Once just a dream… I would see only in those bleary moments just before sleep, I felt ready to try this new reality. I’ve known for as long as I could remember that I wanted to travel and see the world, have my own VW – Van. My parents even gave me one for my birthday long ago .. a so called “piggy bank” tho. My surfbus… where I would save all the tips I got working my side jobs. We made jokes about the Van and my life , my Van, the future, vanlife…the bus, surfing. At the same time everyone did now far deep from the inside it wasn`t a joke deep down it is true. That it only needed some time to accomplish this dream.
“Every family needs that kid that always goes somewhere, somehow”
At the moment of this dream, the surfboards and waves, the beach already appeared and I wasn`t even kitesurfing – yet. I have had always a big passion for extreme sports and traveling, adventure and freedom, making the most out of everything. Competitions have always been and still are the red line in my life. Always in need for a goal, preferable one just too far away, a dream. Like the van, the surfboards….. While we already painted the palm trees on the wall of my room, the bleu sky, the sun and the sand…I started to realize my kitesurfing dream.
….But once I’d moved out of the comfort of my parents’ house (oke a little.. I still have my palmtree bedroom over there), the realities of being able to save enough money on a not-that-well-paid jobs sank in. A normal full time job was simply not doable because of studying and my other passion & life: kitesurfing & snowkiting – competing international and training all over the world. Working an events, hotel, restaurant, distribution, cleaning and transport job in the night, that I enjoyed and still do enjoy (thanks to all the people around who make it fun every night again 🙂 ), but wasn’t passionate about. Please, don`t get me wrong in this. I have a huge respect for all working people, no matter where or what.
I had to take care of myself now. And somehow still manage to compete on the highest level in snowkiting, kitesurfing, kitefoiling & learn the wing foil thing, train, finish my second master and enjoy life.
With most of my income going on rent, college money and bills: the accommodation costs for training, travel expenses, subscription fees (!) and competitions, the newest kites needed (!)(20 000 euro) and transport: I began searching for a way to cut my monthly expenses (especially when training, traveling, going to competitions). This was when the idea of living in a van started to creep in – again (I did it before – from frozen to liquid water)- I could live in it, continue working (or at least find a way to continue) and then travel in it to competitions and training locations. Save a lot of time, money, so I could work less. Sleeping close to the places I have to work, I train and drive straight after to the beach or mountain… gym for a shower. Make the world my backyard, train everywhere and compete without too much costs. With vanlife, I was ticking two boxes at once!
Well, not really. I definitely ticked multiple boxes and it made my life way easier, flexible, adventures and definitely more fun. On the other side it is still hard work to make it happen. And to continue it. But so worth it.
So finally last year I made it happen, I converted my own van. It is not perfect but it is very much mine. This year I already made more than 5 trips in two months, to the snow to the sun, competing, training. And… I loved every moment of it! Vanlife makes you happy…. 😊
Once just a dream, now made reality.
I hope to inspire you to believe in yourself, have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. A dream doesn`t become reality through magic it takes sweat determination and hard work.
And although traveling in a campervan won’t always be picture perfect, One day you’ll look back on this journey and think: “That was one hell of a ride”.
Once just a dream, now made reality. Just like my dream to be the best kitesurfer I can be. And my road into the Olympic kitefoiling road as an independent athlete.
The story of the Scary Movie Podium 2022 – Cortina
What a season!
Yep, the snowkiting season for me is over now. With leaving Norway two weeks ago, the snowkiting season 21´-22´ came to an end. From new years` eve to France to Lapland to nightshifts to Italy to Norway. Lot’s of km’s driven, driving the same mountain pass “only” 8 times, mid night repacking, 3 competitions, 5 disciplines, 6 podiums, one big scary flight off a mountain and a lot of fun.
Some amazing mountain tops & views along the way, looooooots of snow, and even more stunning sunrises and sunsets. 55 knots till nothing at all. Sleeping in the van in – 11 without freezing, snowchain days, from – 29 till a sunny 20 degrees……
Unforgettable adventures, new friends met, other doors opened.
It has been an unexpected, fun and strange year. Ages ago that we had competitions in the first place. 2 years ago for the last snowkiting session. With all the “things” happening in the world we don`t understand. The whole Covid situation on one hand, on the other hand the war between Russia and Ukraine. It all seems unreal. Competing together with the all nationalities, the Russian and Ukrainian, the other moment…. Just after they got home from the World Cup in Roccaraso: pictures of bombs, shelters and explosions around our friends and their homes.. Seems like another planet that this is happening. While the world and life continues.
We all live together and we have to make it work together. Just like we do during the sporting events. If it is the rules depending on the Covid situation or a war….
With that said. The season ended. Because of the things going one in the world, The IKA Snowkite World tour of 2022 had only three stops, two of them in the racing and long distance discipline – with a choice between ski or snowboard. One event dedicated to big air and freestyle in both, skiing and snowboarding. Although my first race and long distance battle of the season was the International snowkite open – Lago Di Resia. There I decided to continue the world tour snowkiting, because it was so much fun again! And I did missed the snow.
The racing and long distance stop in Charkov I missed, and a lot among me, because of the political situation already at that moment. The next stop was Roccaraso – Italy. And after the freestyle & big Air stop in Cortina – Italy.
With winning the International Snowkite Open inLong Distance & Course race at Lago Di Resia, I had a good start of the season. And made my promise of three years ago through. Read More Here.
After this the next stop was the IKA Snowkite Worldcup Long Distance & Course Race ( & GPS) in Rocarasso. Where I managed to get the world title in course race! And win the course race with the lowest amount of points, 1-1-1-1 and the 2nd I could discard. I became 2nd in the long distance. And 1st in the GPS. Read More Here.
The next and last snowkiting competition was the IKA Snowkite World Championship Big Air & Freestyle in Cortina. Finally some freestyle and big air again. At least that is what I thought. I really enjoy this discipline at the water and while freeriding in the snow, I mean I like racing but sometimes, I have to lose my energy in something else and just go crazy! With a new format, including more slopestyle, kickers, sliders.. it looked very promising and fun. The only thing that didn’t looked promising was the wind… the wind actually never showed up for real. The only official heat finished is the one of big air ski men. We ( the woman) started our heat right after but the wind dropped, and the scoring became hard so our heat couldn`t be scored properly and had to be redone. I have to be honest, I missed out on the complete heat.. I choose the 15m over the 11m and met one really big gust (in between no wind at all – probably the only gust of the weekend) on my way down the hill into the competition field. And that is the start story of the “Scary Movie Podium”.
Go BiG OR go Ho.. take the Risk and FLY. I did a loooot of things in my life that scared me and the onces around. But for this one I was not really prepared- no one I think. This competition I made the longest and highest flight of a mountain with a kite in my hands – sofar! Now this one can officially added to my “scariest jumps of my life” list! Thanks for the car ride back up the hill. ….After this feeling, I am more than excited for some better & bigger flights next year!
Too bad we couldnt finish the complete competition, but with a lot of sunny days and fun – no complains. Congratz to the other podium finishers and the girls who actually stayed in the competition area and didn’t flew out of it and made it to some tricks, pops and hops.
That flight made me win the scary movie podium. With the most scary move of the competition. I have never flown like that, backwards soaring off a biggg mountain before.. it was my own fault, because I will always take the risk, the big kite instead of safe and small. In fact I was just hanging on there. I would be lying if I didn`t say that I had some flashbacks ovet how it could end, but quickly I realized I had to keep the kite straight. There was one moment I pulled the bar and got even higher, which made me realize if I want to land push the bar… And that’s how it went, with a soft landing in a no wind area down the hill. I made my first ever flight from a mountain. And survived.
Thanks to the IKA & al partners for organizing the events! Altough the wind was not always in our favour, we tried, we had funad we raced. See you next year – with some more wind & even bigger flights! And a big High 5 to all sponsors and support I got to compete here!
I can only say: What a season!
For now… it is time to leave winter behind and reload summer in the Netherlands, because the road as a kitefoiler will start again from now one 😊 *taking the dust of my foils and twintip….
All Photo Credits go to: Franzin Deven & Arnoud Wareck
The final stop of the SnowKite World Tour is going down in the mountains of Italy – Roccaraso. Approximately 1900 km from The Netherlands. It could have been nice if I had decided earlier to go there… because I was literally half way there the week before at the International Snowkite Open on the Reschensee.
