Belgium's Top Surfer Dean Vandewalle visits Paradise rats.

Belgium's top surfer Dean Vandewalle (16) visits Surfers Paradise Rats in Knokke-Heist.

Dean Vandewalle is in the country for one week. Good for a visit to the weekly training sessions of the Paradise Rats on Sunday afternoon. Three of them are with National Trainer Lars Musschoot on a trip to France, others are still on (surf)holiday, but the rats present listened to Dean's story about how his surf year went so far. Finally, there was an opportunity to ask questions and have a photo taken together.
Dean learned to surf at Surfers Paradise when he was 5, before moving with his family to Costa Rica. From there, he is working on a professional surfing career. The rats were especially interested in all the destinations he visits and the way school is done: 4-5 hours a day of "homeschooling" on the laptop to the rhythm of the waves. Not easy, but necessary to get the necessary diplomas.
Dean has just returned from Portugal where he participated in the European Championships for country teams. Belgium came seventh. Not bad for a not really surfing country by the North Sea. From here it's off to Biarritz in France and Spain to reel off a few competitions. In October we will join the Surfers Paradise surf trip to the Mentawai islands, and from there to the world championships in Huntington Beach, California. From there also to Nland Surfpark, an artificial surf park with real waves near Houston, Texas. Here, the American pros are being prepared for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. After a stopover in Costa Rica, it will go via Papua Indonesia in January 2019 to Hawaii, and from there back to Costa Rica.

Dean also dreams of taking part in the Olympic Games as a be continued, no doubt!

Exclusive high res surf photos of Dean available on request.