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Daily Archives: Jul 30, 2013

By : Graham Colebeck

So I took myself away from the family for a day trip to Saunton in Devon just to surf the paddleboard. Glorious sunny day, consistent waves, would’ve loved to share it with the family in the end!!

Ben Ellis

After months of Stand Up Paddling in Brazil I am officially hooked. Unfortunately my board had to stay in Brazil, so I brought a new inflatable SUP from the Red Paddle Co here in the UK.

Here’s a little tongue in cheek footage from a recent session on the River Stort next to my apartment here in Hertfordshire. No waves (and plenty of weed), but still fun to get out and soak up the sun!

Thanks to Lukey for shooting the footage from the bank.

 

When many people think about watersports in Vassiliki, Greece and Turkey, they think about windsurfing and other wind sports. And yes they’re right as both spots offer great windy conditions. But like many spots around the world, the wind does not kick in until later in the day, providing ideal SUP conditions in the mornings. Perfect for SUP explorations, lessons and even SUP surfing if you’re lucky!  Freelance SUP & windsurf instructor Sam Ross has recently returned from a trip to Greece & Turkey with his 14ft SUP in tow! Find out how he does it, and what both places have to offer for those wanting to SUP.

A change in perspective, travelling with a 14 ft board to places I thought I knew well

Everyone who travels on planes with kit has a system. My system isn’t complicated but seems to have faired me quite well over the years. Pick the person who looks like they might let you off at check in, been overly nice, have everything ready and then make your bags look as light as possible when you pick them up. If shock horror you have to then put your bags on the scales then jam your leg underneath one end and hope they don’t notice.

My last two trips should have been no different apart from the fact I was travelling with an SUP rather than windsurf gear. Not any old SUP however but a 14ft Race Board! I hadn’t paid extra for it, I hadn’t booked it on as sports equipment and I was travelling with a low cost mostly orange coloured airline who have previously been my nemesis.

Luckily my race board is a Red Paddle Co 14ft Elite and once it’s been deflated rolled up in the bag and had the addition of a 3 piece paddle, pump, leash and a few clothes it was still under 20 kilos and just went on as my normal luggage.

This for me was a new spin on travelling with kit and whilst I was about to visit two locations very familiar to me the start of the trip was very different to normal.

Vassiliki

First stop the windsurfing mecca of Vassiliki. Famed for its strong and reliable afternoon cross shore wind ‘Eric’ Vass has long been a destination of every windsurfers list. It does however have another side. The mornings are almost always calm and the it has a incredibly picturesque coastline which is well worth exploring. Wild Wind, Club Vass, Neilson and Ocean Elements are all windsurfing and sailing centres which have now fully embraced SUP as their morning activity. It was great to be out there and rather be waiting for wind actively doing something I love in a beautiful environment.

I was there for a few days of instructor training but still managed to get a couple of paddles in to Agiofili which is a beautiful beach a 5km round trip from the beach. Most of the Centres do SUP safaris there and also offer a range of sessions from early morning fitness sessions, skills and introductory courses as well as tours.

Photos : Globalshots

Vass is almost always serene flat paddling conditions but if you do ever get a reasonable onshore there it can build up a rideable bit of swell pretty quickly. I was lucky enough to get one day in like this while I was there of fun SUP surfing conditions. It was also great to be able to use my 14ft board for a bit of downwinding, although I had to put the work in upwind to begin with.

Photo : Globalshots
 Photo : Globalshots

Turkey

The next stop on my European tour was Turkey, more specifically Ortakent near Bodrum. I had worked here for many years with Neilson and it still is my favourite travel destination. Fantastic food, loads of activities and plenty of places to explore always gave this place draw but it was it’s constant winds and great sailing areas that made it my top spot. So 14ft board in tow again I headed off wondering whether or not the board would stay in the bag.

The Meltimi is the wind that makes this part of the agean so popular for wind powered sports and is a little different to Vass. Rather than flicking a switch the breeze builds gradually through the day being strongest in the afternoon. This almost clockwork cycle in June and July gave me plenty of opportunity to paddle wind unassisted and unheeded in the early mornings.

The very first thing Ortakent has to offer is an island, which is pretty much like a big red button saying don’t press! You’re going to press the button and you’re going to paddle around the island. Luckily it’s a nice 4km loop.

Photo : Simon Hayhurst
Round the back of the Island. Photo : Simon Hayhurst

You can also paddle up into town and do a bit of exploration in the local marina. Whilst the local town of Bitez is only a short trip away. All of which are safari paddles on offer from the centre.

Photo-Nichola-Eliades
In town Photo : Nichola Eliades

What Ortakent and this area in general have a huge amount to offer, is Downwinding. The Meltimi is a pretty consistant force here in the summer blowing mostly in a north westerly direction making it easy to plan trips and the shape of the coast gives you lots of options for longer and shorted journeys.

The other thing that makes this possible is Turkey’s fantastic transport system more specifically the ‘Dolmush.’ Low cost large minbuses that run regularly enough not to have to worry about a time table and can be picked up from  the side of the road anywhere in the area. With a little bit of planning big paddles or downwinders are certainly something this area lends itself to as long as your paddling on something like my 14ft Red Paddle Co which then rolls back up into a bag at your destination.

Setting off on a downwinder early afternoon. Photos by Simon Hayhurst

Both locations were places I thought I new well and had already sampled everything they have to offer. However my recent trips have highlighted a whole new dimension to some of my best loved spots.

So what are you waiting for… role up your board, check it in and go paddling.

Thanks – Sam Ross

Big thanks to Neilson and Ocean Elements for getting me to both locations, Red Paddle Co for making an awesome board to paddle and travel with, and Palm for all the gear that stopped me frying in the heat.

For more information on Sam Ross and his SUP clinics and courses visit Sam’s website here.

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