Friday, December 29, 2006

NKB Program 2007

Planning kayak-activities in your calendar for 2007? Have a look at the new program of the NKB seakayak committee, just published at the website. Thanks Sido!

Btw: Axel reported there is much response for the rolling clinics with Greg and Freya in the weekend of 27-28 January. The Sunday-morning session is fully booked. But there are still some places available at the other sessions. Be quick. Highly recommended!

Season's Greetings from Woerden

Loosdrechtse Plassen, 12 maart 2006

Happy New Year!

The best wishes for you and yours in 2007,
Wish you a lot of paddling fun,
Looking forward to see you in the new year,

Hans Heupink

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Facts and figures

Daily pageviews of "Kajaksport op groot water" - Onestat Sitecounter

At the end of the year you are supposed to look back. Radio, television and papers publish annual reviews and yearly statistics on all kind of themes: “the year in sport, the top 2000, crime figures decreasing, and 97 % of the inhabitants of Woerden likes Woerden…” Stuff like that. Let me add my part to this odd habit.

Exactly a year ago I added a webcounter to this blog: 9300 visitors made just over 13000 pageviews at "Kajaksport op groot water" since. The average visitor viewed 1.44 pages during his visit. From a www-view it’s peanuts, but from a sea-kayak perspective: that’s an awful lot! A fascinating part of the webounter I find the country stats, it gives a 'kick' seeing how many countries from around the world are visiting my website! The top 6:
1. Nederland 6.378 48,74%
2. Verenigde Staten van Amerika 1.680 12,84%
3. Duitsland 1.487 11,36%
4. Verenigd Koninkrijk 865 6,61%
5. Zweden 539 4,12%
6. Canada 502 3,84%
Last few months the number of foreign visits is increasing (Dutch visitors gone back to 35-40 %). Spain is new in the top 5 and Sweden has gone down to place nr. 7. Congratulations to Wenley! Top referrer is Google with about 10-12 %, directly followed by Derricks–blog (9%).

In 2006 I published 130 posts. I couldn’t imagine this before I started. It began 1,5 year ago with the Kajakwoerden-MSN-space as a service to the fellow paddlers on my kayak-trips and courses: an easy way to share pictures and reports. I can’t use that excuse anymore, the trip reports are only a minor part of this blog. Blogging about my kayak-thoughts has become something on it’s own, some kind of egocentric thing.
Over the year I noticed I am not the only addict: the seakayak-bloglist is getting longer and longer. However: not with Dutch kayakers. It surprises me that there are relatively few Dutch (sea)kayakers blogging. The few ones I know, are blogging in English! Though almost the half of the visitors of my blog are Dutch, the comments I get come for 80 % of the foreign visitors. And while there are in some countries very active seakayak communities with lively forums (e.g. or, initiatives for a Dutch Kayakforum failed. This doesn’t match at all with the recent the figures of the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA). In a recent report of the EIAA the Dutch are presented as very active participants in social-networking sites (Hyves, Myspace etc.): 34 % of the Dutch is a regular visitor of these sites, remarkable more than the European average of 24 %. Ok: Dutch seakayakers are special, I know ;-)
Almost the same can be written about the German seakayakers. There is a lively Seakayakforum, but there are hardly any German Seakayakers blogging: Freya is the only German Blogger I know. How come?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Upcoming: Greenland kayak rolling event

Kaat relaxing at Freya's Greenland Rolling Clinic at Spiekeroog, May 2006

3 January 2007: no places left: all clinics are booked - sorry!

I am happy to be able to (finally) announce the little project Axel, Nico and I’ve been working on lately. In Alphen a/d Rijn-Netherlands, in the weekend of 27 and 28 January 2007, the NKB Seakayak Committee organises, in cooperation with Zeekajak.NL, a Greenland Rolling Event with Greg Stamer and Freya Hoffmeister. You can find all the details (in Dutch) at the homepage of the NKB (the Dutch Kayak Association).

We have booked swimming pools for the whole weekend. At daytime, Saturday and Sunday, there are four workshops of 2,5 hours for 8 kayakers each. Every workshop includes an introduction and a demo by Greg and Freya, half an hour individual rolling instruction by Greg or Freya, explanation of techniques and hardware, the occasion tot try out different Greenland kayaks and modern NDK-seakayaks assisted by NKB seakayakcoaches. Tom or Dick of will also be present to show their skin-0n-frame-kayaks and to introduce you to the activities of the Dutch Greenland-kayak scene.
Exclusively for the NKB-seakayakcoaches is the clinic at Saturday-evening on teaching rolling-skills by Greg, Freya, Axel and Nico. I am curious to see how the Greenland style effects the approach of our coaches to introducing rolling skills (in a standard seakayak with a euro-blade) and what they transfer to their own teaching style. In my own practice I noticed more focus on a gentle body-movement is indeed very successful with the majority of the pupils. I don’t start my rolling-lessons anymore with learning the aggressive hip-flick.

It’s the first time we do a project like this. I hope (no: I am sure!) every participant will be as enthusiast as the organisers are now! If you want to participate: here is more about entry, costs, time and place.

Links for more information:
1. Freya about her Greenland-style teaching method;
2. Gregs Bio;
2. A video-clip with more than a dozen of Greenland-rolls performed by Andrew the Dash Point Pirate at Bonnie’s Blog;
3. All about Greenland kayak activities in the Netherlands at;
4. All you want to know about traditions and techniques of Greenland kayaking on Qajaq USA;
5. of Axel and Nico, my partners in crime ;-)

pictrure of used with kind permission of Freya Hoffmeister

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Indoor Outdoor-sports

What a difference to last weekends’ kayak-activity: the last 24 I did all outdoor-activities inside: 2 kayakclasses in the pools of Alphen and Woerden, watching Jelles’ snowboard lessons in the indoor ski slope in den Hague, and rock climbing with Jelle, Lieke and Janine at the indoor climbing hall in den Hague. Waiting for Jelle in the Uithof this morning, I regretted I didn’t bring along my marathon skates to skate some rounds at the indoor ice track...
Climate, season and topography don’t matter any more: you can do your outdoor-thing anytime, anywhere. It’s an artificial world. It comes close to virtual reality.
I still prefer the “real reality”. I had fun with all the indoor activities, but it’s not the real thing. Kayaking, biking, hiking and camping in winter is cold, wet and dirty. So what?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

NKB Coach training program

No, this isn’t what you think you see! Here are two top kayak coaches (wildwater on the left, seakayak on the right) undergoing the training program for the new NKB-coaching Style. The NKB uses all means to improve the quality of their staff!

Today was the first of 3 days of the in-service training in guided discovery learning. The new NKB coach training program is set up according to this principle. The workshops on collaborative teaching and coaching by questioning were very instructive and fun. It was a unique occasion to work with 30 Dutch coaches of all kayak- and canoe-disciplines. I am looking forward for the next workshop!