So after finishing off the nightshift I picked up the van and drove 12 hours, back on the road to Lago Di Resia, some nice mounatin passes.. with some snowchain driving made it complete. I slept a bit further in a little quiet village.. in the degrees of minus 11:#vanlife this week it is. Apparently I had done a quit good job insulating, without heater it wasn`t cold at all – until I opened that door… The next morning I drove anther 12 hours which made me arrive at Roccaraso – right on time to register for the final stop of the world tour. The winners of this one will be crowned World Champion as well. At least I was awake again after the registration in a cosy, busy, partying bar in the small village Roccaraso – A typical warm Italian Welcome 😊
The first day
Skippers meeting down the slopes at Pizzalto. Being told about the three disciplines: Course race, Long Distance, GPS formula – might be all on one day. GPS? .. I wasn`t really prepared or that one. Just like ging into the skiing lift, the gondola and skiing down with my kites..
Anyway I like adventures so: Taking my complete equipment up to the plateau. Into the ski – lift, skiing down a slope halfway and up into the cable car to the top. I never brought my kite down the slopes and into the cable car and totally not three of them at the same time… Meeting up with some Greek, Slovenian, France, Italian, Ukrainian competitors on the way up and down.
Once up there the view at the plateau into the valley is super nice! As well as the weather, sunny and no wind – unfortunately. I was surprised by the fact how high and steep the mountains to the valley looked like. With the question, can my race kite handle this.. on the short lines I brought… ? No wind – yet so not thinking about that anymore, I will learn along the way – like always
…So we tried out the Italian ski slopes which are connected to the snowkiting spot. Fun to enjoy some skiing again. On the end of the day we got some wind, actually a lot of something like wind. Up on the mountain side, not down in the valley. Late afternoon we got released, it was getting late to set up a course, all get down and .. no wind yet in the valley, just on the steep mountain hill. After one more round of skiing I finally decided to try some snowkiting here as well. It`s not a lie that I was a bit scared of the gusty wind, the relative strong wind up the hill and my race kite with super short lines.
“If I’m scared it makes me excited, I have to do it”
So there we go with the 15m – which was way too big in the end. I did some unexpected flying and spinning, some ski losing, but in the end I had some fun. First time snowkiting on such a steep mountain. Ending after closing time, we were skiing down late (hoping to end up on the right parking lot…), the pistebully`s already came up..
Today we had to do everything, according to the wind forecast- this was and is the best day. Just not the right direction for in the valley – that will make it more gusty. On top of the hill and down in the skiing resort of roccaraso was a looooot of wind. The gear stayed up on the plateau so it was an easy run to the top. I was curious what will be down there.. no wind, a lot, or.. a bit of both. It turned out to be that last one.
12m short lines, seemed a safe option, cause I didn`t had another choice of lines, except for 24m. The starting line was behind some hills, hidden, which was already quit an adventure to get to. Starting is a complete other story, the starting line is in between two mountains. Arrived there.. half of the kites were dead, lying in the middle of the track. After some struggling, we did had some wind to start. I had a hard time keeping my kite in the air on the short lines – the minutes before the starting line – sorry guys. Starting from port it was, to safe a tack and get some help from the mountain to the upwind mark. Finally we started the first race, which gave us wind and sometimes not, some walking, kite relaunching, skiing, tangling. Until just before the upwind mark the wind completely died. My kite twisted and got stuck. One of the girls was super friendly to help untangle it… After some waiting and trying the wind game back, and it really did I nearly missed the upwind mark because of too much wind and blowing away. Don’t ask how but I did finish this race. The second race I had to avoid some tangles, but finished 2nd again after two rounds.
The third and fourth race the wind must have heard me praying, he came back and it was wayyyyy more fun for me, no struggles just going! The laylines became more tight and te rounds quicker and quicker. The only challenge was not to tangle and finish first. And that’s what I did. Staying safe and: finishing 1st and 1st.
After this we started the long distance, well the same course as the course race, a bit longer. And a downwind mark in a ….. hole between two mountains. Before we even started I know what was going to happen in that hole with me, my short lines and the kite…. Prepare for some walking… and kite relaunching.
The first upwind and downwind until 10 meters before the downwind mark were really good and fun. A little wind and no struggles. I made a gap between the others. The last part I tried to reach the downwind mark from the top of the hill, but I started to fly… and the last part … my short lines couldn’t make it happen, my kite just back stalled and I relaunched it.. a 100 times until I got to the mark. Here I lost it all. I think this kite has never rounded a mark this slow, but we managed to anyway. With some slalom through the dead kites. (although the guys were already going for a second lap…. Shameeeee).
Walking upwind until I found some wind again.. and the same process. Downwind mark and lose ground and walk up to the finish line, which I could do riding because of a gust. Finishing third. A bit sad I couldn`t keep my gap, and lost it down in the hole…. but for the equipment and the conditions, and my mountain skills – still a good job – not too many finished this race.
After the Long distance race, we tried to get back to where we started, the wind died and wo got a nice ride back to the slopes from the snow quads. I am already happy it is snow and not water.. an easy self-rescue. Thanks guys – it was fun! We took all our equipment and skied down to pizzalto.
Oow and yeah, about: the GPS competition… the GPS formula discipline was on today as well. I never ever had the time or made the time to get into this. So I used an app and my phone which off course didn`t work. So no data for me. But nothing to blame I came unprepared. (As you know me, I am not s from the data..) So that night I learned more about it and forgot.. I have a watch to use. Well tomorrow… maybe…..
…..It looked for me at least on the forecast the second day would be a no wind day, but the locals said different. The plan is to stay down the mountains and wait for the best wind to come. It can be every direction so we need to be a bit lucky.. I tought I used all of my luck the last races and just making it around the windless downwind mark yesterday. So no expectations.
At least we could park at this spot, which was nice and easy. The field looked a bit rough, with sm e bush sticking out, some grass, some rocks. In the middle of the sun and warm weather.. will be slushy on the end of the day.
But guess what?! The wind came. And pretty strong aswell. Finally some wind for the short lines. Overpowered racing fun with the 15m the first two races! Finally we could really race. The third race the wind went down a little, luckily I was didn`t took the 11m and could easily finish the race. The last race I changed for the 18m, hoping that the wind wouldn`t pick up suddenly and I will be blowing away… Right before the start.. the wind completely disappeared. That`s it for today. Finishing all races first, I made up for the day before.
I clearly needed this day, in racing but also in GPS. Because I didn`t uploaded any files the day before. This day tried it with my watch. And guess what..?! I almost forgot about it, but that worked out. I even managed to upload the GXS files on time (which I never heard of before – shame #2) . GPSFormula is about the speed, the speed coming in, ging out and during tacks and gybes. Actually a nice training program. Where you can compare to different competitors, learn and push each other to the next level. Not only in snowkiting but also in snowkitingand more sports.
Snowkite Stop Roccaraso:
1st Course Race Ski
1st GPS Formula Ski
3rd Long Distance Ski
Over all Snowkite World Tour:
1st Course race Ski – World Champion
3rd Long Distance Ski
After all I had a great time in the mountains, down the valley and on the field. It opened another world of snowkiting and racing. Meeting up and racing together with a lot of different nationalities ; France, Italian, Russia, Ukrainian, Greek, Slovenian (and moreee) made it even more fun. #spreadlove #nowar Thank you all for racing!! And sleeping the whole week in the van again in the snow was perfect!
For more than 3 years (!) – also the first time snowkiting competitions for me – we didn`t have any snowkiting competitions: cancelled, replaced, relocated, political situations…Just like that in this three years, I have been snowkiting just one day when the covid regulations let us escape a day to the neighbours Belgium – with some more snow than we get at home. More chances of snowkiting than this one I didn`t got anymore. After all we all know: The Netherlands is butter flat and … has nothing than a cosmetical layer of snow on a few rare lucky days the past years. (we call it poo grass kiting for the people still snowkiting in .. no snow, sand and grass..).
Launching a foil kite was also a while ago for me.. the last time was in September at the worlds of kitefoiling. There are many reasons why, the most important is that I didn’t quit hydrofoiling as a lot of you might think, no its actually the other way around. Only a bit more efficiency in the money needed for competitions, gear, entrance fee, training – to keep up with the quick developing Olympic Class – with a loooooooot just out of self support…..
“Nobody said it will be easy, but nothing worth having ever is”
Two years ago I won the long distance and became 3rd in the course race (for a stupid reason) at the Snowkite Worldcup at Lago Di Resia. From that moment I promised myself next time I win both! And so there we go back snowkiting at Lago Di Resia, three years later – 2022:
Last minute decisions are always the best, Sometimes I can be a bit impulsive but hey it keeps life exciting, isn`t it? Just as little as a few days before the reminder of the international snowkiting competition of the Rechensee – we though, what the heck, let’s go! Straight after my nightshift, we drove to the Reschensee. Right on time for an Italian dinner pizza and off to bed. The next day (Saturday) we had to register early morning.
