Sunday, November 30, 2008

The winter-blues

The best medicine to cure the winter-depression in the dark days before Sinterklaas - is to go outdoors to collect the last glimpse of daylight. I know I need this, and yet I find it sometimes hard to get out of my comfort-zone (the central-heated home) and to enjoy the wet and cold outside. This morning a “kick under my ass” from my dear partner was needed to make me do the first step.

A few minutes later I was part of another world: in the Nieuwkoopse Plassen – a nature reserve in the middle of the Randstad. It was calm and quiet – no-one outside, even the fisher-men decided to stay home today: I was alone with the birds (and the fish, hidden deep in the cold water below me).

Later it started to snow. Now Pdf, drysuit and paddle mitts were the new comfort zone.

With a sunny mind – the winter blues forgotten - I returned in the small town of Noorden at the finish point of a relaxed Sunday-morning paddle-trip.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The OC6 of the Bloemendaal Outrigger Canoe Club in action

Last week I reported about Rolph's presentation in Alphen about outrigger canoeing in the Netherlands. As an illustration I took an old poster of last year's Quicksilver Outrigger-race in Hoek van Holland. Yesterday I received this fantastic picture of the OC6 of the Bloemendaal Outrigger Canoe Club in full swing as a replacement for that old poster. And even better: the picture came with an invitation for a paddle with these guys. Thanks, I am looking forward for this experience!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pool-weekend: Tallip paarlatsillugit paateqarliuni massikut

Tallip paarlatsillugit paateqarliuni massikut - Greenland style, forward ending kayak-roll with the arms crossed on the paddle - 5 points/side in the Greenland rolling championships.

Kayaking as an outdoor sports-activity - not this weekend! I spent my time with kayaks in swimming pools: Saturday-evening with Jelle and Angela in Alphen with the Kayakclub de Kromme Aar, today I did two classes for Kayakclub Woerden - resp. adults and kids. The outdoors weren't very inviting with stormy winter weather.

While Jelle and Angela were fooling around with the underwater-camera, I had a good moment to work on the greenland-style rolls. Finally I got the clue of the crossed-arm-roll - the last forward finishing roll on the wish list ;-). Once you get the set up right, this roll isn't as complicated as the name (and the ratings) suggests. So now the next step are the forward finishing hand-rolls, the Norsaq rolls and fancy rolls like handrolling while holding a brick and other heavy stuff. Still a lot to learn this winter!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Yesterday-evening Paul and Paul (from and Rolph (the driving force behind gave a presentation about new developments in the Canoe and Kayak-world at the Alphense Kanovereniging de Kromme Aar.

Rolph showed us what outrigger canoe racing is about. Of course it's a bit weird to talk about outrigger canoeing as a "new development" (the history of these crafts goes back for centuries in the Polynesian cultures), but as a sport it's relatively new over here. Last year the Bloemendaalse Outrigger Club imported the first OC6 to the Netherlands. Meanwhile a lot of Dutch people are introduced to the sport, the number of members the Bloemendaalse Outrigger Club is steadily growing and the first races have taken place. Look at the video's on and you'll understand the fascination.

Paul and Paul focused on new trends in kayak and canoe design. In seakayak design 2 major developments were distinguished. The first is the growing popularity of a fitness-orientated design, where speed comes first: seakayaks with a long waterline and a sleek efficient shape, combined with a cockpit-design that facilitates a K1-paddling style (legs centered, freedom of body movement). The most extreme example is the surfski. Examples of seakayaks with a closed cockpit in this category are the Epic 18X (picture), the Valley Rapier and the NDK Greenlander Pro Race .
The other seakayaking-development is just in the opposite direction. There is also a growing interest in playful, manoeuvrable seakayaks to paddle in rough water and surf: kayaks with a shorter waterline, a good amount of rocker and a cockpit design where the paddler is tightly connected to the boat for optimal control. Representatives of this category are for instance the Tiderace Xcite (picture), Rockpool Alaw, NDK Romany, Valley Avocet - and I would also classify my trusty Anas Acuta in this category.

