“Drive, Purpose, Passion – Audrey Meyer is the embodiment of what it means to be a water woman and community leader. A life-long learner that continuously strives to be the best she can be. Today she’s talking us to the Dominican Republic, where she spends her time shredding waves on the reef or at VelaCabarete where she teaches SUP, SUP FOIL, SUP YOGA, and Wing Foil.
Hi Audrey, can you introduce yourself and your watersports background?
I formed a deep connection with the ocean from a very early age. I grew up in the South of France and was introduced to windsurfing by my brother at the age of 12. This led to me moving to Reunion Island to begin the pursuit of my ocean-sports life dream whilst achieving a Master’s degree in Physical Education and Sports Management. A trip to the watersports paradise Cabarete in the early 2000s hooked me on Kiteboarding, then developing into a Top 5 ranked competitor on the Professional Kite Rider Association (PKRA) World Tour. The desire to become a complete ocean athlete drove me to hone my craft in every possible ocean sport (Surf/ SUP/ Windsurf/ Foil/ Wing) over the years.
This pursuit culminated in winning the Female ‘Master of the Ocean’ titles in 2010-2012 and successfully competing in some of the biggest SUP race competitions on the circuit. Today, I continue to push my own athletic abilities as a high-performance coach and master personal trainer. My World-Class Training Camps are for those looking to maximize their performance and push their limits in and out of the water. You can find me shredding waves on the reef or at VelaCabarete sharing my passion for 20 years.
Tell us more about Cabarete and the weather conditions throughout the year
Cabarete is a small town with an awesome community located on the northwest coast (the Amber Coast) of the Dominican Republic, in the province of Puerto Plata. It is approximately 40 km from the city of Puerto Plata. In the 1980s, Cabarete was still a small fishing village, but today the town is a paradise for watersports, land sports, and wellness (yoga, fitness) enthusiasts.
Almost 4 km of beach lined with coconut palms offer one of the best-classified spots in the world, with glassy waves in the morning, strong and regular wind in the afternoon, warm water, and consistent conditions all year round. There are no real seasons in the Dominican Republic, it’s warm all year.
Waves are good pretty much all year round from knee-high in summer (June to September) to head or double head high in winter (December- March).
Our best swells come in Winter (December- March) when hurricane season is in full swing, and plenty of storms are finding their way to the Caribbean. In these months, swells are nearly back-to-back. Waves can get double-overhead several times a Winter season. There are more protected areas (Cabarete Bay) that are still great for Prone and SUP Foiling, with more gentle waves.
Summer waves break ankle or knee-high – perfect for beginners to learn to SUP, SUP Foil, or Prone Foil. Every day, they are perfect breaking waves with clean consistency and predictability to go foiling and Stand Up Paddle Surfing.
There are some protected Bay (Cabarete Bay, Sosua Bay) that allows the beginner to cruise around and learn the first paddle stroke in a flat area, and do some SUP Yoga.
The trade winds from the western hemisphere blow side/on-shore for 300+ days a year. In the winter the wind will average 8-18 knots and the summer averages 15-25 knots. The trade winds with thermals here in Cabarete make for consistent winds for a large portion of the year, which means the wind starts picking up around 11 am-12 pm. The thermal effect combines with trade winds for super consistent wind and lots of days of wind.
What are the different spots for all levels and activities?
Beginners to amateurs, Cabarete is the Mecca for all kinds of board sports enthusiasts: flatwater SUP, SUP surf, SUP Foil, Wing Foil, Wind/kiteboarders!
According to the level of practice, there are different spots for first-time Stand Up Paddleboarder, SUP Surfer, SUP, Prone Foiler and Wingfoil practices and other spots for more advanced.
- Cabarete Bay: a perfect place to learn to paddleboard, and wing foil. Flatwater with no-wind to light breeze in the morning, and steady wind to wing foil in the afternoon.
- Cabarete Outer Reef: sweet waves for Stand Paddle Surfing, and SUP Foiling. Easy waves, long ride. Works in all swell directions
- Westside from Cabarete Reef: more perky waves, great for SUP Surf, SUP Foil, and Prone Foil.
- Kite Beach Reef: Great spot to SUP Surf. The reef is too shallow to foil.
- Kite Beach Bay: a protected spot for some SUP cruising and wing foiling in the afternoon when the wind kicks in.
- Playa Encuentro: regular surfing and SUP Surfing (too shallow to foil)
- Sosua Bay: Flatwater, no chop, perfect for SUP cruising. Very protected from the wind and waves. Flat, Flat, Flat!
What’s the local watersports community like?
Cabarete has a huge community of Paddleboarders. Some like to cruise in the flat water early in the morning, some others take their yoga to the ocean, some others like to ride some waves on the outer reef in Cabarete Bay or Kitebeach’s reef. There are plenty of waves to be ridden along the North Coast, and miles of cruising around. The SUP Foil, Prone foil, Wing foil community is a little smaller (Yet!). Cabarete sees approximately 10-15 riders as we talk riding waves and flying in the Bay.
Regular tourists have set their base in the Cabarete area to live in the Caribbean and enjoy the warm winter and year-round water conditions. Our Friend Mark Keminosh Chiropractor (60 years old) has moved to Cabarete from the US and got into SUP Foiling and Wingfoiling in his 60.
Cabarete sees some pro riders, like Paula Novotna (pro kite, wing foil), Manuel Selman (pro surfer, prone surfer), spending the winter or year-round in Cabarete, enjoying the waves conditions or summer wind to train in their respective sport.
Where would you rent your SUP and Foil gear or take classes?
Vela Cabarete where I teach SUP, SUP FOIL, SUP YOGA, and Wing Foil.
I’ll also recommend Liquid Blue Cabarete and Kite Club Cabarete.
What are the main water sports events in Dominican Republic?
- The Butterfly Effect (July): a non-competitive event empowering and celebrating women who participate in watersports activities and raise money for the community.
- The yearly Fun Paddle Race in Cabarete Bay (October): a team fun race in giant SUP board open for everyone
- Pablito Guzman Cabarete Classic moments (Jully): A windsurfing, kitesurfing yearly race, freestyle, and downwinder event.
- The Master of the Ocean. A yearly event where athletes compete in the waves in the four disciplines: surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and SUP. Athletes like Zane Schweitzer, Fiona Wild, fly from Hawaii down to join the event every year.
- Halloween Spooky Paddle. A fun morning dressed up paddle cruise in Cabarete Bay, organized by Vela Cabarete
- Kite & Wing Downwinder: every week
What are your “not to be missed” around Cabarete?
There are so many things: The Caves of Cabarete, the Mundo King Art Museum in Sosua, the Nature Walk from Encuentro to Sea Horse Ranch, taking sunset drinks at Voyvoy on the Beach. Then make some days trip to Playa Grande, Playa Alicia, and Puerto Plata Teleferico.
I’ll recommend some activities like Salsa or Merengue Classes with Nina, taking a surf lesson at Pauhana, and taking a windsurf lesson at Vela Cabarete.
And five more things that I’ll recommend is taking a kite lesson at Liquid Blue Cabarete or Kiteclub Cabarete, renting the mega SUP board for 10 people at Vela Cabarete, taking a Yoga or fitness Lesson with me, taking a massage at the Andari SPA, and go to the Amber Museum and Cigar Factory in Puerto Plata.
To follow Audrey Meyer:
SUP Businesses Nearby
Calle Principale #65, Cabarete, 57000, Dominican Republic