‘Farm wakeboarding’ involves standing on a kiteboard and surfing along a canal as you are pulled by a car going 30 kilometres an hour. Teun Vogel and his mates have been doing it for years. But suddenly their hobby has become national news.
It all started when a photographer friend of theirs took some photos and sent them to the national media. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf devoted an article and video to the topic and the TV programme RTL NEWS sent a reporter, who even had a go. Not a very successful one. The AD newspaper and Qmusic radio station also paid attention to the surfers. ‘They all talk about us as if we’re a bunch of farmers who take off our clogs and do a bit of surfing,’ laughs Teun Vogel, who recently graduated in International Land and Water Management. ‘We call it farm wakeboarding but that’s because of the location. There aren’t actually any farmers in our group.’
Farm wakeboarding started off partly out of necessity: there is not always enough opportunity for kitesurfers on the Dutch coast. So about five years ago, the friends came up with the idea of being pulled by a car instead. If the weather is good and there’s no wind, the guys send one another a message: FWB tonight? Then they gather at a canal near Wijk bij Duurstede, get the barbecue going and take turns on the kiteboard for a 400-metre stretch and back. These days, Vogel does as much canal surfing as he does kitesurfing. ‘Kitesurfing is something you do on your own. This is really a trip out with your mates.’
There are four former Wageningen students in the group, all recent graduates. Vogel: ‘We did it for a while in Wageningen too. But this location is safer: there’s no traffic and only a few trees. That’s why the police leave us alone.’
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