Note: the pictures are not on scale - the blue Tiderace kayak is half a meter shorter than the yellow Epic kayak.

An upcoming trend in the Netherlands (in a wide range of variations) is finally the increasing number of sit-on-top-kayaks. The Pauls have high expectations of the sit-on-top-fishing kayaks. There are 1.6 million fisher(men) in the Netherlands - only a small percentage of fishers changing from a rowing- (or motor-)boat to a sit-on-top would mean a giant boost to kayak-sales! Personally I am more attracted by the idea of the waveski:

Or the closed variant of the waveski:
Yet Waveskis are no real success in the Netherlands - which is partly due to character of the surf. The swell on the North Sea is quit short, resulting in relatively small and steep waves - the surfrides are not long enough to really benefit from the advantages of a waveski - short rodeo-kayaks are preferred for playing in the surf on the beaches of the North Sea.

The presentation of Paul and Paul was a try-out for a new initiative of . will offer this presentation on demand for interested Kayak-clubs. I can highly recommend it. Of course has the Kanoshop commercial interest in this initiative (to promote kayak-sales!), but Paul and Paul are above all devoted kayak-enthusiasts and experts that offer a presentation that's far beyond a simple promotion talk. Thanks for a great evening!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lost your bike?

This is today's "harvest" after 2 hours dredging the "Jaap Beijzer Wetering" - a small canal in Woerden. And that's why some prudence is good when it comes up to jumping in the water or rolling a kayak over here. The bottom of the waterways in this area is muddy, but rusty bikes hurt as good as rocks do!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NKB - Workshop Instructievaardigheden

There is a NKB meeting or education-activity on every weekend in October and November. Today I paid a short visit to the workshop on "teaching-skills" in Bergschenhoek. The workshop is part of a 3-day-course. I do welcome this initiative of Arie Kreuk - slowly the NKB is developing a programme of clinics, workshops and expert-meetings for kayak-coaches/trainers and for people who want to become a coach. It's an essential part of the new competence-driven system of developing new coaches.
Impossible to take part in every NKB activity ;-), yet I did want to get a personal impression and to feel the atmosphere - so I agreed with Arie to have a look and to chat a bit with coaches and participants. I dropped in at an unique happening: 30 paddlers were working on the water in 4 or 5 groups, the atmosphere was fantastic, full of energy, people were highly enthusiast - it was contagious, and very promising for the future!
The workshops take place at the location of Outdoor-Valley in Bergschenhoek, kindly supported by the
Visiting the Clinic was "no paddling for me" but a welcome excuse for a Sunday-afternoon tour on the racebike: 80 km from Woerden to Bergschenhoek, biking 6 meters below sea-level in the Zuidplaspolder.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Black beauty - Tahe Marine Greenland kayak

Update 12/01/2009: Mats from Tahemarine-sweden commented that the Tahé Greenland now also is available in a LC (Large Cockpit)-version. The large cockpit measures 57x40 cm - 7 centimetres longer than the standard cockpit size. This is still far from a large keyhole cockpit, and you still won't be able to get your legs out first - but it sure makes the Greenland accessible for a wider range of (larger) kayakers. Click here or have a look at the Tahemarine-Sweden website for more high-res pictures of the cockpit design.

This morning I went to Wormer to pick up a kayak at René's place. I can't pass by Wormer without at least a quick visit at the Kajakcentrum - the largest kayak retailer in the Netherlands (and probably one of the biggest of Western-Europe). The 2009 collections are arriving in the shop - amongst the new kayaks are some interesting new (for the Dutch market) brands like TideRace, Tahe Marine and (coming soon) Think surf skis.

There was one special kayak that struck my eye: the Tahe Marine Greenland. A hard chined greenland-style kayak. A sharp V-bottom, low volume, small ocean cockpit, very sleek long lines: fantastic, such a beauty!
Readers of this weblog must have noticed that I love my white Anas Acuta - also a kayak inspired by - and a close descendant of - the traditional inuit qayaqs of West Greenland. The Anas Acuta is compared to most modern seakayaks a quit low volume kayak, and the design of the Tahe Marine Greenland is even more sleeker. It must be a dream to roll. With more length on the waterline than the AA it will probably a bit faster. And it's also available in a white gelcoat colour... (alas: I can't get home with more than one new kayak a day ;-).