Saturday and Sunday are planned to be competition days. Anyhow, Saturday looks really good, Sunday a bit difficult with a huge snow cloud coming in and different wind forecasts. I was a bit scared, not knowing what to expect and.. knowing I didn`t train any snowkiting. But isn`t it always like this..?
Saturday we started off with the long distance, which took us around two hours. It was fun to finally do some racing on the snow again with skies and a foil kite. Perfect conditions for the 18m. I made my first tacks and gybes again in the middle of the race after three years. Which was so much fun! After the start I had some trouble finding the downwind mark and remembering which side to pass it, not used to be up front. That made me doing some gybes too much, but rounding everything the right way, behind the first guys. The whole race I focused at myself and the people in front, to catch some of them and to be as quick as possible – without losing to much ground. When finally finishing with shaking legs I know maybe next time I need a little practise before… I didn`t know where I ended, on which place but the only thing I did know that I had a big smile! – I missed this –
After the long distance race, we started straight with the course races, because we never know what is going to happen on Sunday. The wind already became difficult. We started the first race in enough wind for the big kites.. 18m… and only the first 5 that were quick enough finished. I surprisingly finished as 4th. Some others finished the race running, walking and skating – respect! 😉
After a bit of waiting the next races were up, same story wind, no wind, wind, a lot of wind. And a turning direction, of the wind which made it fun, interesting and more tactical for some exciting port starts and not needed to gybe and rounding the mark in one straight line. Now you could see the differences in tactics. I even came first around the downwind mark from all competitors after a really good start. One race I specially screwed up for the discard.. I tried to gain some more high on the side of the lake which was a little steeper. When I tacked I did it way to quick and flew the wrong direction, my kite crashed ad tangled and turned and turned again. After all the dancing, pulling ropes and collapsing I could relaunch it and finish not last. After all it was nice racing, difficult and sometimes a bit of walking & skating. Hard to get speed and for me hard to pass the downwind mark sometimes, and even the finish mark, the other raced I crashed right on top of it in a time of no wind… sorry guys 😊 … after 5 races the day is over.
Sunday we played the waiting game, (which I secretly enjoyed, nice weather, nice view and still happy with the nice day we had yesterday – best day of the season already) the wind kept teasing us with going up and down and turning direction to direction. Almost on the end of the day the AP came up and we were supposed to start racing. Standing on the lake .. the wind disappeared again. Despite some people trying really hard, it didn`t work and finally we were released to the price giving & apple ceremony.
Finished the Long distance 1st and 8th overall.
Finished the course race 1st and 11th overall.
Thank you all for the fun racing again, and organizing the event which made it possible for everyone to race again!!
Now we are off to the next adventure: Rocarasso! Which will be the final stop of the world snowkite tour in long distance, racing and gps – winners will be the World Campions toooo. But first home for some night shifts and study.
Everything about being home is easy, a loving dog, an awesome family, great parents. Safe surroundings. Work to choose from, kitespots all around, knowing the best conditions for each spot. University around the corner. A walk in the park.
The fridge with cold drinks, the plugs in the wall where you just charge your phone every second of the day without thinking & running out of power. A gym on the attic of the house, the soccer field around the corner. The hot shower after a cold surf session, not even taking off the wetsuit at the beach, driving home just like that. A kitchen you can stand in. A bed that`s always levelled straight, the washing machine….. Everything you need.. or…?
Those easy life aspects go out of the window. Screw this: I wanna go. It will ask a bit of adjusting in the beginning, but vanlife living brings the best out of you:
1. Expect nothing, so everything feels like a win
The best part of vanlife is that you expect nothing and because of that everything that happens feels like a win. It’s an unknown adventure on the long highway to everywhere, you never know what’s around the corner. The factory, the church, the awesome beach or incredible view. But once it gets there you really appreciate it and see the true beauty of it and that makes it all really special. (also when you finally find a public restroom after 2 weeks of bush pooping). Or that hot shower…
2. You Gain an Incredible Sense Of Freedom
Come and go as you please. No deadlines, no schedules, no pressure – from no one, nobody looking over your shoulder if you do “things” the “right” way: what screams more..? Not being strapped anymore to that storm called “stress” and being able to do whatever you want whenever you want. With nothing but unknow destinations, unknow roads and places, just your little home on four wheels and yourself. Vanlife opens you up to this incredible sense of freedom – you can`t even imagine right now.
It might not be completely like that: buy a van and go, never come back. But it’s definitely worth it. Whether it’s a week trip, sleeping by neighbors on the field, a family holiday in a hired camper or a never ending road trip in your own self converted van. Whatever you trickers: the sense of freedom will have you high on life.
3. You Seize Every Opportunity
Living in a van you will seize every opportunity. Not one day is spend logging around, watching tv all day, chilling on the couch or sleeping till noon. Instead you will be up at dawn, to see whatever sound there is on the other side of the door or how the view looks like out there today with the first sun light. Catching the first waves before the wind kicks in and you`ll rig your kite.
You will meet people travelling the opposite of your “intended plan” and you think yourself… fuck it I come along to that waterfall inland. Or you meet fellow kiters chasing the wind on the other side of the island and you turn around to be there before the next sunset session. You see a sign pointing rock formation and think what the hell, let’s check it out. Or another amazing beach, kitespot with other vanlifers, although you were aiming drive another hour… instead you decide – let`s stay here! You chase the wind, catch the next wave, ride off into the sunset, and itch for adventure, what else is there to do..?
You get the point: These decisions are opportunities, the opportunity of freedom.
Slowly you will start to go with the flow, the days will smoothly flooding in each other and you will live in the moment: taking it day by day and loving every moment of it!
4. You learn Things, A lot Of Things
With an unknow adventure ahead, your own little home on four wheels, it will be not a surprise that you learn a lot of things. For instance the car parts, how to fix the car when you break down. From filling up the oil, chancing tires to the electrical parts. Within this journey you learn to trust yourself when you have to figure it out on your own. To be creative and not give up after one time trying. And when it actually works out it is pretty damn cool!
You got to know yourself, how it is to live on 5 square foot, to travel alone, discover the vanlife-vibe. But you will be alright!
Along the way you learn about the country and the culture. You meet inspiring people, you never forget, you have to go through scary moments and challenges, but that all makes you grow. You learn about the big question: Who Am I ..? .. and once you think you know it all… there is always more.. The best life lessons are usually free of charge.
5. You Stop Taking Things For Granted
Soon the further you get in your vanlife journey, you will stop taking things for granted. First the obvious things like when you have a shower for the first time in days and putting on clean clothes you just washed at the gas station, or the random campground you found. After this there is no way back and slowly, but surely (sometimes even without noticing) you will learn to stop taking the little things for granted.
Like the cool breeze that hits you after cracking the door open on a hot night. The water that is finally boiling after being for nearly 20 minutes on the little portable gas stove. Yes, even when you realize you have enough coins for the toll road or the hot monthly shower.
Simple life pleasures that usually are taken so easy for granted, living the vanlife you value every moment of it.
6. You Experience Things You Never Would Have
When living the vanlife, you spend more time exploring the places you want, smaller, more remote and local, than with travelling. With travelling your always off to a certain location (especially when dragging all boardbags behind), and bouncing from the airport to the city to the beach, to the competition area – mostly not really the remote places or the nicest kite spots – beaches. Now there is the time to slow down, time to figure out what is life like 100 km left and 100 km right, without any pressure. Now I had the time to find my own way, places I got to know down the road, unheard places and I like too explorer. Drive the direction of the wind and waves..
Sleeping right on a remote kitespot, pumping the kite next to your little home on wheels. Rolling from your bed straight into the best view ever. Not knowing when to come back, exploring remote places living by the day.
One night I parked at an amazing free parking spot (apparently) in the dark, not knowing this awesome spot, how beautiful it was, turning out in the perfect sunrise surf… but I did know and realized I would have looked right past it, if it weren’t the home on four wheels who brought me there. From random little spots to bigger cities this was one of a hundred unforgettable moments I would missed out in if I wasn’t in a van – Far away from the civilization, the daily stress and expectations, I was and still am feeling blessed and grateful living the kitevanlife some parts of my life!
