Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rolling classes, pictures uploaded

Gerard at the Workshop for the Seakayak-coaches

Gerard, Sien and Govert did a great job at the rolling-clinics this weekend. The basic ingredients for success are: capable coaches and good gear. We had both. Freya coached the teachers and had taken along 3 rolling kayaks. The Japanese Qaanaaq SS proved to be the most versatile, also most bigger guys fit in it. Don't underestimate the importance of a easy rolling kayak, it's the key to success in teaching (and learning) rolling! The skin-on-frame qajaqs also did a perfect job, but for intensive use with different persons a fibreglass kayak is more practical. Every kayak-club should have a Greenland-rolling qajaq! Within shortly a affordable one will be available in Europe: contact Freya and order a Rockpool Underground, right now ;-)

For the attendants: I uploaded a selection of pictures taken by Axel, Govert and myself on:

A selection of the pictures for the press, taken by Bart Eefting:

Sien at the clinic on Sunday
Govert showing the move? Sunday
Freya starting a demo
The Inuit man
Self exposure? One of the rare pictures of the author of this blog.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Intermezzo: Atanarjuat, the Film

All pictures in this post and text are from the original film-website: www.atanarjuat.com

Missed on TV: while the kayakers were into greenlandstyle-rolling, on Dutch television (NL2, 28-1-2007, 00:15-02.50 uur) the film Atarnajuat was broadcasted. This is no sure Qajaq-film but a very fascinating tribute to Inuit culture. It's also available on DVD, or perhaps you can see it afterwards on "uitzendinggemist.nl"?
The qayaq
In the film, Atanarjuat paddles to shore in this qajaq (one-man canoe), toward his summer camp and his wife Atuat, who is now expecting their son.
The qajaq was re-constructed by John MacDonald of the Igloolik Research Institute based on detailed structural drawings of a qajaq in the Inuit collection at the British Museum. The drawing, by Michael Morgan, was paid for by Morton and Estelle Sosland.
The qajaq in the museum is almost 200 years old and actually comes from the region of Igloolik, taken to England by the Parry Expedition of 1822-23. The original structure consists of a whalebone frame and a skin-covering attached with braided sinew.

The legend behind the film Legend on the land
Igloolik, "place of houses," in the eastern arctic wilderness at the dawn of the first millenium.
Evil in the form of a mysterious, unknown shaman enters a small community of nomadic Inuit and upsets its balance and spirit of cooperation. The stranger leaves behind a lingering curse of bitterness and discord: after the camp leader Kumaglak is murdered, the new leader Sauri drives his old rival Tulimaq down through mistreatment and ridicule.
Years pass.
Power begins to change when the resentful Tulimaq has two sons - Amaqjuaq, the Strong One, and Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner. As the camp's best hunters they provoke jealousy and rage in their rival, Oki, the leader's ill-tempered son.
When Atanarjuat wins away Oki's promised wife-to-be, the beautiful Atuat, in a head punching competition, Oki vows to get even.
Egged on by his intimidating father, Oki and his friends plot to murder both brothers while they sleep. Amaqjuaq is speared through their tent and killed, but Atanarjuat miraculously escapes, running naked for his life across the spring sea ice.
Eluding his pursuers with supernatural help, Atanarjuat is hidden and nursed back to health by an old couple who themselves fled the evil camp years before.
After an inner struggle to reclaim his spiritual path, and with the guidance of his elder advisor, Atanarjuat learns to face both natural and supernatural enemies, and heads home to rescue his family. Will he continue the bloody cycle of revenge, or restore harmony to the community?
Atanarjuat - The Fast Runner is based on an ancient Inuit legend which takes place in the area around Igloolik.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Very satisfied....

Evening workshop with NKB-seakayak Coaches

… but exhausted, too. The rolling weekend was successful: 16 hours in 2 swimming pools, 50 Dutch kayakers busy with Greenland-style rolling inspired by Freya Hoffmeister. Individual Euro-style rollers experiencing a different slow-motion approach, coaches getting acquainted with other ways of teaching, qayaqunderground discovering new concepts, and all having a lot of fun: it was great to see all those people leaving the sessions with a big smile on their face.

Here are the first impressions. More extensive reports and pictures follow soon

Sien assisting Freya on the Clinics at Saturday

Thanks to the crew, that made this to a success:
Freya and her assistants Gerard, Nico, Govert and Sien.
Ton and Dick with the qajaqs, tuiliks and paddles of Qajaq.nl
Axel for all!
The Alphense Kanovereniging de Kromme Aar for the hospitality

The Saturday-crew having dinner in Freya’s camper. Chinese food before a rolling class…

Tip of the day:
.. don’t forget to drink when you spent your days in a indoor swimming pool! Though you are standing in the water, dehydration goes on. So you should drink a lot of water. I forgot this (at least did not enough), resulting in a bloody headache afterwards. Grrr…. I shouldn't only know, but also do better ;-(

Thursday, January 25, 2007

(Virtual) Greenland Rolling Classes...

