Saturday, August 15, 2015

Karpathos, 2015

For more than 10 years, from my very first visit to this magic island, Karpathos has been my winter dream; a place you are longing for when days are short and nights freezing cold. Each summer, at least for a short while - and preferably for as long as possible - I have been able to fulfill that dream. And after each visit, in spite of any shortcomings, I know I will be back.

There is only one ferry, one boat, taking tourists and supplies from and on to the island - the legendary Prevelis. After boarding it, while watching familiar streets and houses of the port of Pigadia disappearing in the distance, I was thinking how strange is this passion of true (soul)windsurfers. It can take you far away from home, just to catch right gust of wind. It can fill your thoughts with blueness when everything is white around you. It can make you wonder about the meaning and purpose of anything else beside windsurfing. Or, if you are lucky, it can give that meaning and purpose to everything else.

Karpathos feels the climate rhythm of the Europe. The island is always sunny, always warm. But, if you are a windsurfer, you can sense the change in the wind. This years weather was strange. The Europe was either to hot, or to stormy. Consequently, I have never experience so many windless days as this summer. But, there is nothing to be worry about. As my friend Johan Huitema from Netherlands says: "Waiting for the wind is better than waiting for nothing." And, all in all, we didn't wait for too long. "No wind" on Karpathos usually means enough wind to have fun.

One of the reasons I like windsurfing so much is that you never stop learning. This year was no exception. I am returning home with many new insights. I have learned a lot from people I have met on Karpathos. The only problem is that I always get the feeling of needing just one more day to try this or that new thing I have learned about. The dream is always one day too short.

Maybe, that is exactly the reason why it is so attractive, and in the same time so utterly indescribable to outsiders. How can I tell you about the minute corrections in the stance; about the releasing or adding the pressure on the fin; about the details in trimming the lower batten or, in general, making the sail looks like it should look (the one thing I am never getting right, it seems)? There are only few people who would understand that, and, honestly, it may be that I am not one of them. But, I like to listen. I like to make small adjustment and make experiments, even if they are not practical or successful. One more pearl I have heard from a Karpathos friend from Norway, Morten Knutsen: "The beauty of windsurfing is that there is always one more door left unopened."

For me, it is more than one, for sure. But, I am young, and I still have time. I can learn. Until next year, on Karpathos.

The video below is basically inspired by the playful peace of music by Antonio Bazzini, La Ronde des Lutins (The Dance of the Goblins), played by violinist James Ehnes). The shots are taken on one busy day (thank you, Linda!), with lot of freriders and freestylers interfering with speedsurfers. If you look at the bay from the above for long enough, your head starts to spin a little, and all you can see are strange lines and forms made by seemingly chaotic movements of windsurfers. There are few interesting scenes to see, if you know what to look for. I am leaving to you to decide who are the goblins in this dance. :-)