Sunday, 16 September 2012

The European Surfweek

Hello everybody

After a really nice week of camping in a van driving around in the Netherlands I’m home again waiting for the next days with wind to come although the forecast doesn’t look the best. In my last blog I promised an update about my day at the European surf week for disabled people so let’s start with that!

Just like last year I went again one day to the European Surf week for disabled people organised by Recreas. With about 30 “disabled” people coming from around the whole of Europe, this year again was a big success. The plan was to give a tow in demonstration as it wasn’t windy enough to get planning to give the people and idea of what is possible in windsurfing. Last year we couldn’t get this arranged but this year we had time enough to find a jet ski and the permission to do it. Before we started the tow-in I went on the water to have a look how everybody was sailing. And every time I’m surprised how good they are sailing after just one week. You have to imagine you are blind or only have blurry view from about 2 meters and you are sailing by yourself. I tried to sail with my eyes closed for a bit but it was way harder than I thought, next time you go sailing try to do it yourself and you’ll feel how hard it is. And most of them aren’t just sailing up and down but are also trying sail 360 or body sail 360 and are able to do them by the end of the week, just amazing!

blind, a broken foot and still surfing!

But of course there aren’t only people who can’t see or are partly blind there are also a lot of people in wheelchairs who learn windsurfing, the people from Recreas figured out a whole system to get a chair on the board and get them more stable so the board cant switch upside down. Beside that they also cut of the down part of the sails to get the boom lower and make it possible for the people to get easily to the other side when they are sailing. These people pretty much can only go downwind and are not able to get upwind again by themself but if you see all those smiles on their faces I don’t think they bother to much about that and just have fun a whole week long! After sailing the whole morning together with them it was time to give them the promised tow-in demonstration.

After getting everybody at the right side of the lake I tried to get as close as possible to the side so the people who couldn’t see too good still could get an idea from what I was doing. I tried to keep it going as long as possible but after 45 min of doing one run after the other I couldn’t hold the bar anymore as my arm was just too tiered. I could show the Burners, double funnels, etc. It was nice to try a few more times the tow-in myself as I normally only do it during  competition when there is a tow-in competition. Besides that I was really happy I could show the people a bit more from freestyle than last year, after every single move I did everybody was cheering which gave a great feeling. All by all it was a great day just like last year and for sure I’ll be back next year to give again a tow-in show and give more attention to this great initiative!

But for next year I would like to see even more people, so if you know someone with a handicap who wants to try windsurfing but couldn’t do it so far tell them about this project in Belgium, it is always in the last full week of August and is a week never to forget. Everybody can learn how to windsurf and with initiatives like this we can share our passion with even more people!

Cheers Dieter

Saturday, 8 September 2012

August update, sailing at home

Hello everybody

It’s been a bit more than a month since I updated a blog way to long but it’s been pretty busy.. Not the first 2 weeks though but with not much action on the water and most of all no pictures there wasn’t too much to write about. And then, when I did get good pictures and did get some good action, I found myself into the middle of my exams which didn’t give me spare time to write a blog, but now they’re done and here it is!

Straight after Fuerte I scored 2 really nice days at Brouwersdam one on my Freek 4.8 and one on my Freek 4.4 . With my 5th place in Fuerte I was fully motivated to push my level to the next level wanting to make all my moves go higher and more powerful. In the evening of the first day I think I sailed my best of the 2 session being fully powered up on my Freek 4.4 just made me fly! I was doing my biggest konos ever and was completing the runs with some Airbobs which I want to get more consistent. The best memory I have of that session is when I went for my biggest culo ever, I had a really nice steep chop which I could hit perfectly and really try to stall the rotation by first going up and then really throw myself over the sail, I almost landed it but just overrated a bit too far to still land it, but what did that single move gave a good feeling!!

After that it was a while waiting for wind if you looked to the forecast, although there was this small little chance of wind in the evening before rain. So after waiting already the whole day giving up any chance for wind as the water was a mirror with no wind to sea at all, me, Nick van Ingen and Yentel Caers where going for some food when we suddenly could see the trees starting to move, I think we never ate so fast and made our way back to the beach as fast as possible, in just 15min it went from 0knts to 25 knts being fully powered up on my 4.4 just out of nowhere, every session feels good but the once you don’t expect always feel that little bit better!! Especially if the forecasted rain doesn’t show up either!

After that the wind really died of for a while, all the way till the start of the Mission XL 2 weeks ago, after almost 10 days of no wind the biggest event of the year in the Benelux got 2 days of great full power windy conditions, in the 9 years it already exists I think this was the windiest edition of them all, which was great for the Freestyle Demo which the riders of the different brands gave every day. It was great to be part of this event as you can see so many young children share the passion of windsurfing all together with a great concept.  An easy downwind slalom, as many races as possible, Freestyle Demo during the break at midday and a nice BBQ for all the competitors. And of course followed by a tombola to start of a great party! 2 days of this with wind of around 20-25 knts every day made it another great weekend. Thanks to the organizers and all the sponsors who made the event possible! See you next year. Below is a sneak preview of the upcoming movie from the event!

After that I went a day to the European surfweek for disabled people like I did last year but more about that in my next blog as soon as I have some more pictures from that day!

more about this in my next blog!

Now I’m done with my exams and I will be searching for wind in Europe, for now the latest plan is just Netherlands but will see what the forcast does and where it brings me!

Cheers Dieter