Compact wheels: the Kayak Trolley - 2

I must adjust last item I wrote about Freya’s Kayak Trolley. I said the wheels are big, but that’s relative (see the picture with a really big wheel above): they are bigger than the wheels ("puppy buggy wheels" according to Freya) of my old trolley (and therefore much better usable on sand!). And about packing: the big advantage of the Kayak Trolley is that the frame packs very compact. This packed frame is much better manageable than the unpractical bent and folded frame of most other trolleys. Frame and wheels of the Kayak Trolley are easily stowed in the kayak cockpit: in my opinion the best place to store them: direct accessible when you need a trolley.

Even in the low volume Valley Pintail-kayak there is plenty of room in the kayak cockpit for the frame and the wheels of the Kayak Trolley. It only takes some minor preparation to create a few points in the cockpit to fasten these parts on a good reachable place. My kayak wasn't prepared yet. And the normally empty room in front of the footrest was completely filled with Bernhards’ Tent. That’s why I decided to use (for the last time) my old trolly (stowed away behind the hatches) during the tour around Borkum and Juist. And now you know why Freya cursed me: we did a lot of kayak-hiking and with the inferior Dutch trolley's we had to do many walks twice ;-( Thanks Freya, for lending your Trolley, and for the good time we had ;-) !!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy kayak pulling... the Kayak Trolley

Borkum, 10-12-'06: in front three happy users of Freya's Kayak Trolley, followed by a Dutchman with a trolley with small wheels.

Last week Wenley asked me about typical German kayaking-customs. This year I had the pleasure to paddle quit a lot with German seakayakers. Yet I still find it difficult to tell what’s typical about German seakayaking. The British BCU approach had a strong influence on German, as well on Dutch seakayaking. I do tend to think more in terms of similarities as in differences. Besides that, I don’t like to judge all Germans (nor all British or Dutch) alike! Said that, I find it fascinating to explore how national culture typical influences individual behaviour. Wenley referred to the German “Gründlichkeit”. Kayaking with Guus (Dutch) and my German friends last weekend I noticed two other aspects I would describe as rather “German”:
  1. the interest in exploring good gear and the willingness to pay for quality. Modern design kayaks, high-tech carbon fibre paddles, Goretex paddling suits are rather common. Most Dutch kayakers use far more basic gear…
  2. the lack of scruples in using a kayak trolley for long walks during a paddle tour...
I must admit I share this fascination for good gear (some German roots left in this Dutchman). So when Freya brought along a stock of new Kayak Trolleys with in her camper I couldn’t resist. Freya’s Kayak Trolley (design: Gerard Maroske and Jochen Vetterlein) is a wonderful piece of kit:
  • saltwater resistant V4a-Steel;
  • compact package of the frame;
  • "Open-the-bag-and-pop-up" – construction;
  • all in one piece, no loose parts;
  • integrated straps to secure the kayak;
  • big wheels good rolling even on sand.
“Ieder voordeel heb zijn nadeel” – “Every advantage brings along a disadvantage”: the big wheels of the trolley are really big... They require a lot of storage place. Because I carried the outer tent of Bernhards giant group shelter in my (rather low volume) Valley Pintail, I decided to use my own little kayak trolley last weekend (I want to store all the gear inside the kayak, and don’t like to carry wheels on the deck). After 15 km’s of kayak-pulling this weekend, I must admit I regretted this decision more than once, a bit because of the discomfort (it was hard pulling, with the little wheels) but even more because of the punishing comments of Freya ;-) She says what comes to her mind!

Here is a good advice: before paddling with Freya: order the Kayak Trolley!
(Serious, when you are looking for a good Kayak Trolley, take this, you will like it!)

the old trolley in front, Freya's Kayak Trolley behind

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Impression from a wintertour around Borkum and Juist

“Schön war es!” I enjoyed 4 days of paddling and winter-camping with a couple of nice people. The conditions were just like they are supposed to be on a winter-tour: rough, windy and chilly, but we picked out exactly the best days of the period. Saturday and Sunday we even got pampered with some hours of sunshine. Friday we paddled from Norddeich to Borkum. Saturday we circumnavigated Borkum and Sunday we passed by Juist from west to east at the sea-side and camped at the wad-side of Juist. Wind increased during the tour, and due to the fact it had been stormy all week before, there was quit some powerful surf at the sea-side of the isles and sandbanks. I capsized unintended in a big surfwave, not quit my favourite action in winter, but had no problem rolling up again. I was in good company as Guus and Freya made the same experience (off course this comparison is improper: no one rolls in style like Freya does! ;-)

Bernhard had taken along his giant Hilleberg-expedition base-camp-tent. This proved to be very practical. When it got dark and cold (early) in the evening, we didn’t have to draw back to our individual little shelters, but instead we could have a social evening with the complete group. We had a introduction to some good old German “Weihnachts”-traditions: Freya’s “Glühwein” and the “Feuerzangenbowle” of Nils and Tanja, accompanied by the Guitar-music of Bernhard. Compared to this Dutch winter-traditions are poor. Guus and I could only offer “Speculaas” and some “Sinterklaas”-stories. Spare our German-friends the terrible Dutch “Snert with spek”-tradition!

From Sunday to Monday it got very stormy. The big Hilleberg-tent was taken to the ultimate test, we had a restless night. Alas the tent didn’t outstand this test undamaged, the conditions proved to be to extreme for a tent of this size. The conditions were also to heavy to paddle back and we decided to put the boats on the kayak-trolley’s to take the ferry back to Nordsiel. No paddling on Monday, but 15 km walking and pulling kayaks over the dunes is also quit fatiguing! More about this kayak pulling-happening in the next post.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Winter weekend tour

Next Friday I am leaving with Guus for Norddeich-Germany, to meet Bernhard, Freya, Tanja and Nils for a winter-camping tour around the isles Borkum and Juist. Bernhard invited us for this wintertour. A great idea. But Winter? The climate is playing mad lately: temperatures of 13-16 degrees Celsius in early December. So don’t expect any white winterly pictures on this website next week. When you want to see snowy kayak-pictures, check the kayakblogs of Michael or Derrick. In Canada it’s now very cold and Wisconsin suffered extreme snowfall last week (US Deaths by cold were even a item on Dutch TV).
The Dutch weatherforecast for the next few days I heard at the radio was also bizarre: this evening a storm-warning for the coastal region, tomorrow first decreasing and later windy up to 8 Bft, Thursday evening decreasing wind again, followed by a Stromy night, and Friday decreasing winds to moderate winds in the weekend. Perhaps we are lucky and we timed exactly the calm period. Bernhard did some nice suggestions for the trip-planning this weekend, but at the end the weather conditions will determine the routes. That’s seakayaking. Living day by day.
I am looking forward for a nice weekend in good company!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Greenland kayaks in the Netherlands

picture of, used with permission of Tom Steenbergen

Perfectly timed at “Pakjesavond – 5th December” a air parcel post containing Harvey Goldens’ book “Kayaks of Greenland” arrived at Woerden. The word “book” is a understatement for this masterpiece covering 300 years of kayak-history. At the first glance of the book I noticed by coincidence the description of some kayaks out of the collections of the Dutch Ethnological Museums in Den Hague and Leiden (both museums have a impressive collection of Inuit art, worth a visit!). For those who understand Swedish: Björn Thomasson has written a more extensive review of Harveys’ book.

