Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Help for Heroes

A little over a month ago I was contacted by Sam Stuthridge, who lives in Germany. Sam and Colin Appleby were planning a charity challenge to sea kayak, unsupported, from Nijmegen (Holland) along the Waal River to Rotterdam, along the coast of Holland, Belgium and France before crossing the Channel at Calais/Dover and finally making their way up the Thames estuary to finish at the Tower of London.

Sam was in need of a suitable sea kayak for this expedition and had arranged with Nigel Dennis that he could borrow an Explorer. Only how to get a sea kayak from Anglesey at this short notice? Yes, the challenge was planned for mid October!

The equipment solution was simple, I would lend-out my Explorer.

But planning this kind of trip in October is a challenge in itself. Moreover Autumn solidly kicked-in early October with unrelenting strong winds.

They made it! Although it meant some adjustments to the planned route, they didn't give up. And they never lost focus on their charity for what it was all about in the first place.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kayak Coaching Workshop

The new Dutch kayak coaching scheme has no formal pre-requisites how the aspirants learn about coaching. That there is a big demand for those courses showed itself when Arie and Han Kreuk organized coaching workshop days. Last year's course was solidly overbooked. Today 30-some (aspirant) kayak coaches listened to dynamic lectures and participated in workshops by Watze de Vries and Pieter de Haas. Other coaches where assigned to each work group. Two more days to come.

The picture of Pieter in front of all the paper sheets might look 'boring'. Let me tell you that it was a very active and motivating session. And there was also a lot 'between the lines' that could be picked-up by the more experienced coaches. For the on-the-water part I choose to be in a canoe (maybe a picture later), only to find out that the rest of my group used sea kayaks... Another work-out, but we did not go far fortunately.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October Surfing

Above is the first picture of my surf kayak; trying to get off the beach with fins takes a bit more effort or very much appreciated help.

I went out surfing with the Uitgeest kayak club at Castricum aan Zee. They have a very active surf group and Anoushka and Wieger invited me to join them today.

My kayak felt more stable than ever. I am apparently getting used to it. That it takes time to get used to, showed itself when others were trying out my kayak. Everybody quickly swam after trying to roll... Rolling has to be custom learned in this kayak. Although it was windy and the surf very soupy, I am starting to get some rides in.
I exchanged boats with Anoushka (she took above picture of Rene) for a while. With her 'long-old-style-ww-kayak' I managed to punch through beyond the breakers. I did not dare to catch anything in before I had regained my breath. I needed that breath when a big breaker munched me whole. I broadsided quickly and bongo-slided in various positions/angles through the break line. There are different ways of playing with the surf, or better: various ways the surf plays with me. And different boats give the surf different ways to play with.

The picture of me is taken by Hans (see picture below) who has written-up his account of the day on his blog.