I still remember the first time I met Ernst van Vliet, the founder of Jibe City (originally called Windsurfing Bonaire). It was 1990. I helped fix Ernst’s flat tire on his van outside the Sunset Beach Hotel (he did hotel pick ups to take sailors to Lac Bay in those days). We finally made it out to his container on the beach with a handful of boards and sails. The day was windy and perfect. I ripped around on an old Mistal board with North rig for a few hours. I was the only person on Lac Bay that November day. Was I ever hooked! Our company had just started offering Bonaire dive vacation packages, and I was avidly windsurfing at the time. Ernst and I spent some time visiting, hit it off, had dinner and ended our evening with a plan of “hey Ernst, maybe we should offer windsurfing vacation packages to Bonaire — you can put our 800 number in your ad in the back of Windsurfing Magazine.” The rest is history.
Fast forward to 2011. If you have watched Jibe City grow and change over the last 21 years, you would be as happy as we are (sort of like a grand parent). The team and equipment at Jibe City is the best it has ever been. Seriously. After chatting with Gert, Tonky and Jason last month — and seeing all the new boards, sails and improvements — I came to the conclusion that Jibe City has grown up. Respectable, hard working and mature. What a story from its humble beginnings.
We sort of miss the old days. But as the island’s original and oldest windsurfing vacation company and Bonaire specialist, we’re pretty proud of where Jibe City is these days.