For the Dutch enthusiasts of Greenland Kayaks the site is interesting. Dick van Zanten and Tom Steenbergen are doing a good job in promoting traditional Greenland-style kayaking in the Netherlands. Lost month they added a new report to the site covering their experiences in building a new Greenland Kayak and a Baidarka. These qayaqs are built according traditional greenlandic design and techniques, but equipped with some modern elements like bulkheads and hatches. Tom and Dick created in this way promising crossovers between a qayaq and a seakayak. I am looking forward to meet the first greenland SKOF-kayak at a Dutch seakayak-trip!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Upcoming kayak-swimmingpool event

Yesterday Sinterklaas paid a visit to Woerden. As the kids grow older, the character of “Pakjesavond” is changing. The focus is shifting from the sheer size and number of the gifts to more creative elements like the originality of the presentation and the poems coming along with the “surprises”. Jelle and Lieke are inventing and creating these surprises more on their own. The Sinterklaas surprise for me was a miniature private kayak-swimming-pool (note the position of the kayaks: no. 1 is sculling, no. 2 is in upside down position preparing for a roll).

The kayak-swimming-pool-gift is very appropriate. Hans spent every spare minute last week organising a indoor swimming-pool. It’s not easy to arrange a swimming pool for more than a single hour during the weekend, and I was looking for a pool we can use a whole weekend for a kayak event! These are the moments you benefit good kayak-contacts in the region, and finally we found a perfect place, ideally located in the middle of the Netherlands (near Woerden). Thanks Herman! “Waar een wil is, is een weg” (= “where there is a will, there is a way”). The confirmation of the reservation by the manager of the swimming-pool last Friday is a superb Sinterklaas-surprise.

I am so anxious to tell you what we are up to do in this swimming-pool! Full information follows when the last details are definitive. It is a co production between the NKB-commissie Zeekajakvaren, and two highly regarded, in the international kayak-scene well-known, foreign kayak-instructors, and I don’t want to pass my colleague-organisers. But I can lift a corner of the veil: If you are interested in improving your rolling-technique, open for a new experience and want to know more about the roots of seakayaking -> reserve the weekend of 27 and 28 January in your calendar! It may sound immodest, but you haven’t seen anything like this in the Netherlands before!

Friday, November 24, 2006

"My first Sony", listening Seakayak Podcasts

The first one: the Sony Walkman was the IPod of the late 80’s. As the transistor radio defined small music in the 1960s, the portable CD player in the 1990s, and the mp3 player in the 2000s, so did the Walkman define small portable music in the 1980s, with cassette sales overtaking those of LPs. It seems like ages ago. The Walkman never became a real favourite of mine. I regarded Compact Cassettes as an inferior medium and preferred listening vinyl records (LP’s) and used a traditional tape deck for recordings. Somehow I didn’t feel the urge to take music along with me while travelling. So the Walkman spent most of his live in a dark edge of a closet.

The favourite one: the Sony Cybershot digital still camera. It may look like a plastic toy, but it isn’t. It’s the ideal digital camera for action pictures on the water. It’s compact, waterproof, rugged, responsive, easy to operate with one hand and the picture quality is astonishing good. I am using it for almost 4 years now and haven’t seen a better kayak-camera yet. There are quite some other waterproof digital camera’s by now, offering more Megapixels, zoom and film-modus, but there is no camera coming near the Sony in ergonomics.

The new one: the Sony Ericsson cameraphone. It replaces the old Siemens cell phone I lost in the train last week (the second phone I lost in the train, NS (Dutch Rail), can begin a shop with all the gear I have forgotten in the train). This Sony is a miracle: a organiser that synchronises with the calendar, tasks, notes and contacts on the PC, it’s a radio, MP3-player, 2 MP Digital Still camera, Memory Stick, Internet Browser, E-mail, Memo-recorder, flashlight, SMS, MMS and you can use it as a phone… It will take some time before I am familiar with all these options. By now I do manage to use it as a phone, I have taken some pictures with it and I can listen to the radio. The picture quality is not as good as the Cyber-shot, but for publishing on the web it is good enough. The pictures of Sinterklaas at the meeting of the Seakayak coaches are made using the phone. As the Sony Memory Sticks of the phone are interchangeable with the Cybershot camera, I no longer need direct internet-acces to work on this blog. I should be able to post and publish pictures by phone: offering new possibilities for live trip-reports (don’t know if anybody is interested in my live reports, but I am happy with the sheer possibility).

And I discovered something new: podcasting. To be more specific: seakayak-podcasting. Simon Willis publishes twice a month a podcast with interviews on seakayak-themes. Surfing the web I am seldom patient enough to listen to long interviews, but now I can download the postcasts to the phone and listen to Simon’s interviews while commuting by train. After a long day at the office, I find this a very relaxing activity, sitting in the train back home listening to Simon’s perfect British diction and enjoying the charming accents of the people he interviews. Just a bit dreaming away. Risking to forget to get out the train at Woerden-Station.

1. Simon Willis recently started a seakayak blog.
2. I don't expect any rewards from mr. Sony for this free publicity. But I sure would appreciate it when Sony brings out a worthy successor of the Cybershot USC-U60 (6 Megapixel, movie capture mode 640x480 pixels please, and what about the idea of a integrated lens-wiper-system?)!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I did it!

I don't mean the rolling thing. That's René on the picture testing the Avocet with the Lendal Kinetic Wing Blade, last year at the IJmeer. No, I am happy because I finally managed to add some moving elements to this blog. Thanks to Blogger Beta. Click on the picture above and enjoy this little miracle!

Special guests at the meeting of NKB-Seakayakcoaches

Last weekend the yearly meeting of the NKB Seakayak-instructors took place in Uithoorn. We had several international guests: Urs and Bernhard (Seakayakcoaches from the German Salwasserunion) and Sinterklaas. On his way from Spain to Uithoorn/Netherlands Sinterklaas made a stop at the Seakayak-meeting to change over and embark the MS Luus, for the last few miles to the city of Uithoorn where hundreds of cheering and singing children were awaiting the “Goedheiligman”.

