May 23, 2024

Aruba sailor Ethan Westera is excited about his qualification to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and to make the whole journey unforgettable, he is in Marseille, France, preparing to offer his best in the waters.

Westera, silver medalist in the last Pan American Games held in Santiago de Chile in 2023, has no doubt that he will play a leading role in the return of sailing in the Olympic Games for the Caribbean island.

At 26 years of age, Ethan has accumulated a number of awards participating in different events of the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA), including the title of world youth champion in slalom for athletes under 22 years of age, when he was 20.

Ethan, who will compete in the iQFoil mode of Sailing, is part of an Aruban delegation that to date has three athletes qualified for Paris 2024, with Mikèl Schreuders in swimming and Just van Aanholt in the Laser event, also in Sailing.

Ethan Westera of Aruba, during a slalom competition in August 2023. (Credit: Instagram/Ethan Westera)
Ethan Westera of Aruba, during a slalom competition in August 2023. (Credit: Instagram/Ethan Westera)


He started windsurfing at the age of 9 years old in his native Aruba, practicing the sport that would eventually become the love of his life, because from that moment, he did not stop improving techniques to be his best version every day.

Being part of the PWA, he met and traveled throughout Europe, Asia and Oceania, achieving multiple recognitions and awards, which gave him notoriety until obtaining the 2016 world championship in the U-22 Youth Slalom category.

In 2020 he made the transition to iQFoil, however, in those early days he did it with the Netherlands delegation, despite being born and residing on the island of Aruba.

They were hard beginnings for Ethan, because he did not fit with the coaches he was looking for, until he was able to meet Sam Vandormeal from Belgium, who has accompanied him in each process, and will be with him in Paris 2024.


This will be the third time that Aruba competes in Olympic Games in Sailing, debuting in Barcelona 1992 with Roger Jurriens, who did it in the Lechner A-390 event, occupying the 37th position in the general ranking.

Participating for the first time in Olympic events in Seoul 1988, Aruba was able to register eight athletes, distributed in athletics (2), boxing (2), fencing (1), judo (1) and synchronized swimming (2). This delegation was composed of four men and an equal number of women.

24 years later, Sailing returns to the Olympic Games, when in Rio 2016, Aruba competed with three female representatives in two events: Philipine van Aanholt in the Laser radial event, and the duo of Thijs Visser and Nicole van der Verlden in the mixed Nacra 17.

For Paris 2024, there are two representatives of this sport for Aruba.

The iQFoil (windsurfing) is scheduled from July 28 to August 2, when medals will be contested during the Olympic Games.

Written by Noel Werleman


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