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Pieter Bekkers

Pieter BekkersPieter Bekkers started off his sporting career studying in sport education, specialising in whitewater kayaking and tennis as well as becoming a certified swimming teacher.

In the early 1980s he started building polyester Kayaks for personal use and selling while working part-time at the sport complex of Budel County. He started a kayak club in Budel as a trainer and initiator and organised the first kayak course in the French Alps for the ALO the Hague (State Sports Education School) and other participants. He then started his own company which built and rented kayaks and organized kayak courses in the Belgium Ardennes and the French Alps, and started the first kayak school in the Netherlands. From 1984 onwards he was running kayak whitewater courses in the French Alps (Durance), Swiss Alps (Inn), Dolomites in Italy (Rienz), and Soca in Slovenia. He developed and organised these programs himself. In this period he paddled plenty of rivers in Europe together with friends and also made numerous “First Descents”.

By 1994 the company had grown and the activities covered: kayak-whitewater weekends and weeks in the Belgium Ardennes, French Alps, Dolomites (Italy), Soca and the spring weeks in Corsica; company sports activities/team-training and sport/games days in the Netherlands and Belgium; special adventures and special programs for Caballero Around the World, Peter Stuyvesant Travel, Hyundai Challenge; renting of outdoor material, kayaks, mountain bikes, Langlauf skis, archery materials and rafts; renting of their locations; trips to Grand Canyon and Chile.

In 1997 he attended the Camel White Water Challenge in Zimbabwe on the Zambezi as part of the Dutch team, getting to do his first decent of the Zambezi River. Here he encountered the IRF for the first time at its launch. In 2004 he put new life into the Dutch Rafting Association (Nederlandse Raft Bond = NRB), put up a new BOD and associated it to the IRF. At present he is on the NRB BOD as president. NRB also started organising annual Dutch National Championships. From 2006-2009 he trained up a Rafting Ladies Team who became Dutch champions in 2006-2007-2008 and 2009 and in WRC results of this Dutch Ladies Team; 2007 – 8th place in Korea, 2009 – 5th in Bosnia.

He started Wildwaterschool which trains people to be professional Raft Guide and Kayak Instructor and also for Whitewater Rescue training. He wrote an educational book for rafting training and education for Dutch Sports Education Schools and other people who are interested and was asked by Dutch Water Dreams in Zoetermeer (first artificial rafting course in the Netherlands) to take care of the training project for Rafting / Hotdogs / Hydrospeed and Safety. Every year they train 50-125 new raft guides and he is responsible for DWDs safety.

In 2010 he was very key in the organising committee from Dutch Water Dreams for the IRF WRC Artificial 2010 and was Race Director at the event itself.

He regularly organises IRF Workshops in France at the river Durance and is now an IRF GT&E Assessor. A total of 8 schools from the Sports Education Schools are being trained by him in the French Alps; Rafting/ Kayak / Hotdog and Whitewater Rescue.

His Rafting Reader went into the 9th year/press and a total of 800 copies have been sold over the last 9 years. He also began a company that could do raft race timing and scoring.

Besides being an IRF GT&E Assessor, Pieter is also an IRF Judge Assessor and has been very involved in the recent World Champs in Indonesia where he worked very closely with the organisers in the preparation and then finally at the event as Co-Race Director. He has also been working very closely on the 2016 WRC at Wadi Adventures having been the first to contact them and following up with scouting trips and all advice to assist them through the bidding process. Without Pieter the 2016 WRC would not be happening and the 2015 WRC would not have run as well as it did!