Cabarete has a deep history in windsports going all the way back to the early days of windsurfing. Anyone who's been there recognizes the unique vibe and culture that feels friendly to the wandering traveler looking for a place to stop and chill for a while.

Equally well respected for its daytime and nighttime offerings, this small town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic attracts a unique clientele that finds what they're looking for the moment they roll into town. A mix of downbeat tropical daytime surf vibes and euro-influenced ELM all-night raves give this destination a distinct character that is unmatched in the Caribbean. Over the past decade, Session Magazine’s Creative Director Jeff Henderson and I have spent a lot of time in the bay chasing the wind through the evolutionary cycles of windsurfing, kiting, and winging. Each year we spend down there creates a deeper connection to the community and the personalities that make this place so special. The two most notable people we got to know are cousins from the small neighborhood of La Cienega who learned English by teaching kiting and windsurfing on the beach.

The value that tourists bring to communities like Cabarete can be experienced in the opportunities created for the people who live there. The beach is where the action takes place and where young kids from the poorest of neighborhoods go to gain skills and make some money. The houses in these areas are not sized to accommodate a lot of inside activity. When the sun comes up, people move outside and many of the young kids aspiring to be water athletes make their way to the beach to live out their destinies. Most of them are boys or men who learn to kite, surf and windsurf by finding their way to access and opportunity by coincidence or chance. Gradually, many become proficient and confident enough to instruct and coach any willing tourist or resident expat from Europe, the U.S. or Canada. They teach the skills required to safely kite or windsurf and in turn learn some English which makes them even more successful in their pursuits to make a living on the beach.

Most everyone who grows up in Cabarete has a nickname. No one goes by the name given to them by their parents. Our friend Arismendy Gonzalez is known to his friends as "Kukito" and his cousin Franklin Mieses responds more commonly to "Carlos". Kukito and Carlos have become family over the years and are the primary reason why I continue to visit the island every winter. They are equal parts entrepreneurs and watermen with tremendous love and respect for the area where they grew up. They appreciate my passion for the ocean and the sports we share in common. Every year they encourage me to come to Cabarete to experience an event that is uniquely suited to individuals who practice multiple disciplines on the water. This past winter, the stars finally aligned allowing Jeff and myself to get down there for the show at the 2024 Master of the Ocean championship.

Marcus Bohm founded the Master of the Ocean event in 2003 with the intention of creating a platform that showcases the local talent of Cabarete. The watersport culture in this beachside community makes it an ideal location for hosting a contest that combines five watersports into a single competition to identify the most talented all-around watermen and women. The well deserved moniker of those athletes who find their way to the top of the podium are known as Masters of the Ocean.