Cycling, windmills and surfing new spots; rediscovering Holland

I am in the plane, on my way to San Francisco. I already finished two movies (and secretly cried watching one), drank a bit of red wine (because the steward kept insisting I should drink something more exciting and I thought he was right), I ate too much chocolate (never bring a lot of chocolate with you on a eleven hour flight), I cleaned up my Mac book but I still have more than seven hours left. So I started writing this blog post.

On the road again 

Most times when I write an update like this one (about what I have been up to for the past months)   it is after I leave a place or country I have been for a while, after I made some unforgettable memories again, after I met some amazing people and when I scored some great windsurf sessions. All of the above is the case again, except for the fact that this time that place was not a tropical island or city on the other side of the world but in my home country.

I came back from Bonaire end of April and I moved to a city called Haarlem. It’s in between Amsterdam and the ocean, so within ten kilometers of cycling I can either be in Amsterdam or at the beach! A friend of mine was very lucky to rent a beautiful house from a windsurfing couple who are traveling around Europe in a van, and because the house was big enough for the two of us we could rent it together. I drove there in my real surfer car (an old Peugeot 108 with a symbol of a surfer on the steering wheel) sponsored by ‘autobedrijf van der Weide’  with all my stuff. Just one bag of clothes but a car full of toys. I brought my freestyle board and freestyle sails, my wave board and wave sails, my wave SUP. my regular surf board ánd my race bike. I would definitely not get bored. Debra (my house mate) also took her bike and surf gear; lucky we were living in a big house.

Cycling near Haarlem 

I have lived in a lot of places in the world but it had been a while since I last rented a house in my own country. In the past few years I mostly just came back for a few weeks and in those weeks I always stayed at my parents house. I am very lucky to have very relaxt and easy-going parents who love me to stay with them. But it was so nice living in Haarlem; being so close to the beach and to the best wave spots of Holland! And of course to live together with Debra who cooks amazing dinners and who became such a good friend.

Chilling with Debra after a great surf and SUP session at Zandvoort

Sadly enough it has been a very bad wind season and I didn’t manage to get a lot of windsurfing in. But we had some nice waves for surfing and SUP and I spend a lot of time on my bike to stay fit. With two old injuries from my ankle and knee I always have to work out my legs to keep them strong and biking is a perfect way of doing this. My clothing sponsor ION is not only a surf brand but also a famous mountainbike brand and – lucky for me – they have a lot of bike clothes as well :-).

Surf session at Zandvoort 

Although the wind has been bad I did get a few nice sessions in. One was at a spot I had never been before; it was completely flat and perfect for freestyle. It’s on the ocean but it has a few sand banks in front of the beach and with low tide these sandbanks create a complete flat area to sail. I got a few wave sessions in at Wijk aan Zee and on the days it was just not enough for my small wave board I took my freestyle gear to play in the waves. The big advantage of doing both disciplines!

A cold freestyle session 

Typical Dutch scenery

On Monday I cycled the ’11 city tour’. It’s a famous tour through the province ‘Friesland’, where you stop by all eleven cities of the province. Originally this tour is a ice skating tour, but because it has not been cold enough for the past twenty years it has not been possible to run the tour on ice-skates but they organise is every year over the road, cycling, as well. In the past they have even done this 240 km tour windsurfing. Sounds pretty far and hard to me, but it must have been such a cool experience! On my bike it was quite a lot of fun as well, together with my sister, my housemate, my dad, my two cousins and my aunt. There was quite a bit of wind which made it a bit more challenging but I actually felt good the entire 240 km! I think only the first 30 km I still had to wake up a bit because my legs were feeling a bit weak (we had to wake up at 4:30) but the other 200 km were going pretty smooth. It took us a bit more than 12 hours to finish. It’s not a race, we were cycling in a good pace but we also wanted to enjoy the day so we had a few coffee and lunch breaks in between, and my sweetest mom was waiting for us at a few spots to hook us up with some nice snacks and drinks.

The Eleven City Tour Team! 

ION bike team 😉 

The day after was not day off rest (although my body wanted one) because I had to pack my bags for the U.S.A. I got invited to participate at two events of the IWT (International Windsurfing Tour), one near San Francisco at a big river close to Rio Vista and one in Oregon at the Gorge. I went there last year as well and can’t wait to go back. The cool thing about these events are that they are for pro’s, amateurs and kids all together. There are different disciplines but it’s so nice to compete together with so many other people and to see the kids getting so much motivation from these events.

After writing the above I fell asleep in the plane and I didn’t manage to finish this blog post ;-). I will finish it now, sitting at the campsite at Rio Vista. Around 1am Dutch time / 4 pm California time I arrived at San Francisco. My passport check at customs was not as quick as last year, I must have not looked very innocent. They asked me a lot of questions and I had to go to another room for more interrogations before they let me through. I got picked up by the family Mertens and had a lovely dinner with the family at their house afterwards. I tried to stay up as long as I could to get used to the different time zone. That worked pretty well because I slept the whole night and didn’t wake up super early. 

Picking some oranges out of the garden of the family Mertens 

Today we drove to Rio Vista. I’m staying here at the camper of the family Mertens and have a huge van to drive around in. Tomorrow looks windy! Can’t wait to hit the water. The first two weeks I will be at Rio Vista and after the event there I will drive up together with the family Mertens to Hood River. This river can get super rough, on a good day you can jump backloops and push loops on both tacks from four meter swell!

Upcoming weekend I will organise a Ladies Clinic and on Monday I will probably go visit my family close to Lake Tahoe, one of the prettiest lakes of Amerika (apparently). I will keep you posted of my adventures here in the USA!


And just a few thank you’s because I couldn’t do all of this without you! Thanks to my mom for driving me to the airport with all my gear again. Thanks to KLM to not screw me over this time with my gear, thanks to Nikaj and Maaike for trusting us in their beautiful house, thanks to the family Mertens for their hospitality and help and to Donna Woods for getting me here!