The first day of the 15th annual Master of the Ocean event started with the Dominican Republic’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, Julio Almonte giving the opening speech. Mr Almonte enthusiastically welcomed everyone and praise the  effort of the event organizers. He also made a commitment to bringing more support in the coming years for this event. The ministry of tourism has been heavy involved in helping make sure that this event brings a renewed sense of goodwill and support to the local community. They along with event organizers have brought in a new strong infrastructure that not only helps the contest it self, but also the local businesses and the surround area. With new public access, electricity, security, public showers and restrooms. These new measures have helped draw more tourism and growth. Event founder Marcus Bohm then welcomed both spectators and athletes.

A great forecast is due for competitors this week as a new swell and wind pattern are in order. First heats of the event started with the surfing Qualifiers as the crowd on hand cheered the athletes entering the water. Waist to head high set rolling in made for playful, but action. Max Self, a local Dominican shot right out front at the beginning of the heat with some great rides and finished in first. Coming a close second was Tito de la Cruz also from the DR. Both riders advancing into the main event.  As hard as Ariel Hernandez and Jean Carlos Moreno tried, they could not quite find a rhythm during the heat and thus finished third and fourth.

In heat two, Francis Gonzalez (DR), Naranjana Monfleur (DR) and Maarja Kivistik (Estonia) faced a bit more challenging conditions as the winds picked up and fewer cleaner waves could be found during the heat. Local knowledge played a key factor and thus helping Francis Gonzalez take the win and Naranjana Monfleur placing second.

The strong prevailing Caribbean trade winds moved in and at little before 2pm, they made the decision to start running the Overall windsurfing heats. Competitors rigged up and headed out in conditions that ranges from the mid 30’s to gusts up to 40 mph. In the first heat was Zane Schweitzer, local favorite Frederico Arias ‘Chivo’ and MacRae Wylde (Fiona Wylde Father). Zane was hot to defend his title which by the way, he has three (2016, 2015, 2014) of them. After breaking a sail, early on in the heat and coming in for a quick sail change, he still managed to out score fellow competitors to take the win. Chivo who came close to outscoring Zane, just fell shy and landed in second place. Wylde, undered powered the whole time, struggled to stay relevant and did manage to get some decent scores to round out third place.

As heats two through four of Round one of the Overall Windsurfing continued, the swell shifted and it became trickier to find those better waves throughout the remaining heats. Riders continued to try and hunt down the best sets in the Semi Finals as conditions became slightly better depending on which heat you were in. As the last heat of the day finished, you could see in the faces of the competitors that this was a day of “Man against man and man against nature” in the truest sense.

Results from Overall Windsurfing

Round 1 – Heat 2:

1st Samuel Perez-Hults

2nd Brian Talma

3rd Oscar de la Cruz

4th Francis Gonzalez

Round 1 – Heat 3:

1st Christopher Buenger

2nd Fiona Wylde

3rd Brandon Sanford

Round 1 – Heat 4:

1st Franklin Mieses Montain

2nd Luciano Gonzalez

3rd Emanuel Rondon

4th Maarja Kivistik

(A) Bracket – Semi Finals – Heat 5:

1st Zane Schweitzer

2nd Brian Talma

3rd Christopher Buenger

4th Luciano Gonzalez

(A) Bracket – Semi Finals – Heat 6:

1st Samuel Perez Hults

2nd Frederico Arias ‘Chivo’

3rd Fiona Wylde

4th Franklin Mieses Montain

(B) Bracket – Semi Finals Heat 2:

1st Oscar de la Cruz

2nd MacRae Wylde

3rd Emanuel Rondon

(B) Bracket – Semi Finals Heat 2:

1st Francis Gonzalez

2nd Maarja Kivistik

3rd Brandon Sanford