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Aruba's world-class windsurfing conditions attract competitors from around the world every July for the Hi-Winds World Challenge, one of the region's most popular windsurfing competitions and the only Professional Windsurfing Association Grand Prix event in the Caribbean. Wind speeds on the island are best in May, June, and July, when they average 20 to 25 knots, and calmest from September through November, when they range from 10 to 20 knots.

The area around Malmok Beach and Fishermen's Huts is the most popular windsurfing spot on the island. Sailed by novices and pros alike, it features slightly gusty offshore winds, minimal current, and moderate chop. The water is shallow more than 60m (197 ft.) out from the shore. Boca Grandi, on the extreme eastern coast, is for advanced and expert wave sailors only. The very strong current here moves out to sea, and on-shore waves rise from 30 centimeters (1 ft.) to mast high on the outer reefs. Malmok Beach and Fisherman's Huts are definitely the places to learn -- beginners are issued a board the size of a banquet table (read: stable) with a sail the size of a cocktail napkin (read: slow), meaning you will be up and cruising in no time.

Most windsurfing operations cluster around Malmok Beach, where equipment rental averages $35 to $45 for 2 hours, $50 for half a day, and $60 to $70 for a full day. Two-hour beginner lessons with equipment are about $50; 5-hour introductory courses are $135. Operators include Aruba Active Vacations, L.G. Smith Blvd. 486 (tel. 297/586-0989 or 741-2991; www.aruba-active-vacations.com); and Vela Windsurf, at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino (tel. 800/223-5443; www.velawindsurf.com). Like any good college, Vela has prodigious course listings; its offerings include Intro to Harness Use: "Da Cool Stance," and Modern Science of Body Drags. Aruba Active Vacations, Aruba Sailboard Vacations, and Vela are windsurf specialists -- a good bet for novices.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.