7. You Focus On Yourself And Your Own Shit
Might be the best part of all. In daily life it’s easy to caught up in every one else `s live, soap series, drama, goals, problems, dreams…. Opinions, stories about you, you never told. People that think they know you… clearly not. That ain`t you. And you need to realize it, you gotta look out after YOU and only you. It`s your life. Follow your passion!
During vanlife you will learn to let go of things, learn what really matters the most, what is important for you – the “things” you can’t live without and the “things” you can live without & focus on that, that what is important for you. Some things you can`t control – it`s what it is – take it how it comes.
And that, the end of the day is what makes you happy.
8. You Turn A Little Wild.. And Going Wild For A While Isn`t A Bad Thing
For the part I wasn`t that wild child of the class already, vanlife made it even better. Just a little moment right before you start the vanlife, tell your mind & body that things are going to get a little wild.. But who said wild is a bad thing..??
Be prepared your life and hygiene standards will drop immediately. A mirror becomes luxury. You will learn to sleep with SO MUCH sand in your bed it seems natural… changing the sheets… hardly. Brushing your tooths with gum and the old water found under the seat, because of running out of toothpaste. Clothes that you usually washed already twice are now perfectly fine, getting used to the new smell of clean.
You learn to pee outside, yes on places you ones thought they were far too pubic. And number too..?? Get used to the old bush poo – with a view.
You start eating food, normally thrown away, or kept in the fridge. You will get creative cooking and eating. Using little dishes as possible because no dishwasher or unlimited water. But you save money on shampoo. You will sleep in random side off the road places and parking lots (in between the truckers or in front of someone doorstep..), not really caring if its safe to do so.
How does this turn out positive..?? Well all these things are going wild for a little, letting go, caring less, living more is seriously the best. Not knowing peoples opinion, doing your own best, being the best version of yourself. You awake a sense of ridiculousness inside of you, one that got lost along the lines of being that snotty nose child and that working class adult. Doing things you never ever thought about doing. Like the times I randomly showered in a hotel, invited myself for breakfast and chilled at the pool for a few days….. Welcome to your wild side!
9. You Get To Know All Sorts Of People … And Learn A Life Lesson Or 10
These one is the one some are scared of, feeling lonely, not bounding. I can say one thing, pretty quick every time again, your easy bound to meet people that are one of their own.
All different sorts of awesome people: Old, Young, chasing the dream, digital nomads, Surfers chasing waves or the wind, your grandparents who never got the chance to travel when they were younger, holiday enjoyers, the ones that have been everywhere already, Students, professional kitesurfers and all somewhere in between.
All with their own unique story. My advice is, take interest, respect the differences and listen. Listen to their experience, advice and stories. You will learn a thing or… what.. I promise.
10.You Live More With Less
This concept will change your life if you let it. Living more with less. With the time you will become 100% happy with the things you have in your little home. The little basket with folded clothes, the few shirts you own, happy that the iron thing doesn’t work here. Happy when the battery of your phone runs flat and you have to wait for charging t until the leisure battery got charged by the solar panel. Happy with the fact that you don`t have a lot, but you have enough!
The 7 most annoying, yet funny disrupters in the gym
Lots of people I talk to, hate the gym… And to be honest I can`t really blame them. I personally do like the outside more, the freedom…nature, unexpected circumstances, beach, waves, wind… the space – adventure. But I had to admit that throwing some Iron makes you stronger and can be useful at times to reach your goals. Yet, the moment I walk in I already regre.. no regret is not the right word, I love a good workout.. It`s more a thought of what the heck am I doing here again?!.. might be me, that I am quickly distracted, have the focus of a little child. Asking myself a lot of times is it really true.. people actually do that..?!? My eyes get opened a lot of times, wide open… It`s like a big human zoo.
There are some types I see coming back from time to time. They have the talent to summon some funny yet annoying yet ridiculous irritations.. painful to be around, hilarious at times. You have got mead heads, housewifes, woman with skimpy clothes and full on wearing make-up to work out (?!), creepzzz, grunters, the sweet potato’s, the markers, the housewife’s, the hoggs and way more. An that’s just the people. And my first week into an actual gym since forever.
Let me tell you about the 7 most annoying yet funny disrupters in the gym. Please read the article with an eye blink, all in the name of fun! 😉
1. The Grunter
The first that comes into my mind: “I am about to poop in my pants” grunter. You all know that one guy, the one whose guttural “gaaaah” you clearly hear while being in opposite of the building – wearing or not wearing your headphones.
It`s just like the commercial of two tennis players and start to grunt and scream louder and louder every time they hit the ball. In the gym this happens too – only than by moving a weight. Mostly by a deep red face, throbbing veins, deeply in sweat. Its funny on one side, sad on the other side.
Everyone knows them, I did only need one minute and one gym entry for that. That guy that always walks to the weight rack no matter how small or how big he is , well and then you hear it:
Once you’re yelling that loudly, you clearly can’t lift that much weight (yet), you clearly don’t have any regard for the people around you (!), and you’re clearly going to give yourself an inguinal hernia… Just put down the weight one little lighter, more movements and problem solved – I didn’t had the idea anyway I was looking at George of the jungle…
I get it that sometimes in the last set there will be a sign of tiredness escaping… or you can`t put the heavy weight down that easy… but like the whole one and half hour.. screaming, grunting while the whole gym can enjoy it?? Did I mention human zoo?
2. Sweat Puddler
Like the special guest I always look out for in the gym: Mister dipthe sweat puddler.. every dip goes down with a performative grunt, and he does like a hundred a day, last but not least mister dip is sweating like,,,? Every drop counts? – I really leave that machine for the rest of.. my life. Sweating is expected, but sweat puddles left on machines, benches, the floor (!) is just not. Carry a towel to soak up the mess.
Another competitor in the era is: Mister croco the sweat puddler #2 showing up in his boardshorts and crocs, using the stairwalk machine every day, he`d drip sweat like no one before, a giant bottle of frozen coke melting in the sun. It`d be all over the machine.. the place.. not just the handles…a snake track is nothing like it. The whole place looked like it was left outside in the rain.. Yep this people also exist.. leaving sopping in his crocs… without even thinking about cleaning up his mess.
“I grunted loudly at the gym today, nobody looked to see how much I was lifting.. so I slammed down the weights, let my sweat run down the machine, now they will remember me. – Mr. Sweat Puddler – also known as The Grunter.”
3. Collect them all
That one that sets up a bench in front of the dumble reck, surrounds himself with every imaginable weight and plans to use them for the next foreseeable future. Like we used to do as kids with Pokémon cards… The only difference is that we took care of our cards but mr. collect them all, he leaves it all, once he is done. You just lifted them, that means you should be able (at least ) to put them back in the dumble rack. You know the rack, which is organised with numbers 1 -2- 3 – etc. Which dumble goes where: Reracking weights is the easiest thing in the world ( I tought until today).
Just like using one at the time, that saves some cleaning. While you leave with a yoga matt for a stretch in the other room to come back wit a skippyball. What the…?! Am I the only one noticing you might forgot something..
Who is the usual culprit? A doofus just doing drop sets of seated rear delt-trap-neck, belly arm things that no one has ever seen or heard of, but you can tell it’s just wrong. It would be forgivable if it weren’t so selfish. Newsflash: Other people want to train with dumbbells too; you don’t get to keep tabs on all of them.
4. Reserved holiday goer & Machine Hogs
“Actually I don`t do sets, I don’t have any reps, but I wont be done for a while”
You have the machine hogs, the texting machine hogs, the group machine hogs. Because they are with a group the can exchange machines and take their time. Conversations about the girls they got at the club last week. Girls gossiping, talking about rainbows and unicorns and all else that doesn’t make sense in a gym. There is a coffee machine on the other side of the road.. maybe a better place for all daily nonsense..? And you know what: there are actual chairs!
The bro`s, the locusts . They are everywhere and not going anywhere anytime soon. Look at them in your local gym.. They are recognized by drinking workout shakes / water.. together and talking really loudly about the “chick they banged” last night and probably lying about it – I guess.
Or the staring housewife, not everyone is so serious as you… For instance: The little too big housewife that is just staring in front of the machine, or doing just as little as a 50 (!) reps on the machine you actually reallyyyy want to use. Lets get to work.
“What’cha doin’? Not much?
Yeah… not much. “
While others act if they are in an all inclusive hotel…the reserved holiday goer, also well known as the marker: towel on the beach bed 07:00 and still a sleep until 13:00 .. it can better be there before you realize you actually want to use it or..?? The part I do understand is leaving a towel on a bench to save it because you have to run to the bathroom or fill up your water bottle, the part I don`t understand is marking half the gym with your shit. – because you’re 135 pounds, have more zits than muscle, and believe that circuit training is your salvation – is as rude and inconsiderate as it is nuts.