Main issue on this years meeting was the revision of the NKB-Zeevaardigheid certificate, the Dutch equivalent of the BCU 4-Star Award. We had a constructive discussion about the level of skills demanded for a paddler to take a kayak safely to sea under a competent leader. A draft of a new certificate is discussed. Main changes will probably be: more emphasis on the prerequisites of the test, and more realistic requirements on the techniques.
The BCU is reviewing the whole system of Star Awards, upgrading the 4 Star level and introducing a new seakayak-specific 3 Star entry-level. As far as I am informed, this new 3 Star-level comes close to the existing 4 Star. The new 4 Star Award will introduce some leadership-skills. In Germany a discussion is going on about the European Paddle Pass (EPP). The DKV has presented a draft for a German EPP with 3 seakayak-specific levels of certificates. The DKV introduces a new entry-Level 3, aimed at calmer conditions and with more simple requirements than the existing 4 Star/Zeevaardigheid-certificates. On the Seekajakforum a lively discussion is going on about the EPP. Alas this discussion isn't always constructive, sometimes rather offensive and emotional.
At the NKB-meeting it is agreed not to change the level of the Zeevaardigheid-certificate in itself, but to redefine some of the requirements of the certificate. According the planning the reviewed Certificate Zeevaardigheid will be introduced early 2007.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The ultimate Christmas Gift

KAYAKS OF GREENLAND, The History and Development of the
Greenlandic Hunting Kayak
, 1600-2000, by Harvey Golden. Published in 2006 by White House Grocery Press, 580+pages, 400+figs. and photos, 106 scale drawings of kayaks,79 scale drawings of paddles, 8.5 x 11 x 1-1/2" paperback. Need I say more? Perhaps a little bit pricy (99 US Dollars, incl. Shipping) for a gift, but don’t you buy must of your Christmas Gifts yourself anyhow?

Other suggestion: the limited edition of the Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch United East India Company. Appeared just in time for Sinterklaas and Santa Claus (buying this one however, will sure create some relational problems at home…).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I still love Sweden: the Ljuscafé

After 3 days, finally new Blogger-beta is in control. The only resting issue is René’s report; the layout of the Kajakwoerden-feeds in his RSS-feed-reader is disturbed. I am afraid I can’t do much about it. Blogger-help reports of some known bugs with RSS-feeds in Blogger-beta. But after all, I suppose it’s not Blogger’s fault, but my own clumsiness that caused most panic with me. Blogger Heldesk gave a quick and adequate response to my questions. And I do like the improvements of the beta-version: posting pictures works better, it’s easier to add new items to the template of your blog, changing the layout and colours of your blog now is a piece of cake: the new dashboard works more “WYSIWYG”.

I used the new Blogger-features to lighten op my blog: can use some brightness, these dark days! I haven’t seen the sun since Sunday. Wednesday’s issue of the paper (NRC-Next) learned me it can be even worse: in the darkest days in Stockholm the Swedish enjoy a little bit of daylight only from 9.30 am till 3.00 am… A inventive entrepreneur opened in 2005 the Bright Light Café (Iglo Ljuscafé) in Stockholm. Artificial daylight seems to help against a Winter-depression. Also in the Netherlands Bright light–treatment for the Seasanable Affective Disorder Depression (SAD) is getting slowly more standard in public-healthcare. Personally I am not ready yet for a bright light-treatment: I do prefer using the spare bright hours left to go outdoors. Actvities in the fresh air do enlighten my sometimes somewhat cloudy mind. Kayaking, biking and hiking as a medicine! But, looking at the pictures of the Ljuscafé, perhaps I should drink my next cup of tea in the bright white family-bathroom, with the Halogen-spotlights switched on at full power....

Let me finish with some kayak-related notes. I added some new links to my bloglist. The blogging kayak-scene is steady growing: Douglas Wilcox of the Scottish Seakayaking Photo Gallery (what a scenery, great pictures!) started his own blog, so did Mark Tozer a Mountain Instructor and Sea Kayak Coach in North Wales sponsored by Rockpool Kayaks. And over the ocean I discovered the interesting blog of Susanita, a sporty and fast kayaking (competition-surfski’s) lady at the East Coast of the US. All blogs worth a visit.
A special bonus for the Carfree Girls: this link to the Hawaii-adventures of Rich Delong. Note the picture of the bike-kayak-combination. It brings together the best of both worlds: the Cannondale racing bike transporting a beautiful Greenland-kayak! Touring around with this stuff at the big Island of Hawaii: some guys have it all ;-)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Workers and players

The kayaktrip this Sunday was according to the forecast: windy, very windy! René joined me and Guus with his latest test-kayak: the SKIM–Distance. He wanted to test the behaviour of this long (5.85 m) and sleek seakayak under following winds. The conditions were perfect for this purpose. But before we could surf back, we had to fight our way out against the strong onshore wind: NW 7-8 Bft. according to the lighthouse guard. Wind against tide made it a bouncy ride. With 3 experienced kayakers in different kayaks it was remarkable to see how the different the behaviour of this kayaks were. While I was playing around in the manoeuvrable and assuring Valley Pintail, René and Guus with the SKIM Distance the Valley Nordkapp (a older classic HS-type) had a hard job keeping the boats on track and with turning in the wind. Under rough circumstances like today, the Pintail (not known as a fast kayak) makes much easier progress than the Nordkapp and SKIM (both with less rocker, a longer keel-line and under more normal circumstances faster). Of course this is all relative: with wind blowing around 7 Bft. against, you don’t make much progress anyhow!
After 3 hours fighting against the wind, we surfed back in half an hour. Just a little bit disappointing that the wind decreased: we had "only" 6 Bft. following winds.

Read René’s blog for his first impressions of the SKIM. I suppose a test-report will be published later at

Facts and figures:
Temperature: 10 degrees Celsius
Water-temperature: 13 degrees Celsius
Low tide Brouwershavensche Gat: 12.45 uur
Departure: 11.00 uur Return: 16.00 uur
Total distance: 15 km
Wind at start 7-8 Bft. NW, later decreasing 6 Bft.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Love and hate, computers

Information: everywhere, anytime: the blessings of the digital world are countless. Thanks to Bill Gates, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and all the others! Even seakayak-sport got a new dimension with access to the web. (Web-) blogging, mailing with kayak-friends all over the world (the seakayak-bloglist is growing fast), surfing the web for kayak- information, on line-information about tides, waves, weather: I spent quit a lot of time of kayak-related computing. Mostly I take a pleasure in it, but sometimes….
Last night I cursed this ICT-thing. Updating a laptop with Windows Office Pro, trouble shooting after synchronising a Pocket-PC with the webserver at work: it took all night. And after a long quest along the inscrutable paths of Windows and co, my friend Blogger gave me the final blow.
I signed the Kajakwoerden-blog up to Blogger Beta, used an existing Google-account, changed the colours of the template of this blog, all worked fine until Blogger Beta refused to give me access to my own blog. Hours of puzzling with login codes followed. I should have gone sleeping. Finally it works again (but I still don’t manage to personalize the templates of Blogger with my own pictures).

Back to one of the more pleasant themes: the weather forecast for Sunday. It promises a challenging sea-state for tomorrows’ kayak-adventure with Guus!

Dutch Coastal waters
The weatherforecast for Netherlands coastal waters and adjacent lakes and estuaries
Issued: 11 november 2006 19:22 UTC

A warning to shipping:
Flushing Hook of Holland IJmuiden Texel Rottum Delfzijl Harlingen
west 8

Low over the Norwegian Sea slowly moving east. Ridge west of Ireland later expected over the North Sea.

