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Tobago Carnival Regatta blows over Tobago
Dubbed “the Festival of wind,” the Tobago Carnival Regatta 2013 can be described in one word “Action.” With winds packing 20 plus knots and waves more than ten feet on the reef, kiters and wind surfers entertained the crowd as they pushed themselves to the limit all vying for the attention of the judges, Brian Talma and Kenny Hewitt.
Talma, the only Caribbean “Waterman” to be rated in the Top 5 in the world’s ranking, pushed the competitors to “express themselves,” “entertain,” “Show up” and “Hit it.”
The charismatic Barbadian, told the contenders that when he first started out in the game no one knew who he was, and he remembered being in a competition with the world’s best who strutted around not taking any notice of him.
He related how he showed up and entertained the crowd and by the end of the competition he was the best-known wind surfer on the beach. No one remembered who was rated number one.
The inspirational host gave each contender a nickname, Jack “Mad Dog” Azar, Marcus “Monster” Gomez, Herbert “English” Hernandez, Orian “OJ” Jakerov, brothers “Lightening and Bolt” Mohammed among others as they stepped up their game.
Tobago Regattas Ltd managers Niki Borde and Peter Knox took the decision to invite Brian Talma of Naish International to join them and bring his “Beach Culture Tour” to Tobago and were not disappointed. Changes were made to the line up including “wave jumping, slalom races and the newest water sport, Paddle boarding.
Brian changed the format, even the prize giving, everyone was a winner, first place, entertainment, charisma, effort, style, guts, speed all we taken into consideration.
Those were not the only changes made. Of the 152 young optimists sailors, five of the top sailors were invited to sail on the larger traditional Bum Boats, as another 16 raced their optis against them, pitting two classes of boats against each other in the Buccoo lagoon.
“This was such a success that it will become a fixture in the next years regatta,” stated Peter Knox, “we have found something that works and it gives the kids a new challenge that they seem to enjoy.
“Our goal is to encourage as many kids to get back into the sea, no matter if you choose wind surfing, kite boarding or traditional sailing. This is a festival of wind where all can play.”
Supported since its inception by both the Tobago House of Assembly and the Tourism Development Company, this year saw the coming on board of the Sports Company, who assisted the young optimists with accommodation and sailboats from Vesigny, Point Fortin, San Fernando, Carenage and Tobago.
“Each year we try to bring something new to the regatta” said Borde, “and with the help of Betty Suite, we were able to give 152 kids a chance to participate here at Pigeon Point, but also team up with other kids from the Tobago Sailing School and the Bon Accord Police Youth group, who took them on an island wide tour on the Lay Day.
“As long as we can keep these kids interested in sailing, the sport will grow.
“Sports Tourism is one of the largest growing sectors in the world, and Trinidad and Tobago is well poised to establish itself as the Mecca of the Caribbean.
“We have all the natural arenas we need, such as Pigeon Point, Speyside, Lambeau, the Sisters and others in Tobago alone for water sports and many in Trinidad, five national stadia, netball, hockey, tennis courts, countless cricket and football fields, there is no reason why we shouldn’t put more energy into it,” said Borde, also President of the Sports Tourism Event Planners Alliance.
Plans are already afoot for 2014, and with the primary sponsors alongside Carib, the SHADE, Tobago Waters and Brian Talma of Naish International there is a lot to look forward too in the coming years.
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