And than we have the all equipment hogger, the dude (or dudine – but I haven`t seen one – yet) that thinks he is alone in the gym, takes three towels, a bidon and some other personal crap ..doing his own circuit; using every single piece in the gym at the same time. and he hollers out across the gym to let everybody know, “Hey, bro! I’m on that. Doin’ a circuit!”
Circuit training has a time and place, but it is not in a busy gym. Stop hoging all the equipment.
5. The Texters
“No squatting in the texting reck, please”
Yep, every once in a while (I hope every once in a while for all of you) during peak hours in the gym you’re waiting for a machine, weight rack and you spot someone spending more time texting than actually working out. The I am not done yet but let me finish this text `slacker, guys. It takes them ages to get off a machine, sometimes and I really wonder how this is possible, but people do it: people will literally be on their phones having full conversations and chatting throughout the entire workout.
Than you have the people with the facebook uploads, to the gym “beastmode on, lifting, training with ma bro`s”.. Do we give a fuck? . NO we don’t give a fuck… For real. Dudeee move onnn…
Great workout #fitness#cleaneating
#shutup .. Guess you know all these people by .. wait no.. you won’t, because you unfollowed them three months ago..
“What if I told you you can go to the gym without telling everyone on facebook about it”
6. Selfiesss Selfiesssss, Everywhere!
The shame… but it’s not enough to stop you from doing it again! After all, do gains even count if you don’t share them on Insta? Goes to the gym once: 4 status updates , 65 photos, and buys “I gym for live tee”.
“I don’t always go to the gym but when do I make sure everyone on facebook knows about it.”
Have you ever ‘checked in’ at the gym? If the answer is yes, go hang your head in shame. More selfies than reps… but that’s none of my business. – watch me bro, post this on insta. Well, to be honest, I was shocked when I saw this for the first time… people actually do this!?? The answer is yes.
7. Strike a Pose – abusers
Once I was on training camp in another country – the other side of the world – in the local gym – a guy next to me take off his shirt, start flexing in the mirror, and then start taking selfies, staring at his biceps in every possible angle. – IN the gym. On the other side every once in a while there’s a competitor who goes into a side room of the gym and flexes or practices a pose – lets say another world opened up for me. I believe you. Your muscles grow if you work out.. and it is absolutely fine to look at them, but to hit a pose after every set? maybe next time do it at home..?
To be fair, he’s not as inconsiderate as the others. But because he’s a walking stereotype, he furthers the image of the narcissistic bodybuilder with little intellect and class. In other words, he’s a self-congratulatory douchebag.
Next to this you have the ones that use the gym -mirror, mostly in front of you, to check the hair or the way the too tight pants fit. You know the mirror is there for a purpose? To check your form and maybe check double if you are not a vampire. For all else we have a dressing room or a home.
Who else would you add to the list of gym hero`s ..??
The Formula Kite World Championships 2021 – Torre Grande – Sardinia, Italy
No Team, No Coach, No Sticker… worked the 6 weeks before every day… didn`t really foil and before that I have flown so many different kites and bars I couldn`t even find the right laylines and mark roundings. Sheezz.. I was not ready for this one. This might be my most unprepared competition ever. Rocking – up at the measurements with no nationality sticker (yep the big round NED sticker on front of the board…), knowing I put the numbers of my wings the other way and I didn`t proof my membership to the federation. Still have to fix a bar with shorter lines than 15m.. with a depower that actually works. Sanding the uneven corners of my foil, hoping it will be just fine. Figuring out the watch on my way to the starting line, just after the first buzzer already. With literally skipping all events before… We decided to make it kind of a holiday on this island: Sardinia.
Well, it is just like two years ago when I went for my first time to a world championship, alone. Also on something like a holiday. Yet two years later I am still alone, but with a bit more knowledge about myself, the equipment and the kitefoiling. A little better skills and compared in equipment… actually still the same (this time I didn`t had to borrow it) – but still behind on the newest bridles, the not damaged foil and the bar that actually works more than just fine. Like the Olympic cycle changed nothing, but nothing less is true. And actually there is changed a lot, in culture of people and countries (not only in the Netherlands). There is a Dutch Kitefoil team from the federation. But not for me, cause I am … alone – I guess, finding my own way, paying my own fees, equipment, rescuing myself and fixing my own tactics and strategy, figuring out what when and how. Getting rides back from other coaches – when I went on a gusty swimming mission with my 11m.. is the way I have to make it work.
It was the first worlds again since 2 years! I can`t even clearly remember 2 years ago. And in these two years happened a lot. A broken arm, sprained ankle, scary on the edge wing missions, a decision to no foiling, achieving a second master, covid 19 and its consequences, the injections and it`s outcomes… made it all harder for me than it should be. Anyway I made it racing out here on my own which is way more important. What doesn`t kill you makes you stronger is it..?! So there we go, promising only one thing when going here – have fun! No matter, whatever… enjoy 😊 So that’s exactly what I did.
The Worlds 2021: 138 athletes, 89 man and 49 woman from 34 counties: back on track battling for the formula kite world title of the man and woman`s individual after a two years break because of the whole covid situation (still not every country could make it – sadly). It’s the first World Championship of the Olympic cycle in which kitefoiling (kiteboarding ) will make its debut in 2024 – Paris.
The men are divided into three fleets and the woman in two fleets. The first three days will be qualifying, the fourth day separate gold, silver & bronze fleets and the last day will be the medal series for the top 12 guys and girls to decide the champions in a smaller final. In the final the top 4 will races against each other dividing the final points to be crowned as the World Champion of 2021.
First day of qualifying, filled with difficult wind. The first fleet of the girls managed to do one race in light conditions, the second fleet got stuck in wind holes around the top mark ending in a swimming party for most of the girls. I was the lucky one (of a few) with a 21m instead of a 15m and a gust at the top mark to make it in dry. In the late afternoon after the rain shower the wind showed up again and the two girls fleets are send out for some epic sunset racing, doing three races each. I already called it a day…
For me that was like forever ago, I had to figure out the starting sequence again…5 minutes..?? 3 minutes..?? which flag again..?? The first two races I folded my tip for some reason in the upwind in a little gust. I had a lot of difficulties holding it and keeping it upwind to the next maneuver to unfold again. Even though I managed to get 10/9/11th in the races. Losing some places through my own (and the kite). The last race I crashed a tack, had to dubble tack and I hit something on the top mark, so that was a late finish. But I had fun racing and figuring out the track again with the 21m.
Second day of qualifying, it`s time for some offshore adventures. Yesterday the guys were happy the girls got out first to swim… but today we could watch them struggle to go outside before we had to face the exact same challenge. After four full rounds off the man, which looked pretty perfect from the side, but we did know better, the girls were send out.
Really big wind holes and even bigger wind gusts. To get out it was a throw your board in the water and shoot yourself after it with your kite until more windy areas – start and not come back to shore before you finish racing – pretty good tactic I would say, as it worked out just fine.
The first race the last round downwind I made it 6th but, I crashed my gybe into a full gust and inverted my 11m kite few times, flew behind it, did some rolls, saw some stars, found my board back, said hello to the rescue boat and got back up eventually slowly finished the race. Managed to not get last and had to go straight for the other one, I did a bit more carefully– to get some decent finishes. Avoided some tangles and crashes. The wind was all over the place, I tried everything. Sometimes pumping with the 11 and sometimes I got pulled out of my foodstraps with the 11m. But I guess I like challenges and I like this weather. I had a lot of fun. Although it was a loooong time ago I launched the 11m.. I really enjoyed racing in it, difficult but fun. Figuring out my own way, trying my own tactics – I never had time to think about it actually. Got Trying different starts, got some decent downwind speed and some awesome overtaking reaches, still have some work left in my upwind though. (I knew already before coming here). So one 20th finish and the rest some 11/ 12 / 13th – without any risk.
Third day of qualifying, it is easier to go outside with the wind being a bit easier, slightly more side off. But still it was hard to see how strong the wind was all the way out there. I took the 15m for Three races and it was just fine. I ended up around the 10th places again.
