With their passion for life, vigor and purity, the Atlantic Stormtroopers will row across the Atlantic ocean. They are the first two Dutch women to row across the Atlantic ocean! Anique and Saskia will experience the forces of the ocean but also the freedom and protection that the ocean offers humanity. They purely believe that we can change the world by protecting the ocean, educating people and that healthcare should be available to everyone.
Adventure, belief and perseverance is what brought our team together; all our team members are always ready to engage in another quest and to chase the next dream on the horizon. Brave enough to start over and over again. This challenge will be a hard one, undertaken with many shared laughs and tears. Anique and Saskia are very proud and lucky to have great team members whom they can rely on. We are confident that our team will reach our goal. The tears, pain, blisters and sweat will definitely be worth it to contribute to a better world.
We are proud to introduce you to our team members:
Anique van Walsum
"LIVE THE BEST LIFE YOU CAN!"
Passionate about nature, wildlife, sport and healthcare.
Years ago, ocean rowing crossed my path and since then, the idea of rowing an ocean didn’t leave me anymore. Although the ups and downs of daily life sometimes pushed the idea to row the Atlantic ocean more to the background, the desire and inspiration were growing stronger and stronger.
People around me declared me totally insane and the quest to find someone like-minded took a while…
Till Saskia and I bumped into each other. We had a connection and the plan was set…. Standing together here in the middle of all preparations needed for the challenge of a lifetime! World's Toughest Row 2024, here we are!
The ocean and marine life are magical to me. But… the wild, endless unpredictable ocean has no mercy at all! She makes you humble and makes you realise that we are just a tiny part of the big picture. Despite that, I am even more willing to push my limits and set off together with Saskia to fix this crossing to Antigua safe and sound.
“LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE”
A true love for sports and always busy doing all different kinds of sports. With a Spanish father, a Dutch mother and an older brother I grew up in the Netherlands. I am a two times UFC (Ultimate Forces Challenge) winner and used to tough challenges. I accomplished a 48 hour challenge with "Meet The Marines" 3 times! (2019, 2021 and 2022).
A few years ago I saw an appeal from a team with a mission. A mission to row across the Atlantic ocean. Lots of people who know me had seen this appeal and pointed it out to me. I found this idea very appealing and was encouraged by the fact that my friends thought I could do this. I was curious and the more I read and heard about crossing an ocean in a rowing boat, the more enthusiastic I became.
After reading a quote from Bibian Mentel: “Do something with your life that you really like. Make and collect memories", I suddenly realised what I had to do. But rowing across an ocean is never ever easy. It is often said that reaching the start line is just as much of a journey as completing the Atlantic crossing itself. I failed two times while building a team. Fortunately I crossed paths with Anique. When we met we instantly knew that crossing an ocean together is meant to be. Three tries in a row. We shall succeed!
PROJECT MANAGER: Marko Schanssema
"ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE"
Born in 1968 and son of a Royal Netherlands Marine, I have gained international experience in the area of project management. My work in the areas of performance improvement coaching and project management in (mainly) the energy sector has taken me throughout Europe (onshore and offshore) during the past decades. In addition to my civil career, I am a Reservist Navy Officer Specific Expertise (current rank: Lieutenant), supporting the Royal Netherlands Navy on a project by project basis, thereby utilising my industrial knowledge and expertise gained in the civil environment. Not shying away from a decent challenge, the World's Toughest Row 2024 is definitely one in which I hope to support and inspire the ‘Atlantic Stormtroopers’ team to realise their best preparation and execution possible for this unique event. All of this underpinned by the Marine Corps core values Unity, Strength and Dedication.
Chairman, networker and promotor: Jan Fokke
Entrepreneur, adventurer and public speaker. I share the stories of my expeditions and the lifehacks I have picked up along the way, for many extraordinary businesses and universities.
I am triggered by dreamers like Anique and Saskia who try to their best to realise their dreams. I am drawn to the sparks in their eyes. It is an honor to support them as chairman of their foundation and advise them in matters like fundraising and media attention.
I am driven by a desire to inspire and enable others to leave the couch and become a happier person by realising their dreams and feeling more alive. You only live once – as far as we know – and you should make it an unforgettable life. In my role here I can help Anique and Saskia inspire others.
I especially love (mountain) trail running and mountain biking. In March 2023 I will run and climb all 282 Munro's in Scotland, mountains of over 3.000 feet. Hence the photo with the blue face, inspired by Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
I do this simply because I am a coward and don't have the guts to do what Anique and Saskia will endure. I wish them the best of luck and will support them to my best capacities!