KRALENDIJK – Thirteen-year-old windsurfer Bobbi-Lynn de Jong of Bonaire has competed in a Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) slalom competition at Fuerteventura. In doing so, she was the youngest participant ever. She earned a ninth place, making her one of the top ten female windsurfers as of now.
Bobbi-Lynn de Jong is not only the youngest ever participant in a PWA slalom competition, she is also the only Bonairean woman to have competed in such a competition in the last ten years. Competing in an adult World Cup race in Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, was a dream come true for her.
The conditions in which surfing was done on the Spanish island were not comparable to those on Bonaire. Strong winds of up to 35 knots (a thick wind force 8), high waves and high speeds. In the beginning I was scared. Even the smallest sail was too big for these conditions,” Bobbi-Lynn said. Still, according to her, it actually went well, better than expected. ,,The adult women had about the same sail size as me. At first they did wonder what I was doing there but later they were just really nice.”
Actually, Bobbi-Lynn was not on the start list at all for the competitions that took place in Fuerteventura from July 27 to August 5. Nevertheless, she did not want to pass up this opportunity. She sent in a so-called “wildcard” and received an email ten days before the competitions were to start that she could participate. ,,That was a bit of a scare. We still had to arrange everything, buy tickets and then go to Fuerteventura with the whole family,” said father Jelmer de Jong.
Bobbi-Lynn only started windsurfing when she was ten years old and came to live on Bonaire. According to her father, she is extremely driven, immerses herself in technique with him and trains a lot. ,,We watch a lot of videos together with tricks and tricks that she can then put into practice. Bobbi-Lynn has the natural drive in her to perform at her best and can even get moody when there is not enough wind one day.” She trains so hard to later become a world champion, she told the German Youth News that was filming in Fuerteventura.
Her achievements have been noticed by a major player in windsurfing, Starboard. They sponsor her with the best and newest boards and she and her sisters are part of the Starboard championship team. Apart from material help, this also means that they are given advice and support. According to her father, a sponsor is now also in the starting blocks who wants to sponsor the sails. “And then the picture is complete.”
The PWA also organizes races for the youth. There is another one in Turkey in October, and these races are meant to slowly prepare the children for adult competition. “But actually she has skipped that step now,” her father proudly reports. “Still, she will compete in Turkey in October to compete with kids her own age.”
Her desire to become a professional surfer does not mean she will neglect her school, she is convinced. She is in VWO and says she is confident she can combine learning and sports well. The fact that she says school work will increase somewhat is not an obstacle for her.