This past weekend brought the third annual Saint Barth Fun Cup, a windsurfing competition for professionals and amateurs from around the world, to St. Jean. Over 80 riders competed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, bringing a good crowd of onlookers and windsurfing enthusiasts to the island. Conditions were ideal with enough wind and sun to make the friendly competition the perfect way to kick off the professional wind surfing circuit.
Friday marked the start of the tournament which consisted of 3 races each day. I arrived at the beach early that morning and it was thrilling to see the beach covered with the bright neon colored sails and boards. After a quick press conference, the first race began at the tip of Pointe Milou. All of the sailors made their way out to the point where a small motor boat marked the starting line of the first heat. Gliding back and forth across the bay, they began to arrive back toward the beach as the crowd grew more excited to see the winners.
After the first round I headed back to Anse des Cayes for some lunch, and was delighted to be able to watch the following race from my terrace. It was very cool to see so many windsurfers in line, speeding back and forth across the bay. Easily viewable from Anse des Cayes, St Jean, and Pointe Milou, it was quite impressive to see from a higher lookout point. If you’d like to see aerial footage of the race, check out the video captured by helicopter here.
The three day event included slalom and long distance races, as well as a few free style demonstrations. A food and drink tent was set up on the beach for competitors and spectators to enjoy- refreshments included freshly made sandwiches on baguettes and ice cold soft drinks and beer. It was a great way to spend the day at the beach and feel the energy of a professional sports competition right from my beach blanket. Although not an officially ranked event of the International Windsurfing Association, the Fun Cup is a great way for the pros to size up their competition for the upcoming season and a great opportunity for amateurs to ride alongside their favorite athletes. This year the world champion was racing, but it was local favorite, Antione Questel who took first place overall! On Sunday evening, a reception was held at the harbor in Gustavia. After a brief awards ceremony, a live band played with dinner and drinks for everyone under tents set up alongside the long row of yachts. It was a weekend of fun in the sun and a great atmosphere for the whole family.