The “Rookie Class” program at Brouwersdam, Netherlands is already underway with a weekly program for young riders of all levels to join. Many of the stars we see today grew up sailing at this spot and have been part of the movement from the very beginning. This is also the case for 2015 PWA Freestyle World Champion Dieter Van der Eyken, who decided to stop by for a visit to share some of his knowledge with all of the young guns taking part.
Here is his story in his own words.
To support projects like these taken by Brouwersdam and to be supporting the upcoming generation simply feels great. The initiative Rookie Class initiative started a few years ago and is one I have joined on various occasions when I’ve found the time and have been back in the area.
The concept is simple, every Saturday afternoon there is a group of young riders sailing together instructed by 1 or 2 coaches. Together they push each other not only during this afternoon of sailing but oftentimes also outside of these sessions. They simply bring each other to the next level this way.
Some of these “rookies” from a few years back are now some of the best local sailors at Brouwersdam and will hit the international scene very soon with a high-end level. I noticed this during a session a few days before the rookie class at Brouwersdam. This shows that this kind of concept works and makes the sport grow.
During last Saturday’s Rookie class the wind was light but still enough to get on the water for light wind Freestyle. Seeing how eager the group was to get on the water and how well and quickly they picked up the tips I gave them made me wish there had been a similar concept when I was young.
The amount of things you can learn windsurfing in lighter winds is something that often gets overlooked, but thanks to concepts like Rookie Class, it is not forgotten. Even when you are not planing, there is a lot of sail and board control you can learn, that will help you on the stronger wind days to progress faster.
After 1,5 hours of light wind freestyle and a few small new tricks in the bag with plenty of happy faces, we ended with a small jump of the water slide and a quick talk about professional windsurfing/sailing in general.
To see the same kids still on the water 2 – 2,5 hour later when I was eating my dinner at my parent’s camper van made me remember how I was when I was young and why I to this day have such a big passion for the windsurfing sport.
It puts all the hard work in perspective and makes me convinced that out of this new generation of Rookie Class sailors more will follow the same dream as I did and that the future of windsurfing is bright.
Big thanks to Brouwersdam for pushing this concept and for inviting me during one of their sessions, I’m sure if I find time in autumn I will pass by again!
You can find more info about Brouwersdam by visiting their website https://brouwersdam.nl/
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