Surf’s up for Turkey’s “calm city”
ÇANAKKALE – Anadolu Agency
Tourists are increasingly “catching wind” of Gökçeada - Turkey’s largest island – as an attractive surfing destination with
Nicknamed “calm city” (“cittaslow” in Turkish), the 297-square-kilometer island in the northwestern province of Çanakkale in the last few years has been making a name for itself in the windsport arena.
More tourists – especially from Istanbul, Izmir and Balkan countries – are visiting the island to windsurf or kiteboard.
Surfers go out in the early hours of the day to challenge gravity in the coastal region and catch a thrilling wind or wave.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, instructor Volkan Günel, who has a surf school in Aydıncık, said that he came to Gökçeada at the age of 30.
“I had a surf school on the Kilyos coast in Istanbul. I was wondering about this place - the wind, the terrain, and I fell in love when I came here. The wind and nature of Gökçeada are very good. When I came here from Istanbul I decided to open a surf school,” he said.
After opening the school, Günel said, he saw increasing interest in surfing every year.
“Kiteboarding is a nice sport. There’s a kite in the air, you control it over the sea, you jump and fly. Since it includes many sports such as wave surfing, bungee jumping and snowboarding, you feel very free. It is also very colorful, a sport you want to make as soon as you see it,” he added.
Günel said that people from all around Turkey come to Gökçeada for surfing.
“They come from everywhere like Adana, İzmir, Bursa and Ankara. There are people coming from Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, France and Austria, too. If a normal tourist season is two-three months, kitesurfing is a sport that is performed for 12 months a year.”
Thirteen-year-old Ozan Timur, who came from Istanbul to Gökçeada, said that surfing is a fun and action-packed sport.
Gymnastic teacher Cengiz Akaçık explained that they discovered Gökçeada in 2011, and added, “We are looking forward to coming here all year. We are here for kitesurfing. It is a beautiful island, like a paradise. Here we see foreign tourists more.”
Bulgarian surfer Vladimir Goranov pointed out that the sea of Gökçeada is warm and beautiful.
“We come here every year for two months. Gökçeada is beautiful. The most beautiful wind in the world is here.”