Zane Schweitzer at the 14th annual Master Of The Ocean, Dominican Republic 2016

Coming back to the DR is such a treat for me, its always nice to see familiar faces and reconnect with friends on my travels. The people along with experiences are truly what makes trips like this special. Cabarete calls for the gathering of an epic group of passionate and talented Watermen. Especially when the Master Of The Ocean event is in town! Everyday during the #MasterOfTheOcean is the best day ever for me. I love hanging out at the beach all day, surfing all the wave riding vehicles we have and push each other at the same time. Cabarete is the heart of watersports in the Dominican Republic and a true heaven for this with warm water, weather and strong winds on any average day. There are plenty of playful Caribbean style waves, so you can always find a ride no matter how small the swell is! Whether you are coming to just vacation, or get extreme with water sports, everyone can have a good time here.

My sister, Shelby Schweitzer, was inspired to also start picking up her experience and skills in windsports. Since she is already a ripper in surf and SUP Surf, she was confident that this would give her a good result! What’s so special about this competition, is that it pushes the athletes to not only excel in their strong suits, but more importantly motivates us to be experienced all around. Even if that means, that we become kooks again and learn from a lower level of experience than we are used to. There are not many people in the world, who are experts in the 4 major surf sports; Surf, SUP Surf, Windsurf and Kitesurf. But if there is anyone close to it, they most likely are competing here at the Master of the Ocean! Since my first #MOTO in 2014 I have been so inspired to pick up my skills in Kitesurf, as this is weakest ocean sport between the 4 of them. So in 2014 I threw myself into my first ever kitesurfing event. This was at the same time only my 4th time ever kitesurfing! I didn’t make it far, well I definitely made it far down the coast, but luckily being controlled by the kite knowing I had to leave the beach to achieve an overall result! This has inspired and motivated me to practice my kitesurfing, especially since I am here again in the DR to defend my title!!

The weather didn’t totally cooperate with us the first few days. These were the days we had set aside to practice kiting and windsurfing. It was raining and overcast coming into the start of the event, but with a major blessing from the gods, we scored some of the best waves I’ve seen and surfed in the DR during our first 2 days of competition. Beautiful sunny skies cleared up for us just in time for the opening day. The wind was still super light and we didn’t start the wind sport events until our 3rd day of competition. But we were able to get great conditions for the early rounds of Surf and SUP surf divisions. I was super excited to get out and compete in my first heat of kitesurfing, because I knew I would do better than my results the past 2 years. I still have not yet reached the point of confidence. Its hard to find time to practice kitesurfing with my crazy hectic schedule training and competing on the SUWT/SUWS. But I had a great start and rhythm after my first ever advancement in a kitesurf heat. I even won my heat in the first round putting me straight to round 3 and earning my best result yet at kiting. I wasn’t expecting to make to the finals of kiting, because I still consider myself a bit of a kook in the sport, but that’s why its so exciting. After every session I feel major improvement! Especially with so many talented kiters coming from around the world to compete in this years event. I couldn’t get my hopes up too high! The windsurfing on the other hand was a blast!! We scored some epic wave riding and some exciting action to kick off the start of Windsurfing. Especially guys like Diony from Venezuela and the local rippers, Tiki and Franzi, here to conquer the Windsurf division for their hometown, racing was very exciting.

We had 3 solid days of competition banging out more than half of our event in some really fun conditions. I was grateful to have come here well prepared with a diverse quiver for most conditions, including big sails by NorthSails for light wind and some big boards by Starboard courtesy of Vella Windsurf school. For most of the competition in windsurf I used my North Sails 4.7 and 5.6, in Kitesurf my AirRush 10 meter wave kite, for SUP my pro-model Starboard 7’1” x 24” and for Surf my Starboard AMP 5’7”.

We were fortunate enough to finish the Windsurfing event with great conditions. With 3 good wave rides and a big back loop I was awarded the champion of the windsurf leg! But as quick as the waves and wind came, they were gone again.  We waited 2 days for conditions to get better before making a change in plans. Fortunately enough the Master of The Ocean knows the importance of adapting with the ever changing conditions and we had the opportunity to go mobile with the event!

During the 2 lay days, the athletes continued with lay day activities! We were stoked to be in the center of the action being hosted at the 5 Star Millennium resort located just at a walking distance to beautiful beaches, night life and restaurants. Brandon Sanford and his girlfriend Sativa treat us as family every time we arrive to DR. Its always that much more of a cultural experience when we are able to stay with and be guided by the locals. Eating out and drinking is somewhat affordable in Cabarete and there are a lots of people from all over the world that come to vacation and experience this tropical escape.

The competition site was moved to a location that was able to pick up a bit more of the minimal swell. Like I mentioned before, even on the worst day in Dominican Republic you can always find something to surf #SomwhereInDR. We finished off the event in conditions that were not ideal, but with style and with the MOTO ‘fly high and surf’! I ended up finishing 2nd in the SUP Surf event after a great performance from Francisco from Venezuela! That’s how it goes sometimes with surf events in minimal conditions! For the Surf I ended up finishing 3rd and in the Kitesurf I finished 4th. The closing ceremony took place at Millennium hotel during a huge concert on the beach with hundreds of people. I was also very proud of my little sister, Shelby, for doing so awesome. Competing in every discipline and achieving 2nd place for the women division of the Overall event!!! We had an epic night of celebrations, followed by a hectic early morning packing everything up and heading back home to Maui!! A hui hou Cabarete!!!

Aloha and Mahalo,

Zane Kekoa Schweitzer

– Innovate and Inspire