Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Waltzing Vlieland

Our annual September NKB sea kayak instruction week had to cope with strong winds for the last four years. That puts a bit of a strain on both coaches and participants. Despite Vlieland being an island there is only so much one can do in 6-7 Beaufort winds.

Even for the Dutch equivalent of BCU 4/5* it was difficult to get the assessment done in an acceptable remit. Many of these leadership assessments get canceled because of too mild conditions. One day was spent on shore, 8-9 Beaufort, no way! The BCU coaching handbook mantra "challenging conditions, low consequences" almost continuesly ran through my mind. What about an indoor towing session?

One of my favorite play spots is 'de Wals', nothing short of a proper tide-race, the only 'predictable' one in the Netherlands.

On the last day of the week, the weather was finally suitable to get off the island to visit the neighboring island of Terschelling. On the way back, aspirant leader Peter led us close to and ferry-gliding the ebb in the area of 'de Wals'. This late in the ebb, just a very little wobbly patch of water, nothing to play with. Peter, as a good leader, warns us for the approaching ferry and ends with: "Look out for the ferry wake!". I yell "Look FOR the ferry wake!" and off I go.
Local knowledge tells me that the ferry waves kick-up 'de Wals' for about twenty minutes of play time. Do I feel bad about 'deserting' my group? Not quite. Soon we all are surfing the race. What a beautiful day to end the week!

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