James Van Drunen - A True Story & History!

February 14, 2021

James Van Drunen - No limits or boundaries that cannot be overcome.

James was born in Spain in 1999. Today he is one of the most Elite Athletes in Europe and he is in the 50 best SUP Racers in the World but not so very long ago, at the age of 14 he weighed 115 kg and his day consisted of doing nothing but hours of computer games and eating rubbish food.

In 2013 he was introduced to paddle boarding (SUP) which first was very hard for him and he didn’t really like it. Mostly because his younger sister was better than him, secondly because of this weight didn’t allow him to enjoy as much as he could have. But he didn’t give up that quickly. One day he decided to rent a board for a year, so he can train every day and show her sister who is the best. During this year he was paddling 3 hours a day just to get his stability and the technicque perfect. Started going to a local gym to lose weight, so he can paddle easier and with a help of a personal trainer, he started building up his new athlete body. Of course, with this regime he soon started losing weight and in the meantime his confidence in himself increased, he felt more comfortable around people, with the stand-up paddling. His life changed completely. Now he’s a new person in the making.

While months passed by, in late 2014 he got the chance to compete in a local competition in Alicante, Spain. It was his first race and he was very nervous but determined to take over the World’s Best. James competed in the under 16 Junior Race, coming 1st place in the technical short distance and the long-distance too, but not only that,straight after the junior long-distance race he competed in the open race against the adults. He only wanted to see how close he can get to the top males but surprisingly (or not) he was in front of all of them. In the end he finished 1st place, with big smiles and cheers from his family members and from people at the event.
From that day James got addicted and he knew that he wanted to compete in Stand-Up Paddle Races throughout all the years to come. In 2015, when still only 15, he became the youngest paddler to attempt and complete the 220km 11 Cities Race in Holland and he participate ever since every year, getting better and better results and giving a hard time to the World’s Best ones.

James is in the front wearing the white & light blue thermal

He is now 22 years old and, in his age, most young guys are like a candle in the wind, with no real idea of the future but he is different. His approach is professional and way beyond his years and nowadays he is competing against Elite Racers in the EuroTour and his story should be known to motivate the youth of today. He as a person, is proof-positive, of what a change in mind-set can bring about. I still remember when he told me one day during lunch, when all the other young guides were eating sweets after a tour:
– “When I was a fat little boy, I used to eat lots of gummy bears” – and he continued eating his healthy and protein rich meal.

We have confidence in him and are very proud to be a part of his future. At “The James van Drunen SUP Training Centre & Academy” you can join him on a Taster Session and learn the basis of paddle boarding. If you are already experienced you can go out with him on a Secret Blue Lagoon & Cave Tour and not to mention the one in a lifetime experience of the Sunset Tour with LED lights underneath the board.

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