Forecast valid from 18:00 to 06:00 UTC:
Flushing Hook of Holland
west veering northwest 7-8,occasional showers possibly with hail, visibility good, in showers moderate

Forecast valid from 06:00 to 18:00 UTC:
Flushing Hook of Holland IJmuiden
northwest 7-8 decreasing 5-6,occasional showers, visibility good, in showers moderate

Sounds like fun!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Upside down

Yesterday, Saturday evening, was this years first pool session of kayakclub "de Kromme Aar" in Alphen a/d Rijn. I had no coaching or training job to do, so I enjoyed 90 minutes of rolling with the Pintail sea-kayak, the Perception-Sparc ww-kayak, and sevaral polo kayaks. The polo-kayaks are the most fun to roll. Offering a tight fit, low volume and a very flat deck, they roll up with the slightest body movement. You hardly need a hand to perform a handroll. But there still is some work to do to before the straightjacket-roll works with me -:(

I noticed I often closed my eyes while rolling yesterday. I had to force myself to keep eyes open to look around. It's a strange world under water.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Today we had the first autumn storm of the year at the Dutch Coast. Gales up to 100 km, 10 Bft from NorthWest caused the water in Delfzijl to rise up to 4.85 meters above sealevel, where high water normally reaches 1.30 meters. It led to a lot of inconveniences in the northern part of the Netherlands. Security teams were alarmed to inspect the situation on the dikes. The coastguard turned out to assist ships in problems. Land outside the dikes and harbours flooded. The storm brought quit a lot of damage. Dramatically is the situation with a group of 100 horses on a salt marsh. They got isolated by the water. More than 15 horses drowned, a rescue operation for the other horses is going on at this very moment. It’s unbelievable and so stupid that the landowner didn’t take his responsibility to bring the horses in at time. He was warned that the land where the horse stood would be flooded. This storm was no surprise, the KNMI had given out a weather-alarm the day before.

The waves out at sea must have been gigantic. One of the biggest lifeboats of the KNRM, the Anna Margarathe capsized during a mission this morning. The Anna Margaretha is a Rigid Inflatable Boat of the Arie Visser Class: length 18,80 m, twin jet, 2 x 1000 hp, max. speed 35 kts, capacity up to 120 persons. These boats are selfrightening, but also so unblievable stable that they don’t capsize (normally). There must really have been a huge sea outside. Breaking waves of 10 meters high were reported above the Wadden-isles.

And now it’s autumn. The temperature has dropped to normal figures. My constitution already felt some days ago this climate change was coming. Since last weekend I suffer a headache, are the muscles aching and is my mood rather cloudy. Darkness in the morning when I go to work, darkness in the evening when I come back from work (Daylight-saving time is over) don’t contribute to my temper…
So I was happy I had a few spare hours this morning. I went out for a short paddle (first I thought about a little rolling session but my head didn’t feel like it). Often I wish there was some more challenging paddle water here in Woerden, but in conditions like today the sheltered waters around Woerden are a big advantage. Even with gales up to 7 or 8 Bft, you can paddle here at ease. The worst thing that might happen is to get struck by a branche of a tree falling down. Perhaps I should better wear a helmet? (note: the use of a kayak-helmet is an item for one of the next posts in this blog). Anyway: my mood is much sunnier after a day with a few outdoor activities!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

London - 2: ..gone shopping, the new BCU Coaching handbook

Visiting London isn’t complete without doing the famous shops and stores in Oxford Street and Regent Street. Harrods and Hamleys are not quite my cup of tea, but Jelle and Lieke have another taste. I prefer Waterstones. I even bought something for myself:
The New BCU Coaching handbook, a manual of coaching techniques, advice and guidelines for the canoe and kayak coach. According to Pesda Press:

This book is a mine of useful information and practical tips. If you aspire to be a better canoe or kayak coach, this is the book for you.
Part one deals with coaching theory and fundamentals such as psychology and physiology explained in terms that make sense to a practical water-based coach.
Part two looks at generic coaching skills that will provide useful tools whatever the discipline the coach is involved in. It works its way from introducing people to canoesport right to coaching elite athletes.
Part three looks at specific aspects of canoesport such as slalom, racing, sea kayaking, surf white water kayaking, open canoeing and freestyle.

I fully agree: this really is a mine of useful information! Renown kayakers like Franco Ferero, Bill Taylor, Trys Morris and many more have contributed to this fantastic project and made an incredible amount of knowledge accessible. Wow! I admire the BCU Coaching Service to be so open in sharing the BCU coaching knowledge and experiences. We should introduce this to Dutch seakayak-coach education!

PS: you dont have to go to London to get a copy: Pesda Press delivers worldwide, postage and packaging free!

London - 1: ...a unique condition between delight and madness...

This weekend I returned from a fascinating and intense week with the kids in London. As I told Jelle and Lieke about the giant slide sculpture "Test-side" of Carsten Höller, we had to visit Tate Modern. Children don't need the artists' explanation of the project to get enthusiast: just the information "giant slide" and "you are allowed to use it" is enough. To be honest: I don't need much more either...

But as I am supposed to be a cultural interested adult, I read the interview in which Carsten Höller explains his intentions with this piece of art. A short quote:
…Slides are also a device for experiencing an emotional state that is a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness. It was described in the fifties by the French writer Roger Callois as “a kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind”…
Isn’t that a beautiful description of an emotion? And as this is a kayak-blog: isn’t it the perfect description of the feeling you get when your 5 meter-plus seakayak catches a surf…?

Alas: we didn’t reach this emotional state in Tate Modern: instead we got another experience. We were introduced to the “fine British Art of queuing”. Tate Modern was overcrowded, you had to queue for hours to get a timed ticked for one ride later that day in the higher slides. Only the lower slides were direct accessible: queuing an hour for one ride of 5 meters high was enough for the kids (and for me).

Btw: Tate Modern sure is worth a visit, with or without sliding!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dutch Kayak Championships / opening DutchWaterDreams

Here is a short photo impression of the opening weekend of the wild water track of DutchWaterDreams in Zoetermeer. I enjoyed an afternoon hanging around at the site, meeting a lot of kayak-friends and NKB-officials and watching the championships. It was a perfect occasion to experiment with the new Fuji Digital Camera. The new Finepix S5600 replaces the old Finepix 2800 Zoom. It’s impressive how technology has developed in only 5 years, the new camera is much faster, offers great control and an astonishing picture quality (and it’s even more than 100 euro cheaper than the old one was, five years ago…. ).
The happening in Zoetermeer finished with a concert of Blöf in the evening. I like their songs, but didn’t stay till the end of the concert: I preferred to use a rain free period to cycle back to Woerden: 35 km’s: though I now this countryside rather well, navigation in the dark offers some little surprises once in a while, I did a little extra round in Waddinxveen (of all places…).

TV-tip: tomorrow morning life from Zoetermeer, broadcasted in more than 40 countries all over the world: the Open Dutch Canoe Slalom Championship on Eurosport, live from 9.00 til 11.30 am (note: GMT, 22 October 2007). I saw the international athletes training this afternoon: very, very impressive!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

London is the place to be!

