The Denmark challenge.

The Denmark challenge.

On Wednesday Lotte on her prone and me on my paddleboard set off from Leidseplein towards Denmark. We already had problems to get out of the city, a big policeboat lay waiting for us in Amsterdam before we could reach open waters and told us to stop the journey. Not taking no for an answer we took a different route to find 2 smaller police boats waiting for us by the lock. Lotte found another way, taking us across a dyke with our boards and we reached open waters. From beautiful weather is changed around 3 o’clock into a terrible thunder storm, we managed to find a harbor for shelter. Not being able to continue in the weather we lost 6 hours of paddling the first day.

On day 2 we set off at 7 o’clock, the weather forecast predicted code yellow at 5 o’clock, so we thought we could make up for the time we lost the day before. Unfortunately after 20 kilometers with strong headwind on open water a much heavier thunderstorm caught up on us and we had to stop this time at 12., losing another 9 hours. Having only reached Lelystad by then, we were very far behind schedule. But lucky to have find a very nice place to stop, the owner of the harbor gave us a place to set up camp. We were debating to continue our journey, but the weather forecast looked good and we decided to go on the following day. We planned our trip through the lock to reach IJsselmeer and cross open waters towards Urk and then paddle through Friesland.

On Friday we set off at 7 and were making good progress towards Urk till the weather became more rough. Not undoable we continued till a couple of boats stopped us and the people told us they were already out there for hours without making much progress and within 2 hours another thunderstorm would hit. They said they would inform the water police to pick us up from the water. They told us we could go with them and they would drop us off at the harbor. Not wanting to risk meeting up with the police, we boarded their yacht, to be dropped off in Lelystad again. The weather forecast did not show any improvement for the next few days and we decided to stop the trip. Safety first and we’ll continue later this year, after I return from the Yukon challenge and there will be no forecast for thunderstorms!

This trip turned out to be a very good preparation for the race from Canada to Alaska. I learned about some things I have to do different, but paddling with so much luggage on my board turned out to be easier than expected. Except during strong headwinds, the aerodynamics completely disappeared and I had to work 3 times harder. We met great people during this trip and I would like to thank all of them for their support. The challenge will be repeated!

A lot of respect for Lotte, a very strong athlete with a very positive attitude and ready for bigger challenges. The next goal will be the non-stop 11-city tour and I’ll make sure she’s ready for this and I’ll paddle with her for support.

I like to thank my sponsor Naish, especially Guido Hoogwerf, for the great board, the Maliko is absolutely perfect. Prolimit’s Jan Willem Mulder for the great gear. The backpack specialists Jeroen Janssen and Stanley Sie #vertepac who provided me with a special backpack which was attached to my lifevest from prolimit. When this new product gets on the market I can highly recommend it due to the freedom of movement it provides. Supskins for the suit which was perfect for the open water Wolfgang Ortfried, Kickass coffee from #JonesBrothersCoffeeMartijn de Man for helping me out the last couple of months, Marieke Kietselaerwho is prepping me for the Yukon race, without her I would not have ready for it, Ruben Langedijk for helping me with the GPS maps and Elko Londofor customizing the board and Lotte Spaargaren for always being in a good mood.