Cabarete, Dominican Republic.- The first annual Luciano Gonzales Kitesurfing Pro Open kicks off today, but on a much smaller scale than originally hoped for.
But Gonzales, professional kitesurfer and founder of the charity organization, The Wishspring Foundation, remains optimistic, “Our goal is to be bigger next year, with more international bands and a tour of kitesurfing professionals from around the world. The global economy is just too bad this year.”
Which is too bad, indeed. Though the competition still goes on, with a small pot of prize money as well as donated prizes from local stores and restaurants for the surfers, it will not be the grand event that Gonzales himself is used to participating in.
Gonzales, a Cabarete local, has traveled the world as a professional kitesurfer for the last eight years, so he knows how expensive it can get to put this type of event on, “Professional kitesurfers charge around 50,000 Euros to travel to an event.” He hopes to bring in several of these pros next year.
Most of the monetary proceeds of this year’s competition will go to the Centro de Enseñanza Coral, a struggling school in Cabarete.
The goal of the Wishspring Foundation is to raise money for different schools from the area each year. The parent company of Wishspring and Gonzales’s baby, LG Cabarete, aims to fundraise year-round to assist local schools in having more modern and higher quality levels of education.
Registration for this year’s kitesurfing event begins today, July 8th, at the hotel/resort Paradiso del Sol and continues through Thursday morning, the 9th. The cost of registration is 500 pesos and opens to all.
Thursday afternoon the first competition will get underway, a race for the top five speeds traveling from La Boca downwind to Kite Beach. Friday and Saturday will host freestyle competitions on Kite Beach — and a lot of partying in the evenings to be sure.
Cabarete is world-renowned for its beautiful curving beaches and windy conditions, perfectly suited for sports such as kiteboarding and windsurfing. Competitions from around the globe are held on its sands yearly.