"Penang in dry dock", picture by Westwood 1932, Collection British National Maritime Museum

This evening I booked the ferry and a hotel in London. I am going to spend some days with the kids in London in Dutch Autumn School Holiday. Now I am up to plan what we are going to do. Science Museum, Tates Gallery, Docklands, Harrods, Buckingham palace are some first ideas. Although the Thames is very attracting, this is not the occasion for kayaking...
But a visit of London isn’t complete with some maritime elements? HMS Belfast, and perhaps there are some kayaks in the National Maritime Museum??
Suggestions are welcome!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Examen Zeevaardigheid (= 4 Star Test)

Past weekend we organised the last “NKB-Zeevaardigheidsexamen” (= Sea Proficiency Test)of 2006 near Den Helder. Originally we planned the test to be on Saturday, but because of the wind (on Saturday 6-7 with gales up to 8 Bft) we decided to do it on Sunday. Sunday conditions were more moderate with winds around 5 Bft, decreasing in the afternoon. With a nice swell and a good surf we had perfect conditions for the test. Out of 10 candidates, 5 passed the test successful. One candidate didn’t start the practical part of the test because – standing on the dyke, looking at the waves - he found the sea state to challenging (I have great respect for this decision!), another candidate got seasick during the test, three candidates didn’t perform at the appropriate level. NKB-Zeevaardigheid requires that the static high brace is performed on both sides. Mostly this turns out to be “the proof of the pudding”. Not the favourite part of a coaching job is explaining people that they don’t meet the standards of a test. in my experience direct feedback is appreciated. Being straight and staying close to your observations doesn’t make the message less disappointing, but is essential for a good understanding.

The candidates that passed the test were rewarded with an official NKB-certificate and can stitch a “Zeevaardigheid” batch on their PDF. Somehow I associate this odd batch-cult with closed communities like Scouting, the Army or the Hells Angels. I have never been part of Scouting, the Army, nor the Hells Angels. I suppose most seakayakers don’t. Perhaps that’s why we are so eager to stitch decorations on our PDF’s: overcompensation?

While reaching out the batches - just in time - I noticed a curiosity: between the “Zeevaardigheid”-batches was a “Gevorderde Zeevaardigheid” (GZV)–batch. Unique: I didn’t know these batches (still) exist! As a matter of fact I don’t think anyone in the Netherlands ever has done the test for GZV. I found an description of the GZV-level in an old syllabus of the Commissie Zeekajakvaren of the late nineties. GZV was meant as a level above Zeevaardigheid-Extra (ZVE = 5 star BCU). The idea was to create an group of very experienced ZVE-paddlers that organises itself trainings and courses for GZV under challenging conditions. To become part of this elite group an introduction fee of 100 guilders was asked.
I am very curious if such a group of GZV-candidates ever has existed. The only thing I heard was that there were no assessors willing to assess a test under the heavy conditions a GZV-test should be performed. That is said to be the reason why GZV is abolished in the NKB system.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The best of both worlds?

With a passion for two sports: kayaking and cycling, I often doubt what to do in the rare free moments left for sporting: should I take the bike or the kayak? No more question with the Waterblade of Alexander Gäbler: a human powered hydrofoil boat-bike.

The picture above is taken from the German cycling-magazine Aktiv Radfahren. The Waterblade was presented on the ISPO (International Trade Show for Sports Equipment and Fashion) in Munich. According to the article in Aktiv Radfahren it makes a 100 meter sprint in 14 seconds, and reaches a maximum speed of 26,1 km/h. The latter is rather disappointing. I thought biking a hydrofoil would be much faster than kayaking a hydrofoil. However the Flyak (a hydrofoil kayak) is said to be paddled at 27,2 km/h!

I have my doubts about the seaworthiness of these constructions. And I will miss the rolling fun. So I will stick to my (separate and) conventional kayaks and bikes!

1. The website of Foilkayak (the producer of the Flyak) is currently out of the air. You can see a picture and a video of the Flyak on Derrick's blog.
2. I suppose the maximum speed of the Waterblade exceeds 26 km/h. A quick calculation learns that the average speed on the 1oo meter sprint is about 26 km/h. Top speed must be much higher! 40 km/h ??? Human powered on the water? Wow, that opens totally new pespectives for waterbike commuting: in one hour from Woerden to Amsterdam!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Freedom (die Freiheit)

Vor ein paar Tagen ging ich in den Zoo,
die Sonne schien, mir war ums Herz so froh.
Vor einem Käfig sah ich Leute stehn,
da ging ich hin, um mir das näher anzusehn.

"Nicht füttern" stand auf einem großen Schild
und "bitte auch nicht reizen, da sehr wild!"
Erwachsene und Kinder schauten dumm,
und nur ein Wärter schaute grimmig und sehr stumm.

Ich fragte ihn: "wie heißt denn dieses Tier?"
"Das ist die Freiheit!" sagte er zu mir,
"die gibt es jetzt so selten auf der Welt,
drum wird sie hier für wenig Geld zur Schau gestellt."

Ich schaute und ich sagte: "Lieber Herr!
Ich seh ja nichts, der Käfig ist doch leer!"
"Das ist ja grade", sagte er, "der Gag!
Man sperrt sie ein und augenblicklich ist sie weg!

Die Freiheit ist ein wundersames Tier
und manche Menschen haben Angst vor ihr.
Doch hinter Gitterstäben geht sie ein,
denn nur in Freiheit kann die Freiheit Freiheit sein.

Freedom is hard to define. While paddling, freedom often just comes as a feeling or a sensation. Some weeks ago, on my Birthday, I had a great sensation of feeling free at the sands of Terschelling. While the other paddlers were gone for a walk for some hours, I stayed with the kayaks on the beach reading a paper. It was in the late afternoon, I could look along the dunes for miles and there was no single soul to be seen anywhere. After a while I decided to go for a swim and I walked into the water. With the water up to my knees I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was standing there all alone, that I could do whatever I wanted without bothering about anyone. So why was I wearing swimming shorts? I usually don’t bother about nudity (even when people are around). I pulled out my shorts and jumped in the water with a delightful sensation of freedom….

A similar feeling of freedom arose this week paddling and camping with friends in Germany. Now the feeling of freedom was triggered by the relaxed way of finding beautiful camp-sites, for example on the beach of Amrum (see the picture above). While Germany is known in the Netherlands as a country of rules and law-abiding people (“Paragraphenkultur” und “Ordnung muss sein”), I was amazed by a relaxed way of handling where Dutch authorities can learn a lot from! It’s late. Is it too late? I got involved in the discussion with the authorities about the access for seakayakers to several regions in the Netherlands. I really must say these discussions are constructive, and I am confident we will find a good balance between respecting the ecological values of the vulnerable areas we are paddling in, and the recreational use we want to make of these same areas. However there still is a long way to go.
I feel we are so busy regulating our freedom of movement, that in the end little will be left of our feeling of freedom. I am afraid this dilemma is unavoidable in one of the most crowded countries of the world. Despite it: it makes me sad. Like Georg Danzer writes in his poetry: you can’t catch freedom!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Home again! Pictures from Nord Friesland

Bernhard in his fantastic Rockpool Alaw Bach (but the colour... ;-)

I just returned from four days paddling along the German Nordfriesische Inseln. It was a very long ride by car today: 7 hours! I never realised Nord Friesland is that far away: 1400 km's driving for 100 km's paddling. Usually I am not very fond of car-driving, but this was worth the trouble! I enjoyed every minute of this trip!