The second session I launched my 15m again, it wasn’t that windy earlier, with being in the first fleet there wasn`t that much time left. When I made it out to the starting line I realized pretty quick it was wayyyyyyyy to much! And with the girls heats going back to back no time to change so it was holding onto my kite, praying the gusts didn`t took to long. Doing a salto over the reach the first race and some overtaking downwind, the second race I did the upwind almost twice, being dragged downwind in the upwind trying to hold my edge, but in need of more depower than I have – it dint worked that well. Depowered and upwind reaching and a new personal record downwind slalom. Not my best finishes ever…
Gold & Silver day
Before coming here I was already prepared to chill in silver and rest my case. But anyhow, surprisingly, I just not made it into the goldfleet after three days of qualifying. But did enjoy some silverfleet racing where I ended up 3rd in the fleet.
After the gold fleets, the silver got to race the last races. In a light breeze, slightly offshore we made 3 races with the 21m. The first race I collapsed my tip again… the second one I did a salto again down the reach, so I enjoyed some downwind overtaking. Trying to stay out of trouble and make my rounds. The third race I just finished, losing ground upwind, winning ground downwind.
Finals and medal racing day
On shore breeze of 8- 11 knots on the final day. The first races are for the goldfeet top 14 girls and guys. The first two from the overall score are already into the final medal races. The feet is divided into two groups, each fleet gets to do two races. The one ending up first will go to the final. In the final will be raced with group of 4. The 4 will battle it out for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place. One final for the woman and one for the man. The course will be slightly shorter and faster. The overall ranking from the qualifying days and the gold fleet day is taken in account when dividing the last points. The one whoever wins the race and got the most points wins. If you did a great job into the qualifying days you only need to win one race to become the world champ (like Daniela). With the guys it took a bit longer and seemed a bit more exciting. Closer to shore (but more difficult for the rider out there with the light winds and changing win d fields). They did a great job and gave a nice show.
After all: I can be happy I finished all races, no tangles and didn`t miss any mark, o time for every start and choose my own place. Raced my own race and tried different ways possible. Managed to be racing out here on my own and had fun!
Congratzz to Daniela and Theo for being the 2021 world champions!! Thanks for some great racing again and see you all the next one!
That’s my life and I am proudly living it: my Fulltime Job times 3
If it was easy everyone could do it: my Fulltime Job ^3. Topsport is a fulltime job in a fulltime working job in a fulltime student job.
“yet sometimes I’m wondering more and more if it’s getting in the way of my performance. But yes, I also have to live. ”
It ain`t easy to get to the top as a sporter in The Netherlands – I faced that challenge the past years for the second time in my life (and also not in any other country I can imagine and I have experienced). Topsport is a fulltime job in a fulltime job in a fulltime student job, for most of the sporters out there (it`s my fulltime Job ^3 ). Especially for the ones which don’t have a commercial team or have financial support from a sport association or ….rich parents/boyfriends/family members.
We have to earn every cent we spend ourselves. We don’t have big sponsors, loads of price money (- only for the best once’s – but to get there..), investors who pay our travels, our expenses, our daily life, university, our subscription fees, accommodation, trainings, trainers, equipment. Just if you are lucky enough a part of your gear you can get with a small discount. You got to be a teamrider for a brand – which is fun and will help you a bit. I am super thankful that F- One supports me already for the past two years in all disciplines I can ask for.
But than …how higher the level gets, how more expensive it gets, the more you have to train, the more competitions. The more difficult the material gets and the deals. A higher level means closer differences in equipment.. and maybe just not the gear you are riding with an the brand you ride for. Sometimes the choices are hard – or actually all the time. Competition with old gear, fighting, struggling or buy new gear and stay at home – work or train. Train and don’t have anything left over or save and survive the winter at home and participate that competition with the same skills and equipment. While you know other competitors…that train 6 days a week in the perfect conditions, have the better equipment already. And you can’t work against it anymore, while you got the talent, the skills….
Life is not fair, it’s never been – better get used to it. Your time will come: Nothing worth having without fighting for, Mum & Dad always told me. That’s what you always should remember if you ever want to give up!
A lot of people think pretty quickly: ooohh just a few competitions, a little bit of training on a tropical destination– you should have plenty of time and freedom enough! To work next to it, study and…. no clearly not.
And yet , Sometimes I ask myself what if…?? Is that the best preparation you can have..?
Living at your parents’ home (forever having a room) or that of your boyfriend who are supportive enough to not throw you out – even not when you turn into a rat.. They got your back every single day even though sometimes you won’t see it. A lot of times you’re home, because your injured or studying, working (not the most social person ever, not that as you want to be at least). But he, they will not complain. Don`t ever take that for granted if you won’t lose them, although sometimes they will help you making the ends meet. Or the friends that stay, even though you hardly ever see them or miss out on their parties, because…. your training, travelling. You really get to know the people around you, who to trust and the real friends who will stay along the way wherever you will end up..The ones you can tell everything and you really trust.
Being my own work/study planner and advisor…Double shifts, nightshifts, cycling to them in the shitty rain, straight after to training – I don`t really mind – I like it actually. The cycling to work is a part of training anyway. Following classes in the train, making exams all over the world – chasing WIFI. Playing for doctor, stitching myself, personal trainer, besides that I am a videographer, social media guru, personal cook, and above all I ama professional hustler: always lobbying for the lowest price, the best deals, sleeping in a tent or my van – trying to manage myself and everything around. Dragging all boardbags behind my for days, sleeping on the airport. Yes I am a pretty good I “it can always be cheaper” travel agent by now, always the way less travelled and sometimes a bit scary. But guaranteed you get to know a lot of the surrounding, and yourself. Being my own accountant, bookkeeper to meet all the ends. My own social life manager, what I still suck about, blame the wind. ( I always miss out on the family things, my birthday & celebrate new year / Christmas a lot of time alone in another place and time zone…). Besides that I am also a repair guy. Splicing lines, glue-ing kites – duck taping the rest and a little epoxy will do the job. Might not be perfect, but it will work. After all I am also a car mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter in training, after converting a van, living in it on long road trips to training locations and competitions. Really cozy with all equipment I can tell you 😉
Financial & Work
Teaching kitesurfing, coaching foiling, online or at the places I train, taking every job who possibly fit around training, competing all the travelling and university. No job is below you, if it pays, every penny counts. Sometimes I thought I could work more and more. Than after a few days I was tired on training weeks. That ones I do for nothing than… for a physical training block need to be rested and not full of everything. That’s where I learned what rest days are about. Sometimes I am an online teacher, some days I clean the dishes, I help people as an bookkeeper / accountant with the financial administration, other days I serve breakfast or make sure you receive a package the next morning while working the nightshift. It’s a question I got really often so I made a little story about it here!
Thankful for the ones who took that extra step extra when I couldn`t, because I came straight from that competition, or the times I had to leave early, because I had to make an exam. Or the ones that made it a bit easier, working with a broken arm. Meanwhile in what I do, I always try to give my best and do whatever I can, whatever I do. Knowing everyone has its own story – and grateful for the respect they have for mine. Thank You!
Its hard to accomplish a degree when you are never there… You got to be creative and social to arrange that. I managed to get a second master’s degree and I am studying for the postmasters degree – against all odds. So if you there is a will, there is a way to make everything work! Maybe I am a student forever.. but why hurry! Life is still long enough.
Too make travelling, competing and training on the right places easier, cheaper and affordable. I converted My van to a midget house and kite /surf /skate holiday home. It might not be always the best (rainy, cold days), but its a great way to make it work. Read more about my kitevanlife on this page.
Meanwhile, trying to find private sponsor deals, but it’s a hard task. You have to give a lot in return (clinics, presentations – I like it, let that be clear. But on the other side that’s lost time again for work, study .. or the obligatory resting days , training. And sometimes you need to be the top of the world or a pro influencer already. It`s also hard to find a brand that fits and you proudly stand behind.
Once you find a brand, it still needs to work with the other brand or organization. Or the other disciplines you practice. Besides that one little mistake or injury.. and its over again. You’re back at 0 or even less. Sometimes they already want you to be a world champion, the perfect fitness and eat guru, but you need them to get there. It’s a hard juggling game every time again.
The best is to find independent sponsors, not connected to the equipment brands, but these ones are hard in a sport (discipline) that’s still a bit unknown. But worth it, to be part the first generation of Olympic kitefoilers and inspire the future – together with the brands I already teamed up with!
Shop & blogs & Donate
Being a pro athlete, trying to fund myself, I started my own webshop with a little help from my family. Rised out of travel memories, to connect with friends and never forget each other. Inspired by the ocean & handmade. Meanwhile I am writing blogs to inspire you to follow your dreams, chase the things in life worth living for! And for everyone out there who wants to follow my journey in the Topsport, in life, on the road and in the world.
