Ydwer van der Heide – One of the industry’s leading photographers is in hospital with very serious injuries
Ydwer is more than just a colleague: he’s a close friend and general all-round legend. The 42 year-old Dutchman had an accident while surf foiling on a beach close to home in Holland last week. While he’s conscious, can communicate and think clearly, since then only a small amount of physical movement has returned to his arms.
As you’re reading this on our website, you’ll have no doubt enjoyed his incredible photos. Ydwer’s had more shots on the front cover of Kiteworld than any other photographer – a total of 20 since his first one on issue #46 in 2010 (scroll down to see them).
His eye for capturing the atmosphere and sensation of kiteboarding in a single still frame really is second to none. He’s often the main photographer on the annual team and product range photoshoots of Airush, North, Mystic, F-One and more. He’s undoubtably the personal favourite of the best riders in the sport when it comes to documenting their trips or new trick adventures – including Oswald Smith, Ruben Lenten, Bas Koole, Jalou and Kevin Langeree, Lasse Walker, Liam Whaley and many, many more.
Ydwer is also a regular team photographer on the GKA Kite World Tour and has been one of Red Bull’s core crew for capturing the King of the Air action since the event first returned to Cape Town in 2013.
He now faces a huge personal challenge. Below is a post that went up on his Instagram page on Monday 8th February 2021.
Show your support by following him on Instagram and send him a message if you’ve ever enjoyed his work. His girlfriend Marije reads them all out to him each afternoon and says that every ounce of positive energy they receive really helps.
We wish you well mate, from all of us here at Kiteworld. xx
Some slight movement returns – Accident update:
Ydwer van der Heide
Posted on Ydwer’s Instagram Monday 8th February
On Thursday 4th February, Ydwer was surf foiling 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 immediately rushed to hospital where no time was wasted to get him into the operating theatre. Within 12 hours he was able to come off the ventilator, but remained on the ICU ward due to low blood pressure.
By day 3 (Sunday) his blood pressure had stabilised without medication, so he has been transferred to a neurology ward.
Ydwer is conscious, able to communicate and think clearly. Though he can speak, it takes a lot of effort and his words come only slowly. He remembers his accident, however, as yet he still only has some limited movement in his arms.
Ydwer is feeling something very very far away when you touch him, the doctors still cannot say whether this will prove positive long term; only that his situation is very serious.
After regular consultation by the excellent doctors, the only thing for sure is that Ydwer, his girlfriend Marije and their family have a long journey ahead of them.
Importantly, the doctors in the neurology department are already planning to keep moving his pace of recovery forward with some rehabilitation starting today.
Due to Covid Marije is only able to visit him for a short period of time each afternoon, but he has assured her that he feels safe in the hospital; a leading university hospital specialising in spinal care.
Ydwer has always really enjoyed sharing his images and projects through Instagram and wanted to communicate a message on here so that the wider kiteboarding and outdoor community that he’s deeply involved with have a clear update of his situation.
No matter how short, the messages he has received so far are delivered to him by Marije each day and she says that all the positive energy is really helping.
Thanks Jim (Kiteworld) for writing this for us. This was the hardest post in my life I’ve done. xxx Ydwer & Marije.