The invitation for this kayak-trip came from Bernhard Hillejan. He planned to do a multiple day trip along the outer sands of the Nordfriesian region, but due to the weather plans changed and we visited Amrum and the Halligen instead. That’s part of seakayaking: living day by day and weather (wind) dominates your route.

When I have some more time (and rest) I write a report and some reflections on this trip. Before that you can click here for a photo-impression. Thanks to Bernard, Mathias, Anke, Antje, Dirk, Guido, Jean-Luc, Silke for a great time!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Deutsche Seekajakwoche

Still alive, but to busy for blogging lately. Work takes all daytime and the evenings are filled with a lot of administrational kayak-stuff nowadays:
  1. organising the "Zeevaardigheid" (= BCU 4 Star) examination day for the NKB in October;
  2. busy with the taskforce that is doing a long-term review of the standards for "Zeevaardigheid";
  3. preparing the meeting of the NKB Seakayak-coaches in November together with Axel;
  4. lots of work and talking with the ongoing discussion with the authorities about seakayaking in the Voordelta (in two years the whole estuary becomes a so called Sea-reservate…

Tomorrow I am leaving for Germany to join the Seakayak-week of the Salzwasserunion for some days. Looking forward to paddle a 4 days-tour around the “Nordfriesische Inseln” together with Bernhard and an international group of kayakers. Must be fun!
You will hear from me next week!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Vlieland - Weblinks corrected

Michel noticed the links to the pictures of Vlieland in yesterdays' post didn't work correctly. Thanks for your comment Michel: I have repaired the weblinks. Pictures of Vlieland can be seen here.

In addition to our Vlieland adventures: Axel published at his blog a post about the circumnavigation of Terschelling he made with the 5 Star training Group in one day: a very remarkable performance! The 5 Star touring Group was proud of circumnavigating Vlieland in one day and made the tour around Terschelling in two days -> still a serious trip of about 50 nm, but Axels' group has set a new standard! Congratulations!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Veluwerally and qajaq-meeting

On the last Sunday of September traditionally the Veluwerally is held: one of the biggest paddling events in the Netherlands, paddling down the river IJssel for 35, 50 or 100 km’s. Though paddling over 100 km is rather a performance, the atmosphere is always very enjoyable. I enjoyed three times paddling the 100km, the last time meanwhile 5 or 6 years ago. After this pause the feeling it’s time to go rises again, but September is a very busy month and next weekend I am committed to the traditional Belgium sports-cycling weekend of the Provincial Water and Green Department. That’s also a nice and challenging activity!

One more good reason to go to the Veluwerally is the Qajaq-meeting on Friday and Saturday. Since a few years a Greenland-kayak scene is developing in the Netherlands. It’s the second time the Qajaq-meeting is organised. Freya will be giving demonstrations and classes, and Axel and Nico will also be present. Such a pity I can’t be there!

When you are interested in Greenland techniques and (with a lot of weblinks) are worth a visit!

Picture: Freya with Kaat at Spiekeroog, May 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

Vlieland: the pictures and Michels' figures

For the participants: all my pictures of the Vlieland kayaksymposium are uploaded to MijnAlbum. Sorry: despite the fantastic weather, I wasn't in a photographing mood this time, so it's only a limited number of pictures of some activities I was involved. Click this link to download the pictures in original size.

For the statistics, next to the nautical miles, the time tables and the weather forecasts, here are the figures of Michel – the “chef de cuisine”:

In seven days, 48 paddlers processed:
· 130 litres Soup;
· 45 kilos of organic meat and fish;
· 150 kilos of fresh vegetables;
· 50 kilos of fruit;
· 60 kilos other quality food!

And here is the picture the print for the 2006 T-shirt is based upon:

Kaat in surf on the Hinderplaat, November 2005

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Vlieland in retrospective

Paddling back to Harlingen in the Vliestroom

Home again. The NKB seakayaksymposium at Vlieland is over. Our group, 40 participants/sea kayakers, a staff of 8 seakayakcoaches and 1 chef de cuisine, enjoyed a great latter part of the summer in September. If it wasn’t Vlieland, I would call it an Indian Summer!
The weather is rather conditioning for the success of a seakayak-symposium. That is because of the mood of the participants (most people look happier when sun is shining), as well as because of the impact on the sea-state. With moderate easterly winds the conditions for touring were great. Without surf and with hardly any swell however, the conditions were not very challenging for the training-groups. While the week went on, we even feared we couldn’t do the tests for the NKB–certificates (comp. BCU-Star Awards), because the tests must be taken under “moderate” conditions and not at a calm sea. But just on time, on Friday-afternoon, suddenly the wind increased up to 5-6 Bft and the Zeevaardigheids(4 Star)- and the Zeevaardigheids-Extra (5 Star)- tests could be taken!

A brief extract of my log-book:

Saturday: Crossing Harlingen – Vlieland, 17 nm:
Divided the participants of the symposium in two groups. Lead the second group, 17 people.
Wind SE 3-4 Bft. High tide Harlingen 11.45 am.
Leaving Harlingen 11.45 am, arriving Campsite Stortemelk 15.30 pm.
Relaxed crossing, following wind and fast current (springtide).

Sunday: Circumnavigation Vlieland, 30 nm:
With the ZVE/5 Star-touring group: 2 participants.
Wind E 4-5 Bft, later decreasing 3-4. High tide Harlingen 12.30 p.m.
Leaving Stortemelk 10.00 am, along Wad-side, arriving Robbenjager 13.00 pm.
Leaving Robbenjager 15.30 pm, crossing Eierlandse Gat, half an hour break at North Sea beach at 18.15, arriving Stortemelk 19.45 pm.

Monday: Shopping in West-Terschelling, 13 nm:
With the ZVE/5 Star-touring group: 3 participants.
Wind NE-SE 3-4 Bft. , decr. 2-3. High tide Harlingen 13.16 p.m.
Traversing the passage between Vlieland en Terschelling vv.
Leaving Stortemelk 11.00 am, arriving West-Terschelling 12.15 pm
Leaving West-Terschelling 13.30, arriving Stortemelk 14.45 pm
Resting day, buying food for the planned multiple day tour around Terschelling

Tuesday-Wednesday: Circumnavigating Terschelling, 46 nm:
With the ZVE/5 Star-touring group: 3 participants.
Tuesday: Wind E 3-4 Bft, decr. 2-3 Bft. High tide Harlingen 13.56 p.m.
Leaving Stortemelk 8.00 am, 1,5 hours break at Terschelling paal 5, arriving Terschelling paal 30, 15.00 pm.
Wednesday: Wind E 2-3 Bft?? High tide Harlingen 14.25 p.m.
Leaving bivouac at Terschelling 11.45 pm, along Wad-side, arriving Stortemelk 17.45 pm, non-stop paddling. Because of the realtive early depart paddling against current from the dead water until half-way the Noorder Balgen.
Circumnavigating Terschelling is quit a long tour. It mostly takes two days, just like we did. But the circumstances were exceptionally good this year: Axel made the circumnavigation of Terschelling with the 5 Star-training group in one day!