Can I tell you something just between you and me? “yes, yet I’m wondering more and more if it’s getting in the way of my performance. But yes, I also have to live. ”
And yet , Sometimes I ask myself what if…?? Is that the best preparation you can have..?
Driving 24 hours straight to the competition area after a working shift – with a quick pit stop for an online exam. Sleeping in a tent or on the couch in the cold rainy weather on an airbed trying find the right position to sleep, the tent right into your face in between your boardbags – nice and cozy…What if I slept in a better place? without people around, without snoring people, without all the lights and noise around, the garbage truck passing by in the middle of the night, I know with more rest and focus everything will be better.
While I am pumping my airbed – in the middle of the night.. the seconds on the clock are ticking, the competition is coming closer….While I am staring at the sealing and listening to my snoring neighbor and 4 sleeping people in my room.. I think about tomorrow.….nothing is less true. Without closing even one eye – I am at the starting line. And there I have to do it. No matter where I came from or what I did – this is it:
That’s my life and I am proudly living it!
Thank you guys for thinking with me in hard situations, sharing incredible moments ups & downs, working with me, supporting me everything (even if it might be a “little” crazy), celebrating Christmas, sharing rooms, floors, tens, stories, secrets, dinners, moving in the middle of the night because we got soaked of the rain, sunsets, sunrises moments, way to long and scary boat rides, being a family away from home, being a part of my journey, let me forget I am alone in this craziness … For believing in me even though I didn`t in myself some moments. That makes you realize to appreciate what you have, all small things, to be excited about what you want. I will never forget you! Just like the nice team members at work, helping me out. Giving me the easier place so I could train afterwards, even though I am just a number. For the study groups and teachers, being helpful and patient. Grateful to have my awesome family back home – for always being there for me!
I know it’s not always the best way, but it took me already where I am now. Wining competitions, training, qualifying the Netherlands for the world beach games, winning snow worldcups, freestyle tours, big air. Fighting for every place and moment. These memories, no one ever takes from me – coming this far by my own. Nothing worth having without fighting for. Mum & Dad always told me.
That’s my life and I am proudly living it. And yes that is the best preparation I can ever have! . After all the complete package is not something you just do. That’s Topsport, my life, my fulltime job^3. . No days off. But 99% I think you have a choice! I choose this life 100% and I am proudly living it!
How the experience of sport prepared me for life: 10 Life lessons of sports.
From soccer with the guys – a national team, running competitions for the university team – international, to swimming getting all licenses, to dancing on stage, skating the street and skateboarding the bowl. Inline skate 120 km, taking the SUP, surfing the ocean and the streets with a surfskate. Learning the wing thing. Climbing, mountain biking, rafting, canoe…, Kitesurfing in freestyle competitions, big air, Kitefoil racing in the world tour and big air competitions. Individual & teamsports, practising myself, coaching and teaching others. The biggest part of my life was and is about sports; Skiing 140 km an hour, flying over kickers, flipping through the mountains, sliding the rails. A life in the snow. Battling on the highest level possible, winning competitions, losing, learning but more about enjoying it- nothing worth doing without FUN – has always been and still is rule number 1. From frozen to liquid water I learned a lot. Actually my life was and still is built around sports and competitions – maybe nowadays a bit more about enjoying the little moments, to see what I actually have reached already.
“life is to short to do only one thing”
All these sports taught me a lot, the meaning of life, how to keep a balance and how to pick up myself after falling down. Coming back after injuries, dealing with fear. Push myself to get better and get comfortable with the uncomfortable. That sometimes you have to fight a battle more than once to win it, you don’t need to stay between any lines. There are no limits, the world is the stadium and nothing is out of bounds. Sports taught me how to be a good winner, be a good loser, to work harder than everyone else, to be a leader, a team player, have grit, have determination, have patience, and so much more.
“Don’t take the sport you love for granted. Every time you play, you better be damn thankful that you got to do something you really love. When you reach the day you can`t play and you can only watch, than you will know how much you love something that you once took for granted…..”
I also learned through sports that life is precious and some day you can get injured and reduced to your raw vulnerable self. Losing all you had, come back from 0. Against all odds. There is light on the end of the tunnel. Never lose that hope! Never give up, for that is just the place and time the tide will turn. Some moments with great results, but still struggling silently. I learned to accept, that something is what it is, there is got to be a way through it….. Please be vulnerable enough to ask for help to get answers you need. I hope I can inspire you this way to never, never, give up on the dreams you have and once had. And it`s oke not to fit in and to be different.
The 10 life lessons of sports, how the experience of sport prepared me for life:
Lucky that I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed and still do enjoy a variety of sports and activities throughout my whole life (thank you mum & dad), and have learned and am still learning that sometimes it isn’t the game itself that is fun – but instead it is our ability to have ‘fun’ playing it. With all the friends around, learning new “things”, enjoying to be outside to kick that ball and be part of something – together. Pushing each other and get better – develop. As well as in life, doing a job, sometimes it`s the people that make it fun and keep you going, appreciate that. The trick is to enjoy life & the little moments. Before you know life is over…. And you will regret not having fun.
Even though the conditions are not always (or never) on your side, get used to it. Make the best out of it and be happy you can go out at all. Every minute out there counts. Fun makes it so much easier.
2. Nothing is given you have to earn it.
Hard work is the key to success. Not only in sports, also in life. Before being good at something you have to feel awkward and you need to suck at something. Crash that trick, stand up and try again, again, again. Be open for feedback and to learn. I don`t even know how many million ways I found out that didn’t work out in that trick.. broken bones.. bruises…concussions.. scratches…stitches, but I always got back up again, trying again – and before I knew I was battling against the best of the world. When I started playing soccer without any experience as a little kid, too young … I started on the bench as the newbee. After seeing my brother play and the guys, I put in tons of effort and work to become just like them. From that moment I played every game and others were offering themselves for me – On day I even got asked by the coach of the opponent to play for them (national champion & the best team in the group – all colored guys and me playing as a white girl – a game I will never forget, they even let me kick the penalty).
Once they told that little girl to start at the lowest grade of highschool, that was her level… yeah right. I hoped to do one level higher, so I did. (In the end not one level…) Once you believe in yourself you can do so much more. Proof them wrong. I went to the highest grade, got a bachelor, two masters and now I am doing a post master. I did the premaster two times, the day I made it I proved to myself, that you should listen to you and only you. That feeling of reaching something scary, untouchable is the best feeling in the world. Same with tricks and sports!!
From that moment one I always wanted to earn something instead of just receiving it without putting in the work. Hard work is the real core of every sport because, without putting in hours you cannot really succeed at anything. Nothing worth having comes easy. In real life it is too, nothing comes easy – so don’t sit and wait, go get your dreams! Nothing is like expected, maybe its better, in a different way. I rather have high standards and drop down a few times before getting back up, than not trying at all.
“Don`t let one stumble on the road be the end of your journey”
3.You won’t always win and that’s oke.
Somedays, when I lost a game, an important one .. one point less to become the world champion. I would always got angry and wanted to quit, because only the first place counts. The rest are losers… but my parents & coach made me stick to it. Is there a sportsperson or a sports team which haven’t lost a single match in their entire career ? they started to ask me.. The answer is no. But did it stop any of them from playing again ?– always the second question..Still, the answer is no. And this taught me that failuresare a part of life but should not be mistaken as an end. No matter how many dead ends you encounter you need to keep thriving until you achieve your goal. If you don`t fail, you won’t learn, if you don’t learn, you will never change.
When I was younger, my coach wouldn’t let me finish unless I landed the trick with no mistakes – until the next mistake. I still do that to this day as well and it has helped me greatly. Practice does not make perfect rather perfect practice makes perfect. So always try one more time…
4.Teamwork & trust.
You can’t do everything by yourself sometimes and that is just a fact. This lesson is applicable in life, sports, and anything you do, to be honest. There is no “I” in a team and that is something that has helped me a lot in sports and outside of it. In many sports trust is the key to success – whether its trust in a coach, teammate, family member, co worker or equipment. A lack of trust in a te am mate’s ability to play his/her position, a coach results in others not being able to fully commit to theirs – while in others trust is a matter of life and death. With this I struggled a lot this year.. Like in a business, great things are never done through one person….Sometimes you have to set aside your individual wants for the collective good and the end purpose. An individual can make a difference, A right team can create a miracle. And sometimes the right team is not that far away!
I learned to put outside problems aside, and just play the game, make a goal your drive. Much like co-workers, teammates will not always get along, but this taught me to put differences aside and just get the work done.
5.Believe in yourself before others start believing in you.
