The FPT King and Queen of the Caribbean is officially ON! From the 7th to the 10th of April riders from all over the world will compete in front of the Frans Paradise in Bonaire for a total of €3000 prize money as part of our freshly launched Proving Grounds Series. The island is renowned worldwide for its countless freestyle talents, hence bringing the Freestyle Pro Tour to it’s shores is reason for every freestyle fan to celebrate. Forsa Academy is the driving force behind the event, so we caught up with organiser Mick Schmit to tell us more about his efforts to make it happen. Pre-registration for the event is also open, read all the details about it and our interview with Mick below.
Some action from last year’s Forsa King of the Caribbean filmed by Kuma Movie
The event pre-registration is now open. You can register for the event until the 1st of April. After that a 20% late fee will be applied. The registration fee is €25,- for the Pro Freestyle fleet (Men and Women combined). Forsa Academy is proud to announce however, that all ABC Island locals under 25 years old get free entry in order to support them in competing!
FPT: Hi Mick! You’re bringing the historical event back to an international level after a couple of years, how does it feel?
Mick: It feels great and we are very proud of it. It is great for the young talents of Bonaire to now see their professionals idols in person doing fantastic moves. In addition, they see that even if you live on Bonaire, you can participate in international events. Bonaire is a windsurfing paradise and has produced so many local top riders and has many talents, so an international event is just an absolute must. Furthermore, I would like to emphasise that Pro Windsurfing at an international level is indeed Top Sport.
By organising this leading EFPT top sport event once a year, Forsa Academy wants to emphatically position Bonaire as a real professional sports island in windsurfing where the Bonairean athletes get the best out of themselves in front of their own audience. It’s also a place where athletes can act as role models in the Bonairean society while encouraging others to take up more sports and exercise themselves.
FPT: Those are some very strong reasons! Last year the event also took place but more locally. How was the 2022 edition?
Mick: It was an incredible success. We did not expect that there would be so many participants: a total of 84. Many of them talented young people. The atmosphere was fantastic. Sarah-Quita and Oda were also present and participated in the freestyle competition. We are super happy that they will be there again this year.
FPT: Cool! That’s some great prospects for this years competition as well then! There will be a slalom competition as well?
Mick: Yes, Slalom is very much alive on Bonaire. Many young people choose this as their main discipline. We therefore want to professionalize the slalom scene. At the upcoming King & Queen of the Caribbean you will have to have extensive experience in the Slalom discipline.
FPT: The event is part of the FPT Proving Grounds Series, a way for riders to get to know competition and grow into the international scene. Is it exciting to be part of this new initiative?
Mick: New initiatives are always good. Young boys must gain experience and what better way then through competitions on Bonaire itself and internationally. It is also one of the reasons why Forsa Academy has continued to push this international event.
FPT: Really good to see event organisers align with our vision to support upcoming riders this way. Bonaire is known for its countless young freestyle talent, how is the upcoming youth looking right now?
Mick: As we all know, Bonaire is the windsurfing freestyle paradise. Every kid you see here does a bit of freestyle of course because they have some of the best freestylers in the world living on the island of Bonaire. However, from my perspective it looks like a lot of the youngsters are choosing slalom racing as their main discipline. An event like this will definitely help to motivate them to take freestyle more seriously like the old guard on the island!
FPT: Can you tell us more about the Forsa Academy and it’s mission, and why its important for you to organise this event?
Mick: The vision of the Forsa Academy is “That Forsa Life”. Powerful Life. To achieve “That Forsa Life” you work on a strong mentality, self-confidence, perseverance, a can-do attitude, and from a strong WE-Feeling. It doesn’t matter if the current goal is small or if you want to perform at the highest level. ” With the right mindset and with the right involvement of people around you, you can achieve anything.” “That Forsa Life” is outside coaching, moving, and pushing boundaries, to get a little better every day. Forsa Academy carries this vision of providing Outdoor Personal Coaching, Running Therapy, organizing Events such as windsurfing and within the Forsa method®. The Forsa method is a group-oriented approach for young people at risk. We are implementing the Forsa Method in existing facilities on Bonaire and Saba. We also involve the youngsters in our event so they are a part of the Crew and we cannot organise an event without their help, giving them a real sense of responsibility. By this event we bring the youth care closer to the companies and are working hand in hand with them. They therefore indirectly invest in the youth of Bonaire.
The impact that professional sports has on young people and adults in the context of sports participation is great. For Bonaire, top sports such as windsurfing are an excellent way to put the island on the map, as an inspiration for top athletes and sports talents and also as a tool for youth care.
FPT: The event will take place at the Frans Paradise. The place to be for windsurfing on Bonaire?
Mick: Yes, definitely the place to be for windsurfing! It is the place where windsurfers come from all over the world. The shallow water, constant trade winds, wonderful water temperature and of course the beautiful location of Taty and Tonky, called Frans Paradise. Who doesn’t know them!! Both spent years at the top of freestyle and slalom rankings. Abroad, they can always be seen with a smile and promoting their island of Bonaire. If you want to learn windsurfing, learn it from the best windsurfers on the island. They also deserve to be organising this windsurfing event King & Queen of the Caribbean for the full 100%. With their efforts it will be an unbelievably great success!