Thursday: Examining the Kayak Safety Test (KRT)
Together with Hans vd W: theoretical and practical examining on the beach, 3 participants.

Friday: Examining the 4 Star Test (ZV)
Coordinating the test with Hans K. and Piet B., 11 participants, 3 examiners.

Saturday: Crossing Vlieland-Harlingen, 17 nm.
High tide Harlingen 17.00 p.m.
Leaving Stortemelk 11.00 am, arriving Harlingen 15.45 pm.
Returning with 3 coaches and 8 participants. Because of the wind-forecast (SE 5 Bft, later decr. 3-4 Bft.) a tough paddle was expected: 4 hours fighting against the wind, wind against current – steep waves. A little group of strong paddlers was selected to do the crossing. Of course that’s a disappointment for some other participants who looked forward to paddle back. But even most coaches preferred the ferry above the expected struggle, after a week of paddling. However: wind decreased much earlier than expected: we started with 5 Bft against, after just one hour suddenly wind was gone…

Friday, September 15, 2006

Vlieland: Kajak Reddingstest (KRT)

Part of the program at Vlieland is the Kayak Safety Test (KRT): how to get Sien safe on the beach. Next time: head up first?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Vlieland: Culinary Paddling

First picture of the Vlieland Seakayak Camp by Michel, chef de Cuisine

The Vlieland Seakayakcamp Menu , day 1-3:

1. Saturday: Asia

Asian vegetable soup
Sri Lanka Chicken Curry/Ananas Curry
Vegetable fried Rice
Cucumber salad with fresh coreander
Greek Yoghurt with honey

2. Sunday: France

Onion Soup
Lamstew with pickled onions provencial style
Fried potatoes with rosemary
Rocket Salad with dryed figs and pinolli
Chocolate mousse freshly made

3. Monday: encore la France!

Spinage soup
Confit of Duck
Portobellomushrooms filled with wild mushrooms, dryed tomatoes, feta cheese, spring onions and minth
Mashed Potatoes
Tomato basil salad
Mango Icecream with passion fruit and ginger snaps

Paddling at Vlieland is good!

Live report from Vlieland

Internet has reached the campinggrounds of Vlieland. It's a pitty I didn't know that before; now I miss the USB cable to connect the digital camera to the PC. No pictures yet: just a few words about the first two days.
At Saturday half of the group - the advanced paddlers - made the crossing from Harlingen to Vlieland/Campsite Stortemelk by kayak. The other half of the group made the crossing by ferry. With springtide and a moderate easterly breeze (3-4 Bft) it was relaxed paddling, 17 nm in about 3 1/2 hours.
It is a pleasure to meet all the familiar faces (from previous seakayak camps) at Vlieland and to see a group of new enthousiast paddlers. About 45 participants. This year I am leading the 5 star tour group. Due to circumstances it's a very small group: Michel, Sien and Gerard. Gerard was delayed, so the first day we were just three. Sunday we made the circumnavigation of Vlieland in one day. That's quite a distance, but with the condition and mind-set of Michel and Sien no problem. Wind 4-5 Bft NE. We paddled from Stortemelk along the Wad-side to the Robbenjager in Texel in just 3 hours. Never done it that fast! Today Gerard joines us. I am looking forward to it: Gerard is known in the scene as a very good, sporty and fast paddler! Never met him before.
Today is a resting day. We are going to buy food in Terschelling, so only crossing the Vliestroom today. Back at Vlieland this evening for diner. Michel's meals are exquisite! Leaving in half a houre, so I should finish writing now.
We want to circumnavigate Terschelling on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a bivouac on Terschelling. Great, but we miss Michel's cooking adventures for two days!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Leaving for Vlieland

Picture of Vliehors, Vlieland, de Richel and Terschelling by Dutch Aerophoto-Schiphol

Coastal waters - The weatherforecast for Netherlands coastal waters and adjacent lakes and estuaries -Issued: 8 september 2006 15:19 UTC -A warning to shipping: There are no warnings.- Synopsis: high over the southern part of the North Sea is slowly moving east.

It's looking good, perfect conditions fo a great week at the NKB-Vlieland-Seakayakweek! I am just packing the last things and want to go to sleep early. I have to get up very early: tomorrow morning at 6.00 AM Axel comes by to pick me up with kayak and all the gear.
So next week I am paddling, not blogging!

Spiekeroog Report - weblinks

Today the edition 2006/3 of Kanosport has appeared. Kanosport is the paper-magazine of the Dutch Canoe Union - NKB. Edition 2006/3 contains a report of Maarten, one of the participants at the Seakayak-course at Spiekeroog in May. The report contains a reference that leads to this Blog. Because there is no index to this Kajakwoerden-blog (I didn't manage to create one yet) it's difficult to find the specific posts on Spiekeroog. As a service for the readers of Kanosport looking at this blog: here are the specific links:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Big, bigger, biggest: Silva 100p

Most modern British seakayaks come standard with a recess for the Silva 70p Compass. In combination with the preferred position for the compass on deck, being not to close to the cockpit, but in front of the kayak somewhere around the front hatch, some people however have difficulties reading the small digits on the Silva 70p.
A good alternative is the slightly bigger Silva 85p. With 85 mm’s diameter it’s only 15 mm’s wider than the 70p, but the digits are remarkable better readable. While the 70p is originally made to fit in a bulkhead of a sailing boat and needs a recess, the 85p is flush mounted with a flat bottom plate. So it’s easy to mount a Silva 85p on a flat deck or on a hatch-cover.
When even the 85p is to small, the next step is the Silva 100p. Just like the 70p it needs a recess, so it takes more work to adapt it to a kayak. Jörgen Cobber sent some pictures of his solution with the Silva 100p: a construction with an adapter that fits in the standard recess of the 70 p and holds the 100p. The adapter is made by a mould, filled with epoxy resin and “microballoons”: very light and tough. It has a tight fit on the kayak with shock-cords.
Jörgen's construction is still in the test-stage: when Jörgen is confident paint- and polishwork follows. Jörgen is a perfectionist. You have done a good job Jörgen!

Pictures from Jörgen Cobber van der Pol: thanks Jörgen, see you next week in the 5 star group. I am looking forward for coaching at Vlieland!

Monday, September 04, 2006

KV Wyrda’s 15th Anniversary

Sunday were the festivities to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the local kayakclub KV Wyrda. Janine and the kids are together with me members of Wyrda, so we joined with the whole family. In the afternoon we had big fun with dragon boat paddling. On a giant trailer the EHDC had brought two Dragon boats to Woerden. After an hour of instruction and some training we were racing with two groups of 18 paddlers on the Singel. It’s a strange experience paddling synchronic in a big group. With dragon boat racing not the individual, but the group performance counts. And though most Wyrda-paddlers are of the recreational type, after the starting shot for all just one thing counts: winning!

A (Dutch) report and pictures will be posted on the website of KV Wyrda.