Interview with Koen Proost, the Dutch SUP champion

Interview with Koen Proost, the Dutch SUP champion

Last week, I had the chance to interview Koen, a great guy who became the Dutch national champion with his SUP. Learn more about him and his goals for the upcoming years.

Fun fact about you: I always order a Lipton ice after a Sup or Surf sesh. No matter what time.
Guilty pleasure: Listening to Bløf, Imagine Dragons or Big Time Rush before surfing.
Bucket list wave: Skeleton bay.
Favorite trick: Cutbacks.
Hidden dream: Land a full rotation once.
Person who inspire you: Gabriel Medina. 

  • Hi Koen, could you please introduce yourself and tell us more how did you start supping?

Hey my name is Koen Proost, and proost stands for cheers. I’m 21 years old and have been surfing for 14 year and supping for 7 years. I got introduced by my dad to supping, and later to wave supping. He started a Sup School in our hometown. And that’s where the supping came from. A couple of years later I tried it in the waves, and then I saw the potential in the sport. Because the sport is not so big, I had a chance to grow a lot more than with surfing.

  • In 2021, you became the Dutch champion of wave sup, can you tell us more about this crazy day?

This day was so amazing! The year before, I ended up getting the second place with 1 point difference. So in 2021 I had to get the tittle. And before every heat on that day I was not stressed but very relaxed. I just had fun being in the water and competing against others that are also enjoying the sport as well. And with that vibe, I ended up first in every heat. Then at the end of the day was the final. And exactly at the moment the final was held, there were the best waves of the day. So game on! I caught every good set wave and stuck almost every turn or trick I did. And that is how I became the Dutch champion that day ;).

  • Big events are soon approaching for you. How do you feel about representing your country, the Netherlands, during these events?

I am very honored to representing the Netherlands at the World and European championships! For the European championship, I am setting the goal to become the top 5 of Europe. And With the World championship, I will see how it goes. Because it’s the first time for the Dutch team to be there, and I think the competitors will be better than we think. So I’m very excited to see where it ends!

  • How do you prepare yourself (physically and mentally) to maintain your performance levels?

Physically I train almost every day, is it not in the waves then I will be at the gym. The workouts I do are focussed on balance, coordination, core stability and endurance. Therefore, when there are waves, I’m heading straight to the beach to practice. Because you learn the most when you are in the water.

Mentally, I am trying not to focus too much on the other people that are against me in the heat. I am going to give my best every time I am out there. And there is nothing more I can do. Just don’t let it get to your head when you see someone ripping. Keep focussed!

Koen surfing the wave

  • How do you train when the waves ghost you? What kind of exercises do you engage in?

Like I said, I am doing some balance, coordination, core stability and endurance training. But this is also mixed with strength. I do a lot of things with bosubals, the balance boards and somebody weight movements. The exercises are directly behind each other, so you have to continue. Not a lot of rest is how I see myself working to get a wave and then doing the turns on the wave as well. 

  • Balancing work and high-level athletic training can be challenging. How do you manage this juggle?

For me is this not quite difficult. I have the blessing that I’m very flexible from a young age already, and that is not gone yet. Besides that I love working out, it doesn’t matter if I am: running, bench pressing, doing a circuit or doing a lot of burpees. I enjoy every training and feel good if I do train. So, rest days for me are quite frustrating.

I work at the gym of my parents, so I lost no travel time. I can combine work and training. :)

koen surfing the wave on his board

  • What are your goals for this season? And what about the upcoming one?

I’m now focussing on the upcoming events. And after that I will be going to train more with body weight (calisthenics) but also as much surfing if the waves allow it to. My goal is tho be competing at the top of Europe for next season! And practice with surf/supping in Bali.

  • Can you share a memorable story about the most challenging wipe out you've experienced?

Once we were with the SurfTopsportCentrum (STC) team in Portugal. And I remember that I saw one of my teammates about to catch a wave, but at the moment he saw me he holds back. Then I got very slammed by that wave and got very washed under the water. I did not expect to be so long under, so I needed some air… Then I was just in time above to breathe again. That was maybe the closest wipe out to passing out in the water. So it taught me a lesson to learn to control my breath even more when I’m out there. 

  • I know that your mom often captures videos and photos on the beach, and your dad is frequently seen with a SUP. How do they contribute to your performances?

They support me in everything I do with the water sport. They love the seaside so much that they are coming with me a lot. And my mom the most because she loves to capture good pictures that we both can share with everyone. For the rest is my dad kind of my coach when it comes to training in the gym. And he is also very busy for the Sup community.

  • What’s your favorite surfing memory?

Catching the barrel of my life at Mundaka. We went there also with the STC crew and only the juniors were allowed to go to Mundaka. Then we saw some real pro’s going out there and the waves were pretty on fireee! We decided to wait a little and prepare ourselves to get out there. Then, when we went, it was very crowded and a lot of locals were out there. So we did not catch many waves, but when we did, it was the little one, or we dropped in on the shoulder of the wave. Then later on the tide changed, and the waves become more friendly for us. I caught one that was very long, I did some cutbacks, and then I came at a point where the wave had a reform. And that reform created a nice barrel which I stayed in for like a couple seconds and I still can see the whole view in front of me!

  • Most of the people are aware of climate change and all the consequences on the planet, are you sensitive to that point? How do you try to have a positive impact every day?

I am very aware about the climate change. But I am not really busy with trying to do everything so good as possible. I do throw all my trash in the correct trashcans, and keep up with the nature in our garden, and when I see some trash lying around somewhere I throw that away. I always use my dopper for drinking water. 

Otherwise, me as fitness instructor, I try to help people and try to help them become the best version of themselves.


Koen Proost on his SUP board


  • Since 2023, we've been supporting the Coral Planters, an association focused on coral planting. Is ocean protection important to you?

I really love the cooperation of Suay about supporting an association that cares about the coral planting. Because it is so beautiful and should not be gone in the next years. When it comes about plastic in the water or reef brakes getting damaged, I really want to do something about it. That is why we sometimes do a beach clean up. Or pick some trash out of the water when you see it, a sup cleanup. And I think more surfers need to understand that as well. That we need to threaten the ocean as good as possible.

  • Last question, did you know about the brand Suay Hype? What do you think about it?

At first, I didn’t know Suay Hype until you guys liked some photos and followed me. Then I checked it out, the socials and the website. I really liked the vibe of the T-shirts and everything Suay Hype has. It is based in Utrecht and that is very close by for me. I met Louis a couple of weeks ago, and I saw how every shirt is hand printed and what he is working on. It is really impressive how the business is growing and how many people are sharing the Suay Hype vibes. I am very excited about the future of Suay Hype, and I am looking forward to our new adventures together.

Thanks Koen, we wish you all the best for the future events. You can follow his adventures on IG: @proostkoen

Utrecht, 13/09/2023

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

What are you looking for?

Your cart