Picture of Freya's handstand used with kind permission of www.qajaqunderground.com

The upcoming weekend about 50 Dutch seakayakers are privileged to experience a real Greenland Rolling Class with Freya Hoffmeister. We also announced Greg Stamer, but Greg didn't make it to Europe in time.
For those who can't attend, and as a starter for the participants, here is a link to the new rolling video's of Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson; great High quality video's with fascinating underwater footage. And when you are surfing around: do visit the rest of their site Kayakways.net! Virtual rolling is fun too, but there is nothing better then the real thing!

Next week a full report of our pool sessions. It's getting about time I learn how to post a video to this blog ;-)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Winter at last...

...but only for a few days. Two days of frost, Friday snow and in the weekend back to mild temperatures again. This morning, in a sunny winter-scenery, I enjoyed a short paddle-trip around Woerden. Because of the mild temperatures, the water is relatively warm and there is only a thin layer of ice on some small secondary channels.

People in Woerden are surprised to see a sole kayaker winter-paddling. They don't understand why one is doing such a strange thing: Kayaking is supposed to be done in summer, in swimming-shorts and a T-shirt... This morning I was asked three times if it isn't very cold to be paddling now... It isn't!

After the storm...

The second storm of 2007 (Thursday 18-1-2007) caused real trouble in Western-Europe. A lot of casualties and damage. Ton, one of the runners of Janine's trainingsgroup (and a enthusiast sailor) sent us these pictures of the damage at the Marina of Dinteloord. 26 Yachts blown down from the standards. The sailing-season starts with a serious fibreglass-repair job for Ton's yacht... A lot of work in the boat-repair business after the storm.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Surfboat Rowing

"Surfboat". A boat intended for use in heavy surf. It is built with a pronounced sheer, and with a view to resist the shock of waves and of contact with the beach. A vessel that carries the 5 intrepid adventurers' from the shoreline to the surf and back.

Text and pictures from www.surfboatholland.com

I used to believe having fun in a small in a human powered vessel was a privilege for kayakers and surferboarders, but I was wrong. Some days ago I was really flabbergasted by this rowing Video on Youtube. I posted a link to this video in a earlier blog-item. Arnold wrote a comment and pointed out that Surfboat rowing is also done in the Netherlands.

A group of rowers from the INHOLLAND University Rowing team founded Surfboat Holland in the summer of 2003. A man’s and a woman’s team are enthusiastically training and competing in International Surfboat Rowing Competitions since. You can read more about the sport in general and the scene in the Netherlands at www.surfboatholland.com. It looks like fun to me!

NKB Zeevaren Calender 2007 Online

January is, for most of us, the month to apply for leave at work. Just in time the complete program of NKB Zeevaren is online. Sido already updated in December the overall-calendar and now also the description of the courses and symposia is updated. Thanks to all the NKB-coaches for delivering the information. 2007 offers a very attractive program for seakayakers of all levels of skill. Again there will also be some activities abroad: Axel organizes the trip to Anglesey, Govert and I organize the course at Spiekeroog in cooperation with the Salwasserunion. This year new is the intention to offer a training at 5 Star level (ZVE) at Spiekeroog. New, especially for the German-seakayakers and in cooperation with the Salzwasserunion, there will be a combined Dutch-German Zeevaardigheid/Seebefähigung-course at Vlieland in September.

With all my paddling activities I had to apply for two weeks extra leave from work this year… And now these weeks are granted I have even time for a private seakayakweek in June. I really enjoy coaching and leading the trips and courses, but once in a while I like to paddle simply “for myself” with some good friends. Glad to be able to make a week time for this with a good friend (and paddler) in Anglesey. It will be my second visit to Wales. I am looking forward to that!
Other plans like Sweden and paddling down the Rhine will have to wait one more year… Keep on dreaming…

Sunday, January 14, 2007


During the last weeks my paddling was limited to some short paddles with the Wyrda-club-members in the evening in the dark. I felt an urgent need for a longer a paddle, so I made an appointment with Guus for an early sundaymorning-paddle. We started this morning at 7.30 am in the dark and when then sun came up -> we were so lucky, for the first time since ages: bright sun and a blue sky!!! With the moderate temperatures of this winter it was a more like spring. Nature is totally disordered: in one of the canals a Great Crested Grebe (Fuut) with 3 cute striped youngs was swimming and diving along: in January! It was a nice paddle, 33km on placid water with two portages in 5 hours. Route: from Woerden along the Oude Rijn, Dubbele Wiericke, Hollandse IJssel, Oudewater, Lange Linschoten back to Woerden.

