Since 2019, the World Championships in Surfing and Cable Surfing can be held, but from October 30 to November 6 is a good time. Reason enough for a delegation from Knok Watersports Club Lakeside Paradise to travel to Thailand. Also present: Owner and pioneer of surfing Frank Vanlenhof (60) who also shares himself. This makes him the oldest participant ever in the World Championships. “Wonderful, although I’m here mainly for digging,” smiles Frank. “One day we want to bring a match like this to Knokke-Heist.”
With Ike Vanleenhove (14), Noah Ferson (16) and Louis Eggerickx (17), Lakeside Paradise Water Sports Club has plenty of young talent in Thailand. They are some of the best Europeans and they all have big ambitions in their class.
Frank Vanlenhof, 60, has fewer of those ambitions. He joins the veterans and is the oldest participant in a World Cup ever. “The veteran category means over 40. And no one is above their 50s or 60s,” Vanlenhof laughs.
“Being outstanding because of my age? That way I don’t just have to look to the side. Moreover, I have very little time in Belgium to stand on the water myself. There is still a lot to do here. Some people in their forties even came to ask me what They have to do so they can still skateboard in twenty years. So in a way I make a statement. People over 40 and even over their fifties and sixties can enjoy this sport.”
International competition in Knokke-Heist
Frank says it all with a smile. Hence, delivering a solid performance is not his thing. Surf pioneer and director of Lakeside & Surfers Paradise primarily participates in the World Cup for inspiration.
“We have the ambition to host a major international competition with Lakeside Paradise. However, there is a lot to consider. “About 500 people have to stay in the hotel, plus the whole competition round and the jury,” Vanlenhof says. “The best way for me to experience everything up close is to get involved myself.”
What is expected of the young goalkeeper of Lakeside Paradise in the World Cup? “Countries like the UK, France, Germany… are here with delegations of more than 20 participants, plus guidance including coaches, physical trainers and video specialists. They leave nothing to chance, and everything is paid for by their union. We didn’t get there,” Vanlenhof says. to Belgium after.
“In addition to the canopy, there is the Walloon Federation, and there is the Waterski Flanders (WSV), which only offers small compensation to those who make it to the final places. We definitely have talent, but keeping up with other countries in terms of support is still a long-term task.” (millimeter)
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