Fundraiser launches for prolific kiteboarding photographer, Ydwer van der Heide, as he faces recovery from a serious spinal injury.
Our special friend and one of the most talented, hard working and creative photographers in the kiteboarding industry, Ydwer van der Heide, has suffered a terrible injury that truly could have happened to anyone who spends time in the surf. Still without movement in his hands and legs, this brave Dutchman has a long, uncertain journey ahead.
On Thursday 4th February, Ydwer was surf foiling near his home at Noordwijk in the Netherlands when his foil hit the ground and he was thrown forward. Landing on his head he crushed the C6 vertebra in his spine. Unable to move in the water he was rescued by the friends he was surfing with and rushed to hospital by paramedics where he was immediately taken into theatre.
After a day on a ventilator and two days without it in ICU, then three more days in a neurology ward, Ydwer is now a resident at a specialist rehabilitation centre, Heliomare in Wijk aan Zee, where his treatment will continue for the foreseeable future.
Ydwer is one of the most prolific photographers when it comes to creating inspirational magazine cover shots, evocative action images for advertising campaigns, and for capturing sensational moments at international kiteboarding competitions. His images have helped riders develop careers and inspired a great many more to take up the sport.
Truly dedicated, he is also one of the only photographers to make his living purely from shooting kiteboarding. In a moment everything has changed but, as a testament to his immensely positive character, he has already promised the rehabilitation centre staff that it’s his mission to somehow take some good photos of their facilities as he couldn’t find any online!
The next six months are crucial in terms of how Ydwer’s long-term recovery will look. Although his treatment at the rehabilitation centre in Holland is covered by insurance, the pair are already facing a loss of earnings as they’re both self-employed.
A shortlist of extra elements they’ll at least need to consider are likely to be:
- Equipment costs, such as wheelchairs, specialist beds, and in-home aids
- Home modifications including ramps, railings, and lowering benchtops
- Vehicle modifications
- Perhaps the biggest of all could be visiting a specialist outside of Holland – as that’s not covered by their insurance.
This fundraising page has been suggested and set up by their friends. Lots of people have offered their support and we feel that donating through this fundraiser is a good way to collectively help make a difference at this very early stage of his recovery.
We, as Ydwer and Marije’s family and friends, appreciate any support, messages and donations you can offer at this difficult time. One day, hopefully soon, we’ll get to see Ydwer behind his lens taking spectacular images again.
Words: Max Blom
Photos: Ydwer van der Heide