17th June 2011 was the official end of term for my final year at university, and I was very lucky to get my first job out of university in the Caribbean. I was working for Insider Knowledge Ltd. a company I had done work experience with over the last couple of summers and when I phoned them up again this year they asked me to come to the Caribbean with them as a camera operator. Unfortunately it wasn’t a paid job and so was just more work experience but it is definitely the one I have learnt the most on, and it was all expenses paid.
Our purpose in the Caribbean was to broadcast a live stream of the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) World Tour on their website (www.pwaworldtour.com). We streamed two events whilst we were there, the first being in Bonaire where they had freestyle windsurfing and the second being in Aruba where they had freestyle and slalom windsurfing.
We arrived in Bonaire after 36 hours of travelling and with all of us extremely tired from the journey we were hoping for a good few hours sleep upon arrival, but instead we were straight to work. We drove to the hotel to drop our stuff off and then headed straight to the beach, were we set most of the kit up as we would be starting the following day. Once the morning was over we then headed back to the hotel and managed to get some rest, ready for the next day and the start of filming.
So the next day came and we were up at 7am for breakfast, before heading down to the event site at the beach. Once we were there we had to finish setting the kit up, which involved digging trenches across the beach for the cables that fed to the cameras which was tough work in the 33˚C heat. Then the cameras were set up along with the commentary zone and we were ready to go, all we needed were some windsurfers. The cameras were both up in separate towers where they could easily see the action that would be taking place right in front of the judging tower. The afternoon came, one o’clock hit, and the event started.
The Bonaire event lasted 5 days and was just for freestyle windsurfing. Unfortunately there were a couple of days where the wind dropped and so a lot of the heats kept getting postponed. One day didn’t have any heats at all, but they didn’t cancel it because they were hoping that the wind would pick up later, which it didn’t. So instead we held interviews with a few of the windsurfers on the hour every hour, until the PWA decided to call it a day.
After 5 days in Bonaire we then flew to Aruba, where we had one day off and then had to do the whole thing again. We had one day to set up which involved digging trenches again and laying a lot of wires down, as well as setting up the cameras and the broadcasting equipment. For the first few days we had a camera in the water. The water was only waste deep so we put a camera on a tripod out at sea, but there was a lot of trouble with the camera overheating since it had no shade and we lost a couple of batteries to the sea as well so it was decided that both cameras should be up in the tower that was in the middle of the beach.
From then on everything went much smoother. But by that time we had to learn a new routine for filming as the freestyle in Aruba was over and they were starting the slalom racing. This was much harder to film to start with as it took us a while to get into a rhythm and sort a system of communication and filming that worked, but once we’d sorted it out it was much easier than shooting the freestyle because they just followed a line. And after 7 days the Aruba event came to a close. We managed another day off at the end before we had to make our 24 hour journey back home.
You can view all the highlights from both the 5 day Bonaire World Cup, and 7 day Aruba Grand Slam events on the PWA Website.