In spring the passionate freestyle windsurfer Erik Hakman left cold Sweden and opted for some warmer regions. He decided to spend 2 months on the beautiful central Aegean island of Naxos, which is definitely one of the Greek hotspots for the freestyle scene. Now Erik released a video with some windsurfing action from his stay in Greece. In addition the video we had a chat with the Swedish free sailor, who dedicates his life to freestyle windsurfing.
Swedish freestyle windsurfing addict Erik Hakman with great action from Naxos, Greece 2017
Interview with Erik Hakman about Naxos, Greece:
Continentseven: How is the life on the island of Naxos?
Erik Hakman: The good life! My two months on the island were just great; mellow, easy days with loads of windsurfing and amazing food.
Continentseven: When where you there? And did the Meltemi already kick in?
Erik Hakman: I got there mid-April, which is technically off season, meaning that the Meltemi has not settled in properly yet. However, you still get spells of Meltemi wind that work just as well as the high season summer conditions. What’s so special about the Meltemi is how steady and predictable the wind is. Stam (Prompoinas) and I started one of our sessions in your average 30 knot conditions (fluctuating between 28 and 32 knots), and as the day went on the wind kept picking up to somewhere in the high 30s. When Stam pointed it out to me I was just amazed by how there were no gusts, just a relentless wall of wind pushing past the 600-meter-long reef outside the bay. The same phenomenon occurred every Meltemi day after that, and I can, without a doubt, say that I’ve never had as easy, forgiving, strong wind conditions as on Naxos.
Continentseven: Are the conditions ideal for freestyle windsurfing (compared to Bonaire, Boracay, Brouwersdam or “Shitbay”, your home spot)?
Erik Hakman: First off, I like that fact you mentioned Shitbay alongside renowned favorites such as Bonaire and Boracay! Besides the steady winds there’s a bunch of features that make Naxos a fantastic freestyle spot: There’s the big open bay where you can find everything from perfectly flat water to deep, clean, very „ponchable“ chop. Then there’s Laguna Beach Park, located on the left-hand side of the big bay. The Beach Park is a small bay where – on a solid Meltemi day – small wave sets push through a narrow bottle neck between an island and a mountain to take the shape of perfect kickers that let you boost to the best of your ability. In terms of improving my riding, my strong wind game certainly took a turn for the better during those 40 knot days. I had quite a bit of time to work on my light wind skills as well, and managed to come up with a few new sail-throws and fun combos. Overall great pre-season training, I would say.
Continentseven: Which gear setup is your main choice?
Erik Hakman: The Starboard Flare 93 and Avanti Echo 4.8m combo has an amazing wind range, and serves as my go to set-up for most conditions. The day we were shooting for the video was something else though, and I got to put my new favorite, the Echo 4.4m, to the test, in everything from 30 to 40+ winds.
Continentseven: Where do you stay and how are you moving around?
Erik Hakman: I stayed at a nice little apartment complex just 15 minutes by foot from Laguna Beach Park. Downtown is no more than 10 minutes away. Given the short distances I didn’t really need any other means of transportation.
Continentseven: Did the local windsurfing scene welcome you friendly? And is the greek windsurfing scene alive?
Erik Hakman: I’ve had the opportunity to experience the authentic way of life on Naxos thanks to my friends Stamatis Promponas, Anastasia Chioti, George Nomikos (the Laguna Beach Park windsurf center crew), and their friends. One of the most memorable experiences has got to be the Easter party with Stam’s and Anastasia’s extended families. Imagine the size of a classic European Christmas buffet, double that, and you’ve got the picture. More than 10 courses, excluding dessert. For a guy who likes to eat that’s hard to top!
The local scene is definitely alive and kicking! Greek windsurfers are so passionate about the sport and their favorite spots, and that just makes it all the more fun to ride with them.
Continentseven: How is your Greek language, did you learn some?
Erik Hakman: Oh yeah, I’d say I’m getting there, although right now my Greek is very much just bits and pieces. I can manage a half decent conversation and even get through a successful windsurfing lesson with Stam’s and Anastasia’s 2- and 4-year-old sons. That should count for something, right?
Continentseven: Sure that’s already quite good and did you find time to explore the island a bit and what are your top 3 hot spots (not only for windsurfing) to mention?
Erik Hakman: Hmm, that’s a tough one. Naxos is such a beautiful island. I did get around quite a bit together with my friend Lennart Neubauer and his mother Iris, but my top pick has got to be Laguna Beach Park. That’s where I spent most of my days, not only because of the windsurfing, the place has such a great vibe. Second up is Naxos town, where you can find many classic monuments to see and great local restaurants to eat at. Last on the list is sort of a bucket list thing that I never really got to tick off; hiking Mount Zeus, which at 1003 meters of elevation is the highest peak of the Greek Cyclades. Ah well, just another reason to come back!
Continentseven: For whom is Naxos the ideal windsurfing location?
Erik Hakman: Pretty much anyone that enjoys windsurfing in a scenic environment with fantastic conditions, no matter if your fix is freestyle, freeride, slalom, jumping, or all of the above. If you’re new to the sport I strongly recommend a lesson with George at Laguna Beach Park. He’ll get you up and riding in no time, and make sure you have a good laugh while he’s at it.
Continentseven: Thanks for the interview and your insider infos about Naxos.
You can follow what Erik is up to on his Instagram account: @ErikHakmanS1988