Introducing… ikSUP, Netherlands

Tell us a bit more about your SUP school…
ikSUP is a SUP-school in The Netherlands, located in Loosdrecht in the lake district, 20 minutes south of Amsterdam. It’s always good to surprise people with a tour through our nature reserve, showing the beauty and the rest of nature, so close to the crowded and busy life of Amsterdam. We started in 2013 and do offer sup-lessons, sup-rentals, Eco-tours and we specialise in Dog-Sup and Kids-Sup, we have Yoga- and Pilates Sup-lessons and a lot of groups are coming in to celebrate their party with us. In the summer we have approximately 40 sups in our school and next to the school we have a shop that specialises in SUP and SUP-accessories. We have a private island in the nature reserve from where we can start our lessons and tours. So whatever comes with SUP, except for ocean-SUP, we can deliver!

Why did you choose to become a SUPKids School?
As we do lots of Kids-SUP, such as birthday parties, groups of hockey- and soccer teams, day care groups, schools etc. We are pretty specialised in SUP with children of all ages. When we heard from our Starboard distributor of SUPKids, we read about their goals and they turned out to match ours completely. With every kid’s group we’ve had so far, we always try to get the kids interested not in just Stand Up Paddling, but also in the environment and nature around them. Even though we are not an ocean sup-center, our nature reserve needs the same attention as the ocean. So being part of the SUPKids-team makes us very proud!

What’s the water temperature over there right now?¬†

(Editors note – we did this interview in the winter!)
The lakes were frozen for a while during winter, but now spring is coming, they are defrosting so the water temperature will be around 3C right now. But we are happy it’s fluid again so we can start to paddle again!

What’s your favourite non-SUP related activity in Amsterdam?
Well, we do not live in Amsterdam, but in the lake district, so when we do not paddle, we have long walks with the dogs from our island through the nature reserve. And when we visit Amsterdam, then that is mainly for a nice city-visit, walking along the canals, do some shopping and having a nice dinner!

Do you have many problems regarding ocean plastics where you paddle?
Yes, we see lots of plastic on our island that uninvited visitors left behind. It’s amazing to see that people visit the nearby snack bar, get on a boat or canoe on the water and throw away their plastic mugs, straws and containers when they finished eating.

What is the typical route that you would take if you were about to embark on a micro adventure or SUP adventure?
We are lucky to have a special route from the Dutch nature organisation NatuurMonumenten. This route takes us through the nature reserve and during the tour there are several small islands where we can have a stop for a drink.

How good are the Netherlands when it comes to recycling?
Pretty good! The Netherlands is in the top 5 of Europe concerning recycling. Only 5 countries recycle more than half of their garbage and The Netherlands in one of those 5! We just had Plastic Soup Surfer Merijn Tinga who offered a petition to our government in order to arrange deposits on the small plastic bottles being sold. This will make people aware of returning the plastic bottles to the shops so that they can be recycled.

Any recommendations of where to go paddling if we were to come to the Netherlands?
Of course, you should visit Loosdrecht, being the centre of the lake district south of Amsterdam and when you visit our SUP-school, we can guide you around or give you maps of different tours so you can have your own expedition. And you can paddle through the canals of Amsterdam, which is beautiful but crowded and busy with touring boats. The canals of the city Utrecht are also pretty nice to paddle through!

Tell us what a typical day for you guys looks like…
Early in the morning, we leave our home in our boat, which brings us to the marina where our sup-school is located. There we take out all the boards and prepare our lessons. Except for the days when we have Early Morning Sup (starting at 7 am) our lessons will start at 9 am. During the mornings we have private lessons or school groups. After lunch, the business parties and birthday parties arrive. In the evenings we run our dog-SUP-lessons, have the Yoga- and Pilates sessions during a beautiful sunset. At 10pm, when it gets dark, we clean up all the boards and go home. Long and busy days, but so good to be out on the water every day!!!

If we were hanging out with you in Loosdrecht, what would we eat post-SUP?
We have a small restaurant next to the sup-school. This year there will be a new owner and she let us know she will be serving healthy bio-meals, great smoothies and fresh fruit! So we would sit and relax at their terrace at the waterside and enjoy the fresh meals while discussing which kind of board would suit you best.

Tell us more about your SUP lessons with dogs …
It all started with our own dog Juno. She accompanies me on my board on most of my lessons. People saw this and asked if they could bring their own dog. So I asked for help from my dog trainer. Through the years we got so many dogs on a SUP-board and with the dogs, many dog specialist people came along to help me to create a special dog program. So now we work with special dog SUPs and dog accessories, to make the SUP-experience successful for both the dog as its owner. We run dog-SUP-workshops almost daily! We can handle breeds in all sizes: from Chihuahua to big New Foundlanders.

So we know that it gets super cold in the winter over in The Netherlands that the lakes become frozen! How do you deal with this?
Actually, we paddle almost through all winter. Sometimes the lakes got frozen lightly so you can paddle through the ice. This is awesome, as it’s really quiet with no waves or other people around. When it’s really cold and the ice is too thick to get your paddle through, then we finally can take some rest. Our paddle season starts as soon as the ice is gone again.