Meet LIESBETH SCHUIT and her family! Liesbeth used to spend her summers windsurfing with her family when she was a kid, and then 25 years went by in the blink of an eye. When Lucien van Delst reached out and invited her and her family to spend a day on the water, she didn’t hesitate. It was a chance to reconnect with the sport she loved in her youth – and to introduce her own kids to it. Spoiler: they loved it! We asked Liesbeth to tell us about that special day.
I was so pleased to windsurf again! It brought back good old memories, and the kids had a big grin on their face!Liesbeth Schuit
Story: Liesbeth Schuit | Photos: Patrick Schuit, Lucien van Delst.
Last September, Lucien, a longtime friend of my husband’s (and a windsurfing icon in The Netherlands) invited us to a ‘family and friends’ day on a lake nearby to take windsurf lessons with him on a Kona board!
I was very pleased that he asked, and the whole idea brought back good old memories of my sister and me taking windsurfing lessons together with my dad when we were young at the Thijs Windsurfschool, near the campsite where we stayed for the summer. We bought ourselves a board at the time (a Thijs, naturally!) and spent endless hours during the summer on the Westerschelde, trying to beat the waves and go faster and faster. It also brought back memories of that one time when my father, covered from head to toe in coconut oil sunscreen, couldn’t stand on the board anymore because it was too slippery! He abandoned ship and it fell on us girls to sail the thing back to the safety of the shoreline. In hindsight, it was a very dangerous episode, as the Westerschelde is not an easy place to sail, but we truly enjoyed it and are still laughing about it today!
So I was very eager to go and have a Kona experience that day, and I truly hoped that my husband, son and daughter would love it too.
We were two families in all, with five kids (ages 13, 13, 11, 10 and 8), and one other friend who decided to join us. At first we did some balancing exercises, the boys of course spending more time in the water than on the board, and after that we were free to either go out on the lake on our own and windsurf or stay with Lucien for more tips. Having windsurfed before (albeit 25 years ago!), I decided to just try to see how it went.
I immediately realized how much I had missed it! Like when I was a kid, I felt free as a bird with the wind in my hair. Okay, there were no waves or strong winds to make it complicated, and I didn’t attempt any gybes – just easy tacks. And when I fell off, getting back on the board was more difficult than I remembered! But the feeling of freedom was one I hadn’t felt in a very long time, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband and daughter also really got the hang of it. My daughter Mette and her friend (both age 13) went out in tandem with Lucien, which was lots of fun, and were quite good at it! Lucien made it look easy and kept making jokes all day, so everyone came out of the water with a big smiling grin on their face.
I personally thought that the Kona was a really easy board, very stable but also quite fast. The technology of the gear and sails is a lot more advanced and user-friendly than 25 years ago! In May this year, I am going back for windsurfing lessons with Lucien on the Kona and on our local lake. And I have talked some of my friends into joining me, so maybe, by summer, I’ll be able to do gybes again. I am really looking forward to it!