore. This means it’s always easy to get back to the beach.
- Water – The reef is located roughly 600m offshore and offers fun peeling waves for wave riding. On the inside, the water is flatter offering perfect conditions for freestyle, slalom and just cruising. With stronger winds and larger swells, it does get choppier on the inside.
- Shorebreak – For the most part, especially in summer, there is little to no shorebreak in Cabarete Bay making it easy to get in and out. Especially with the gently sloping sandy beach in front of our condos, so you won’t need water shoes. However, it’s important to note in winter with large swells and strong winds, the shorebreak can become larger. Up in the corner of the bay is slightly more sheltered from this which makes it a better entry and exit point during these times.
- Weather – Year round we are blessed with an average of 28°C and our water temperature following close behind at 26°C. So you can leave the thick neoprene at home. We just recommend using sun protective clothing whilst on the water and if you feel the cold, pack a 2mm neoprene shorty or top for sunrise and sunset!
- Tides – Cabarete Bay is not particularly tidal but you can notice slight differences at high and low. At low, particularly on a spring tide, the water is slightly flatter, whereas at high it can be much choppier.
- Seasons – As we previously mentioned, summer is the windiest season. We still have wind in the winter but it is not as strong. You can see our when is it windy in Cabarete article for the breakdown of wind during each month.
Obstacles While Windsurfing in Cabarete
It’s not particularly tidal meaning less current, no predators, and a vast amount of space! We have no big obstacles here, we just recommend paying attention to the reef at low tide as sometimes areas can become exposed. The only other obstacles are other water users. As an increasingly popular wind sports location, it’s important to be aware of other windsurfers, kitesurfers, sailors, kayakers, SUPers, and swimmers in the water. Fortunately, there is a set of right of way rules that take care of this problem!
Right Of Way Rules For Windsurfing
Overtaking Sailor Needs to Give Way
As the sailor in front is rightfully looking where he/she is going, the person overtaking needs to avoid a collision by giving way and space to them.
When two windsurfers are heading towards each other, the one with the left hand closer to the mast must most out of the way and the person with the right hand nearer the mast can stay on their course.
As the downwind sailor cannot see the windsurfer upwind, he/she holds the right of way. If they decide to change course and bear upwind, the upwind windsurfer must change course.
Aside from these rules, it is everyone’s job on the water to avoid a collision. Always be conscious of people around you and be aware that they might not know the rules.
Graphics courtesy of howtowindsurf101.com.
Windsurf Centres and Schools in Cabarete
All of the windsurfing action takes place right in our backyard and conveniently all the schools and centres are located within a 5 minutes walk of our condos. Right next door to us at Villa Taina Hotel is the Cabarete Windsports Club, then midway through town is Vela Cabarete, and at the far end is Ion Club. Each offer lessons, coaching and rentals. With the combination of ideal and safe conditions, Cabarete is the perfect place to learn and improve.