A really difficult, BUT important one: You need to believe in yourself before others start believing in you. It takes a lot of courage and belief in your own self to get into the field and face your rivals. And as you know, you can never win if you don’t show up. Your dreams matter, there is only one you. Do your thing and don`t waste your time changing opinions. There will be always people telling you, you can`t . If you never try you will never know. And sometimes it means going left while everyone goes right. I have been told many times I wouldn`t reach anything in kitesurfing anymore… I am not a runner….. Laughed about, because girls don’t play soccer….I had to do the lowest grade on school.. and right now I am the proud owner of two masters. Made it to a world title in snowkiting and first places in freestyle. Have been on the international running podium and won tournaments with my soccer team..
So: Trust in yourself, you already survived a lot and you will survive whatever is coming – no – one is going to take that from you. Do it for yourself and no – one else, it’s your development, your life.
That might be the most important lesson I learned, next to fun. Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are.Impossible is not a fact, it is an opinion…..
On the other side sports teaches you to never be overconfident. It’s good to believe in oneself but nothing good ever comes from underestimating others. Also, victories should be a reason for your happiness but not an excuse to stop working harder. Be confident & keep humble.
“you have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there”
6. Priorities & Sacrificing
In life (with sports), you have to find out what your priorities are, and with that comes sacrificing. The hardest thing you have to do. You can’t do everything and that is a tough pill to swallow, especially when you are a kid. You won’t have a great social life because most of the time you are either traveling for sports, have some sort of training, needed to work to make it all happen. You can`t have a normal steady job, be friends with coworkers…I didn’t go to any parties from friends or school parties, sporting events, club nights at all, not that much time hanging with friends ore seeing family, but I don’t regret it at all. Those sacrifices will help you get closer to whatever you are trying to achieve and it helped me a lot in life. Sacrifices will hurt but you have to think about it in the long term because that sacrifice will help you get an inch closer to what you are trying to achieve.
I found some great kitesurfing friends, friends in my soccer team, new friends all around the world and I’ve got some awesome stories to share with my family when I am at home. The rare moments I see them I enjoy & appreciate even more now. Just like the different jobs I got back home, with the different people – still there when I come back.
7.Life isn`t fair.
This was one lesson everyone learned as a kid and it was the toughest one to understand – and still I can’t sometimes. Not only in sports but also in life I notice it all the time. You might be the best employee at your job but you still haven’t gotten a promotion. Or you worked so hard to get a ten on your exam but you have to do the re-exam. Promise, when life isn’t fair: you don’t sinker down and give up. You rise to the occasion and try again because life will throw these obstacles at you all the time, to test how you respond. And yes, sometimes life sucks and it`s hard to push forward. But you can! Keep clawing back up, keep pushing through doubt, fear, and failure. That’s what will make you grow . It is a sad reality, but life isn’t fair so you must find a way to overcome it. You are stronger than you think.
Never give up: persistence and perseverance. Nothing good ever comes easy and the road to success is a long one. For achieving that end, the first step is to stay on that road and never quit. You will meet failures on the way but winning is always possible as long as you don’t quit.
Somedays, my parents were no longer able to drive me everywhere, because of work. I would take my kites to class, walk a lot of miles, drag everything into the train, just for one hour of training. Some days I had to play soccer after and I came straight on my skateboard. Rather than quit, and let down my team-mates, I skated there, to be able to continue to play. By the end of the season I had achieved a fitness level that I still aspire to. Besides that – if possible my parents always took me from one to another sport, picking me up on the other side of the country and driving me straight to the match or the airport.
With commitment comes focus. You need to focus to thrive and excel at something. Life always gives you both positive and negative – focus on the good and move ahead with commitment. Told at the age of 18 I wouldn`t reach anything in sports anymore…. Once I committed to the kitesurfing and started to believe in myself.. I actually found a new passion and did reach the stage a multiple times.
“stop competing with others, start competing with yourself”
9. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Risk is correlated with reward. You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take. But also, you don’t necessarily succeed in 100 per cent of the shots that you do take. In all aspects of life, the principle holds that to achieve great success, you must take risks. However, this is not an excuse for recklessness. Sports are loaded with opportunities for risk-taking, and exposure to these opportunities is the best training for developing a sense of when it’s a good time to take the shot and when it might be better to pass. Take the risk or lose the chance – an elderly Peruvian lady ones told me.
10.Integrity & Accountability:
It is in the world of sport and competition that I learned not everyone shares the same values or principles. For some winning was everything. In an early stage I was already taught the difference between playing ‘hard’ and playing ‘dirty’. But more the importance of always playing ‘my’ game. Through sports and the outside world I started to see the parallels between how players conducted themselves on and off the field. Consistency is key, but integrity IS everything
Every action has its consequences. In sports and in the world, but in competitions you notice that every move counts. Each moment could be the deciding moment. One wrong move, one little mistake and that could lead to you losing a game which was going in your favor or worse, losing it all and get injured. It’s the lesson of accountability and owning the consequences that will result from your actions.
Accountability ever when I participated in, or competed in any sport and still do, its always with the support of others – such as my parents, coaches, and team mates, sponsors. It is through their support that I initially learned the importance of being accountable.. There are many times when we need to invest 100% of our effort and energy despite nobody watching. Be accountable for the life you want – we get what we give.
Although this season was a hard one for me, I would not trade it for the world. Playing sports has taught me more life lessons than anything, by far. Although we won tons of games and tournaments, I developed a lot the last years – won, learned, the hard losses are the ones that always stick out the most to me. Especially if its the choice between money, old gear and new gear & unfair team choices raining around. And even though most of these memories were great, there were also some bad ones. However the good memories combined with the bad have shaped me into the young adult I am today . Might be a “little” bit less reckless, still as wild and fearlessly as the little me. Bring it on sports & life!
Sports will prepare you for the trials life will give you. Thank you sports! 😊
“Don’t take the sport you love for granted. Every time you play, you better be damn thankful that you got to do something you really love. When you reach the day you can`t play and you can only watch, than you will know how much you love something that you once took for granted…..”
Individual Kitefoiling Olympic – Paris 2024… Now What..?
So that just happened a few weeks / months ago, the long awaited moment arrived: Individual Kitefoil racing became Olympic! So now what? No team event anymore, two medals: one for the woman and one for the man. Now What?
En route to Paris 2024..!?
Well it went like this:
In December 2020 the IOC (international Olympic committee) confirmed the program of the Olympic games in 2024 in Paris – including mixed kitefoiling. That means a woman and a man from the same nationality had to compete as a team (only one medal available that time), some kind of parkour with a changeover in the middle – which is kind of hard in the middle of the water. Kitefoiling never competed in a team discipline, kitefoil racing is and was an individual sport. Some different opinions where about this “thing, as well as the IOC advised the world sailing to further review the mixed offshore sailing that time. The IOC was dealing with some challenges regarding the offshore sailing. In the areas of field of play security, scope and complexity, the complexity and cost of broadcasting.
While the final IOC assessment of the mixed offshore event continued, the world sailing is already requested to come up with alternative event proposals for the 10th medal at the Paris 2024 Olympic games….. One of these proposals is an extra medal for kitefoiling, so it can be individual – as it should be.
The moment we all have been waiting for:
In may 2021 the delighting news came that The world sailing selects individual men`s and woman`s kitefoiling events as preferred alternative for Paris 2024. One step closer.
Short after, the 10th of june 2021 the IOC confirms two medals in kitefoiling (kiteboarding/formula kite) for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing competition: Individual woman`s and individual men`s.
In the words of David Graham, Chief Executive Officer –
“Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding will bring huge opportunities in terms of universality, developing women’s sailing and the media appeal of these exciting events.”
So now what?
Although the team event gave the kitefoiling some new perspectives and challenges. A different kind of competition, with surprising scores and close short track action. I had a great time at the mixed relay in Austria – it was something different and fun. After all, I am happy with the decision for the individual medals in the Kitefoil racing. This comes closer to the whole picture of Kitefoil racing and supports not only the sport, the opportunity for individual athletes, but also woman’s sailing as it is. Because Kitefoil racing is big fleets, full of action, flying around the course, battling each other and try to be the fastest & most skillful sailor out there. More about what the heck kitefoiling is: link (* still also with the mixed relay).
Although the Olympic part also brought some strange decisions in countries, some inequality in countries, in case of support, training , coaching, help and sponsoring:
Its time for the first generation of kitefoilers worldwide to show what is possible and to go out there and build something for the future. Promote the kite foil racing and have some fun no – matter what! Excited to see the journey ahead! Lets goooooow
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