Saturday, January 28, 2006

Dutch Water Dreams - White Water Kayaking Track

Picture of Maarten Holdrinet, thanks to

Today I have spent my day on the "Watersportcongres". This was a conference organized by the Dutch Kayak Union (NKB) in association with the Alliance of Nautical Sport Unions (Watersportverbond). Normally it's not my favorite business spending my weekend with meetings and workshops (as I do that far to much in my daily job), but this time it was worth it!
There were dozens of workshops and presentations on al kinds of topics related to nautical sports: from managerial questions to coaching techniques. It was difficult to decide which one to do: always some interesting ones take place the same time! I have taken part in the next discussions and presentations:
- the changes in the coaching and education program of the NKB
- inspiring young people to kayaking and canoeing
- recent developments in ww-kayaking outfitting and techniques
- the new white water track in Zoetermeer: Dutch Water Dreams
The presentation of Dutch Water Dreams was a real eye-opener. I had heard before about the plans, but I didn't realize that it is so much more than just plans: it's reality!

In Zoetermeer, only 30 km from my living place, an artificial White Water Track is being built. The first one in the Netherlands, and not just a simple one: it is an exact copy of the Olympic wild water course of Beijing 2008. International Olympic Slalom Kayakers from all over the world will come training here. An Olympic Kayak Training Centre next door! It's beyond my imagination! It starts in a few months, and it will be open all year. I don't know if I will be able to use it very often. I am not a Slalom- or WW-kayaking-pro but just a simple seakayaker, who likes to play in surf once in a while. But that doesn't matter.

The thing is, that such a giant facility for Extreme Water Sports will surely give a big boost to the image of kayaking. And that is exactly what we need: a better image. Outsiders think kayaking is dull, an activity for old men with beards, not a sport... I do hope the Dutch Water Dreams will succeed in attracting a lot of young enthusiastic people to our sport!

Voor een Nederlands verslag van het Watersportcongres 2006, klik hier

No comments: