20+ spots, 6 team riders, 1 winch, and 1 broken bone
After spending the last couple of years scouting out different places to winch in Europe, we brought the team trip home––to Mystic’s home––right here in the Netherlands. All the spots we know best, with still a lot left to explore since it’s known as a watershed country, a third of it sitting below sea level. Apparently, for wakeboarders, the Netherlands is winch heaven. About a fifth is covered in rivers, lakes, dams, dikes, and canals, and the cities are like urban deltas. It was time to test the scope of our own backyard.
Heading to spots around Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague, you would expect an urban playground of hotspots around every corner. However, it became apparent that luck was not on our side. The weather was all over the place, as per usual. The trip began with an ominous session that would foreshadow the mayhem to come, a series of unfortunate events. From our winch almost getting tangled with a boat, to a suite of heavy crashes and close calls – one thing was for certain – the Netherlands wasn’t going to give us an easy pass. We had to fight for our clips, and every rider had to dig deep into their bag of tricks. However, with so much water and endless possibilities, the crew was eager and motivated to make it happen.
“I have not died, so the trip was successful for me.” – Lisa Baloo
It began with our team riders Maxim van Helvoort, Lisa Baloo, Dominik Hernler, and our newest rider Elena Bodi. Hailing from the Netherlands, Max was a huge asset to the trip and found some unique spots for the team to hit.
Everyone was putting it down. Dom did his thing while Elena, new to winching, hit her first spots. Lisa stepped up her game, wiped out but got up unscathed. Max dove into his element, closing the show as the last man standing.
For the second part of the trip, the Peacocks brothers traded in with the girls. Ryan and Liam brought good vibes and laughter, as they always do, but sadly it didn’t last long. On Ryan’s second spot he crashed, and he crashed hard. There was a ledge rail with metal mesh covering the top. He slipped and fell with his finger caught in the mesh, which almost got ripped off. He went to the hospital and had to get surgery. For the rest of the team, it was on to the next spot.
“Broke my hand in Rotterdam, left with a new scar to add the collection and memories with this crew that will last forever.” – Ryan Peacock
Liam was up for his second spot and found a crazy one. After a couple of tries of him getting really close, the rope got stuck, he clipped his arm and with that, the World Champ was out. Now it was up to Dom and Max who, already going the longest, were beat – but that didn’t stop them. Dom having witnessed Liam eating shit at a good spot still wanted to give it another go. He gave it a few tries and stomped it with a couple of big drops that took a toll on his back, so he was out as well. That left the whole last day to Max.
Winching always brings out a unique dynamic to our wakeboarding trips. Searching on google or driving around looking for water with some nice rails, jumps, gaps, or ledges, leaving it up to our imagination when it comes to what we can (or can’t) do. It’s usually not allowed, having to pass the forbidden entry signs and avoid any unnecessary attention. This means a compact crew that gets shit done, no messing around.
The cops actually showed up halfway through setting up once. They said they’d gotten a phone call about someone tying some ropes to a bridge, so they came to check it out. But when they saw what we were up to, they thought it was pretty cool. They stuck around to watch, unsure if we were allowed to do what we were doing, but said weren’t going to tell us to stop. That was pretty unique, considering we’ve been told off more than our fair share of times in other places.
“People were helping us out. They seemed genuinely excited to see the sport, seeing us do something extreme or crazy. I think the crowd in the Netherlands is overall pretty chilled on wakeboarding.” – Maxim van Helvoort