Between and 1952 and 1964, Rik Verbrugghe was the dominant kayaker in Belgium, winning numerous national titles, both individually and in the K2 with Germain Van De Moere. The two also achieved international success, winning the 1958 K2 World Championships - Belgium’s first and only (as of 2009) world title. A year earlier, they had grabbed a bronze medal at the Europeans. Verbrugghe never medalled at the Olympics, but was a finalist in 1952 and 1956. He had hoped to do well in his last Olympics (1964), but was duped when the Belgian Olympic Committee forgot to ship his boats, and Verbrugghe ended up competing in a loaner. To make things worse, he was also not entered in the K1 1000 m due to an oversight. Already during his career, Verbrugghe ran a barber shop in Mechelen, and he continued to work there until shortly before his death. At one point, he could count cyclists Eddy Merckx and Patrick Sercu among his clientèle.