2015 ISA Worlds: Meet Team Netherlands
Continuing the seemingly non-stop news cycle of ISA World Championship team announcements, today I’d like to introduce you to Team Netherlands.
Hailing from one of the lesser-known but still very vibrant paddling nations, the Dutch crew will be small in number but big in heart. Anchoring the squad is everybody’s favourite crazy endurance paddler, Bart de Zwart, who will compete in both the long distance and course races alongside Martijn van Deth. They’ll be complimented in the women’s draw by 27-year-old Emma Reijmerink.
Team Netherlands won’t have any athletes outside of the SUP racing events, however these three paddlers will no doubt do their nation proud.
Although I’m only writing this today, the Netherlands was actually one of the very first (probably the first) countries to choose their team. The national titles race was held way back in early June 2014, which equals an 11-month lead-time for the 2015 Worlds.
Bart de Zwart needs no introduction – the man has logged more miles on a SUP than just about any other human being on the planet. He regularly completes solo adventures in the most remote parts of the planet, while he’s a stalwart of the endurance racing scene. Most notably, Bart is a four-time champion of the five day, 200+ kilometre SUP 11 City Tour race, held every September in the Dutch province of Friesland.
Another star of that particular race is Martijn van Deth. I competed in the 2014 11 Cities myself, and every morning we’d all watch as Bart and Martijn sprinted off the start line and proceeded to hold their crazy pace for the next five hours. Martijn finished an impressive third in last year’s race, holding pace with Bart for almost the entire week.
Given their penchant for pain and punishment, Bart and Martijn will probably be favouring the distance race at the Worlds. The short course event won’t even be a warm-up for these guys, while even the 20k distance race is probably a little short for their liking.
I don’t know too much about the third member of the squad, Emma Reijmerink, however if every other Dutch paddler I’ve ever met is anything to go by, she’ll be competing with a lot of passion and determination.
Team Netherlands (or is it Team Holland? Then who are the Dutch?) will add something else to the 2015 ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship. They’ll be one of the strongest of the “Minnows” – those smaller paddling countries that rarely trouble the powerhouse nations on the leaderboard but always punch above their weight, adding plenty of spirit and character along the way.
The Minnows are what I really love about this event. The Swedens, the Bermudas, the Guatemalas. They don’t usually win the medals and nobody expects them to compete with the leading nations on the Teams Leaderboard (partly due to the fact they can rarely send a full team), however I strongly believe they’re just as important to the event as their more fancied rivals. The Minnows sum up everything that’s so good about this event.
But anyway I’m getting sidetracked. Congratulations to Bart, Martijn and Emma, we look forward to seeing you fly the Dutch flag and adding yet another element to the World Championship.