About the origins of the Anas Acuta: René's blog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hand Roll - Anas Acuta

Thx Govert for taking photos last Saturday!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Forward Stroke - Update training for NKB Sea Kayak Coaches

Today 25 NKB seakayak-coaches and aspirant coaches gathered in Uithoorn for the yearly update training. Nicole Bulk (successful Dutch kayak racer: multiple medallist in K1-K4 flat water racing, former coach of the Dutch Women selection, etc.) was invited for a clinic on the forward stroke. I am really convinced that seakayaking can benefit an awful lot from the (top)sport-section - it's an advantage of a small sportsunion like our Dutch kayak-association that it's just a little step from our recreational seakayaking-section to the topsporters.
Nicole was great! She gave a very inspiring interactive workshop. The coaches got personal feedback on their own skills, and valuable tips on analysing and improving the techniques of others. The clinic started with analysing dry sessions on the kayak-ergometer - which is a good fitness-trainer and also the perfect instrument to analyse and demonstrate the forward stroke technique.
Second part was out on the water: 25 paddlers highly concentrated on working with the legs, multiplying hip-rotation to shoulder-rotation, thinking of the box, on the catch, the exit and so on. Intensive discussing and analysing what they are feeling and seeing, Nicole had a match with this group!
The rolling clinic with the coaches two years ago, had quit some impact on teaching rolling in the Dutch seakayak-scene. I am sure this day will have a similar effect on the forward stroke!

Thanks to KV Michiel de Ruiter for the hospitality!

PS: Regular visitors of "Kajaksport op groot water" don't have to guess about the inspiration for this clinic ;-)

Monday, November 03, 2008

More than 100 new buoys: Closed zones in the Voordelta marked out

A message from the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management - October, 30th. Rijkswaterstaat has started to mark out the new closed areas/nature rest zones in the Voordelta. An area of 6000 hectares is going to be marked with more than 100 buoys. More info on the new regulations in the Voordelta with weblinks in this post - click here. The Slikken van Voorne and the Hinderplaat are marked out last Wednesday and Thursday, the other closed zones follow in the next few weeks. Here is the original Dutch text of the press release.

Afbakening rustgebieden Voordelta van start .

Rijkswaterstaat is begonnen met het afbakenen op zee van de rustgebieden in de Voordelta. Deze gebieden zijn aangewezen voor natuurbescherming en als compensatie voor de Tweede Maasvlakte. In totaal gaat het om ruim 6000 hectare, verdeeld over vijf locaties voor de Zuid-Hollandse en Zeeuwse eilanden.

De vijf rustgebieden (Hinderplaat, Bollen van de Ooster(= Aardappelenbult - hh), Bollen van het Nieuwe Zand, Slikken van Voorne en Verklikkerplaat) zijn ingesteld voor de bescherming van vogels en zeehonden. In deze gebieden gelden beperkingen voor visserij en recreatie. Deze vloeien voort uit het Beheerplan Voordelta.

De Voordelta is door het ministerie van Landbouw, Natuur en Voedselkwaliteit aangewezen als Natura 2000 gebied en maakt deel uit van een Europees netwerk van belangrijke natuurgebieden. De Voordelta omvat een rijke verzameling aan geulen, ondieptes en zandbanken. De Voordelta heeft een divers bodemleven en is de habitat van vissen, vogels en zeezoogdieren.

Voor de begrenzing op zee worden circa 100 gele, kunststof tonnen gebruikt. Het uitleggen van de tonnen zal, mits de weersomstandigheden gunstig zijn, ongeveer twee weken in beslag nemen. Rijkswaterstaat zet hiervoor het betonningsvaartuig ms. Waddenzee in. De gehele operatie is omvangrijk en complex, omdat de tonnen veelal in de brandingszone en op ondiepe plekken komen te liggen.