I have always been a sporty child, an active little man who loved to play outside and be on the move. And that is exactly the life I live today. That active outdoor kid from the past is still there.
I grew up with a football father. And as per usual, I also went on to play football. Running after the ball with all the kids in my hometown Almere. I was always outside. Building huts and experience adventures.
In the summer that I turned 7, I moved to Bonaire with my parents and sister. Because I only went to school in the mornings, I had whole afternoons to spend outside. I did all kinds of sports there. And of course building huts and having adventures again. For me Bonaire was great!
The last year on Bonaire I took a windsurfing lesson. From the first moment I was sold. From then on my mother picked me and my sister up from school, we ate lunch in the back seat of the car and only when I was finished I was allowed to go on the water. Every afternoon I spend on the water.
My first competition was the Regatta on Bonaire. I couldn’t jibe or tack yet. Just get off and pull your board around the buoy and quickly move on. Watching the local heroes really taught me a lot. And soon I had a full set myself. To help pay for it I spend many hours raking the beach to be clean again. My first sail was a 2.7 meter. It was as small as a tissue but I felt so tough.
When I moved back to the Netherlands in 2004, I ended up at Almere Centraal. Man it was cold surfing there. I used up all my showercoins to get warm in the shower.
Once used to the cold it all went fast. Through Young Guns from Neil Pride I was allowed to choose a board and I had a second-hand sail. I was on the water as often as I could. I appreciate my parents for spending so much time with me and driving all over the country for me. We went through all test events just so I could surf with all kinds of boards and sails.
Until I met Bert and I was allowed to sail for Gaastra and Tabou. That was really a dream come true. From then on I also participated in the Techno competitions. And with time I got better and better. I was allowed to go to the youth Olympic Games and when I was 15 I went to the ISAF. Not much later I made the switch to the RS:X and won my first race in the big men: The Sophia Trophy in Palma.
As a little boy I always dreamed of becoming the best windsurfer in the world one day. And yes… a dream without a plan leads nowhere. So I made a plan and went on to knock on the doors of Aeron and Dorian. Only with these two men could my dream come true.
September was the time that I was allowed to train for 2 weeks on a trial basis. Fast forward some years and I can say that my dream has come true; in 2019 I became World Champion and European Champion. Now, the next beautiful dream: to the Olympic Games. Again, a dream is nothing without a plan! I awarded Dor, but even more I grant that little outdoor play boy to show at the highest level what is possible if you keep dreaming and keep working on your dream. Tokyo 2021 here I come!
The Dutch Wavemaker program builds a community of young water & energy ambassadors with a range of partners. These ambassadors – the Dutch and international Wavemakers – are specially trained water sport talents and students who study water and energy-related topics at Dutch institutes for higher education.
They are especially capable of reaching a new generation and making them enthusiastic for topics and questions in the area of water and energy, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Surrounding their activities, new networks emerge.
Businesses, governments and sports related organizations work together to elevate and share water awareness and knowledge on water management and environment.
I’m very grateful for my partners who support me on my journey to success. My journey wouldn’t be the same without my partners.
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