Pieter Bekkers first joined the IRF Board of Directors in 2011 where he oversaw the Media & Marketing section of the IRF for a few years, then became Chair of Sport & Competition, and later he became Treasurer. In 2021 he was approved as an Honourary BOD Member. He was and still is very involved in the various committees and sub-committees as well as being an IRF GTE Assessor and Judge Assessor.
He comes from the kayak world which he started doing in 1980. In 1990 he added rafting. Commercially he started rafting in France and Italy in 1992. In 1996 he participated with an R-6 team in the World Rafting Champs in Zimbabwe representing the Netherlands, and he was there again in 1997.
In the following years Pieter started to propagate the sport in the Netherlands by offering commercial tours in France. In 2004 he and others founded the Dutch Raft Association in the Netherlands, where he was elected President. In 2006 he was asked to take ultimate responsibility for safety and overall training for instructors at Dutch Water Dreams. In 2008 he went to the WRC in South Korea as a trainer of the ladies Dutch team. After that, he has attended every WRC every year as a judge or jury or co-organizer, until WRC 2022 which he was unfortunately not able to attend.
He started rafting because he likes whitewater and team sports, and he hopes to bring the sport to a feasible/ sustainable level, not specifically an Olympic level, but as a broader sport that will become visible to external people where the sport of rafting can survive. This includes transparency / clarity and changes.
Pieter has been a very active volunteer in the IRF for many years, working hard on the projects that he feels are important for the sport. WRC 2010 would not have happened if it had not been for Pieter’s dedication to the IRF and making it happen. And WRC 2016 is another event that he did enormous amounts of work on to make happen. His favourite WRC was therefore 2016 at Wadi Adventure, and 2010 at Dutch Water Dreams, because of bringing them in to the IRF himself and his involvement on the organisation side there. And their unique location and that they were easy and clear to organise.
His favourite rafting destination is France, helped along by the fact that he has his own raft base there.
If Pieter could host a dinner party with celebrities, the five guests he would invite and why would be: Max Verstappen, Sven Kramer, Sam Sunderland, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Johan Cruijf. These are the people from the sports that he admires, and as a sports man these are the sports he loves!