Besides this outdoor paddle trip, I had this weekend pool sessions: Saturday-evening with the kayakclub the Kromme Aar, Sunday-afternoon with kayakclub Wyrda. Janine was busy, so I Lieke and Jelle joined me both times. So besides rolling, rolling, rolling we were sinking boats, playing kayakturtle and had a lot of fun.

Kayakturtle by Jelle and Lieke

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Just a bit inconvenient....

Stranded grey seal pup on the beach of Vlieland - picture Zeehondencréche Lenie 't Hart www.zeehondencreche.nl

It was "a perfect storm" today: timing, location and power came exactly like the weather-service predicted. According to the TV-news: only some ‘minor’ inconveniences, no casualties and limited damage: a floating crane-ship stranded on the Afsluitdijk, some roofs were blown away, trees were disrooted, that’s all. I suppose most of us listened well to the advice of the KNRM and didn’t go out on the water. Though surf was quit alluring… (Btw: having fun in the surf is not a privilege for kayakers, a rowing boat will do also. Have a look at this terrific Video clip. Oars can hurt…).

There were no reports about stranded puppy seals in the news today. Surprising; there sure have been dramatic scenes going on at the sands with poor little puppies blown in the sea. Last week (with far less powerful storms) a great number of stranded puppy grey seals was found at the beaches of Vlieland and Terschelling. Puppy grey seals wear a thick white fur coat during the first weeks of their live that disables them to swim properly. With their mothers lost, they will starve to death. The Seal Rehabilitation Centre at Pieterburen received a record number (80+) of puppies this week.
The reaction of wise people working at the administration-desks (is there a English word for “beleidsambtenaar”? ) on this drama is the idea of creating “zeehondenvluchtheuvels” (safe heavens - permanent dry – for the seals) by heightening the sands (de Richel and Noorderhaaks – well known places for Dutch sea-kayakers).
It’s getting a bit thick. I have mixed feelings about this suggestion. Of course I don’t like those cute little puppies to be suffering, but they are wild animals living outdoors, in the "Waddenzee", one of the last left places in Western Europe where the coming and going of sands (new land) is a dynamic process arranged by nature, not by man. Shouldn’t we leave that intact? On the other hand: it’s not correct what I say -> everything is man-made in the Netherlands, the whole Dutch coast-line is artificially kept in place by adding each year millions of tons of sand to the system. So why not donating a few tons of sand for thesake of these fascinating animals?

Next idea: “Zeekajakvluchtheuvels”?

Tomorrow: a stormy day...

short term forecast KNMI: www.knmi.nl

A warning to shipping:
Flushing Zierikzee Hook of Holland IJmuiden Texel Rottum Delfzijl Harlingen IJsselmeer Marken, west backing southwest 9

Storm season used to be november? This is no winter! It's going to be a rough day tomorrow. No kayaking but work for me on Thursday. When the train-traffic from Woerden to Den Hague isn't going to be cancelled because of the storm...

Monday, January 08, 2007

I love my Pintail!

Before I post more on cycling than on kayaking at this blog, it’s getting time for a seakayak item again. Guus took the picture of me loading the Pintail in Norddeich (at the start of the Wintertour with Bernhard some weeks ago). A bit of flexibility and a lack of claustrophobia are welcome with a classic ocean-cockpit.
The ocean-cockpit may not be that practical, but it looks so great. Isn’t this kayak a beauty with the long deck and the sleek lines?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Biketown Woerden

This weekend the Dutch National Cyclo-cross Championships took place in Woerden. The MTB-track next to our home was transformed into a race-track according to the standards of the UCI. For two days we lived in the middle of a “Parc fermée” and became part of a national Bike-happening. I visited several races. The course was extremely hard for the athletes, the rain turned 90 % of the track into a thick layer of heavy mud.

It was a good occasion to experiment with the new Fuji camera in taking action pictures in low light. I think I discovered half of the options of this camera…
Woerden (30.000 inhabitants) has high ambitions in getting known as a sportive Biketown. In March the first edition of the Ronde van het Groene Hart finishes in Woerden. The "Ronde van het Groene Hart" is UCI qualified level 1.1, so international professional road-cycling teams like Rabobank, CSC, Quick Step-Innergetic, Davitamon-Lotto and T-Mobile will take part. I welcome this promotion for Woerden.
Next step: add the kayakdiscipline to Woerdens’ sporty image ?!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

No kayaking?

We had a great holiday time with 3 families, 8 adults and 11 kids in a cottage in the Ardennes, Belgium. Along the Ourthe, in Sy they don’t like kayakers. But I was prepared:

Ok: there is something missing in Paul’s outfit. Don't do this at home: no mountain-biking without a helmet!

I like to mess around, and always get dirty playing outdoors!