This weekend at the Anegada Kite & Paddle Festival, a 50- year-old woman from England who had learned to swim in August got on a paddleboard with trepidation and completed a three-mile downwind trip.
“It was the highlight of my weekend,” recounted Tommy Gaunt, owner of Tommy Gaunt Kitesurfing, which hosts the festival.
The two-day event at the Anegada Beach Club aims to bring in experienced kitesurfers and paddlers as well as novices for a weekend of lessons, competitions, yoga sessions, food, drinks and entertainment.
The windy weather provided excellent conditions for kitesurfing in contrast to last year when a lack of wind left participants doing yoga and playing volleyball instead of kitesurfing, Mr. Gaunt said.
“It was action-packed: It just didn’t stop,” he said of this year’s activities. “Everyone all had a blast.”
Mr. Gaunt estimated that the festival saw about 80 to 100 attendees hailing from the Virgin Islands and abroad. Only about 35 of them had kitesurfed before, he said.
The event offered introductory lessons for novices, and competitions and “downwinders” for experienced participants in which kitesurfers and paddleboarders start at one point on the island
and surf about three miles back to the Anegada Beach Club.
In addition to selling beginner, intermediate and independent tickets, organisers also sold spectator tickets for those who want to relax and enjoy the activities from the shore or boat.
There was a brief hitch in the festivities when the Anegada airport closed on Friday because the airplane’s fire tender had a flat tyre. However, it opened just in time for attendees to arrive on Saturday morning.
Mr. Gaunt said The Anegada Beach Club sold out all its rooms, as did other hotels on the island.
“Everyone got a little slice of the cake,” he said.