After extensive solo backpacking trips in the western and north-western states of the USA, Canada and Alaska between 1988 and 1993 Axel took up kayaking in 1994. In that year he paddled from his home town of Rijswijk in the Netherlands all the way to the tidal harbour of Noordpolderzijl in the northeast along inland waterways; a 21 day and 650 km solo trip.
In 1995 he started sea kayaking with the national Peddelpraat (translates as "Paddle Talk") club and attended their annual sea camps ever since.
From 1997 he organised his own trips and expeditions with friends to Isle of Mull (1997), Shetland (1998), West coast of Chichagof and Yakobi Island in Alaska (1999), German Bight (2000), Islay (2001), Outer Hebrides (2002) and Faroe Islands (2004). In 2003 he paddled around the Netherlands by sea kayak; 1241 km in 28 days.
By assisting at sea camps and club trips he got into coaching and guiding. He became a Dutch sea kayaking instructor in 2001. At about the same time, during visits to the Anglesey Sea Symposium, he entered the BCU coaching scheme to become a Level-4/A1* sea coach holding 5-star sea. In 2004 he gained the ACA Advanced Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor qualification. He is a member of the Peddelpraat and NKB sea kayaking committees and the NKB coaching committee. He guides sea kayaking trips in Wales and Scotland.
He likes photography and he wrote articles for Peddelpraat, NKB and Sea Kayaker Magazine and gives lectures about his trips, and among them, at the "Op Pad" national outdoor show. Many of his trip reports and pictures are now on-line on this web-site.
- BCU Coach level 4 Sea, A1* assessor
- ACA Advanced Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor
- NKB Sea Kayak Instructor