Aruba has long been attracting windsurfers to its shores, and each year the island plays host to the Aruba Hi Winds Festival, the largest and best-known amateur windsurfing and kiteboarding competition in the Caribbean. The Aruba Hi Winds Festival takes place over six days in early July and attracts windsurfers and kiteboarders from around the world.
The Aruba Hi Winds Festival first got its start in 1987 as a professional windsurfing competition. A decade later the festival was changed from a professional to an amateur sporting event, though it continues to attract the participation of well-known international windsurfers. The freestyle kiteboarding category wasn’t introduced into the competition until 2002.
Since 1996, the Aruba Hi Winds Festival has been held at Fisherman’s Huts (Hadicurari Beach), the best beach on the island for windsurfing and kiteboarding. Fisherman’s Huts is a windy stretch of white sand and stones that’s located on the northwest tip of the island and just south of Malmok Beach where the Aruba coast curves inward. The water on this end of the island is warm, shallow and flat as a result of the winds – perfect for windsurfing and kiteboarding.
The trade winds that blow across Fisherman’s Huts during the summer months can reach speeds of as much as 20mph, creating a very windy situation on the beach; you’ll want to bring sunglasses to keep the sand out of your eyes and remember to hold on to your hat!
Thousands of spectators show up each year to take part in the Aruba Hi Winds Festival, now one of the island’s most anticipated social events. During the festival Fisherman’s Huts hosts a variety of celebrations including a nightly entertainment program for festival-goers. At other times of the year the beach attracts windsurfers and kiteboarders of all levels and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a few competition hopefuls practicing out on the water.