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ONZ 5704 copy - The Island

The Island

Youri Zoon is a regular to Drepano, Greece, a favorite spot amongst freestylers for its butter-flat water behind a sand spit. This trip he also hit the road and headed south to some of the stunning beaches that have made Greece such a popular tourist destination over the years.

PHOTOS: Orestis Zoumpos
DJI 0358 - The Island

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to Greece, but I keep coming back for more. And I seem to arrive earlier every year. The 20th of March is a gamble since there is still snow on the mountains, and overnight temperatures drop to around 3 or 4 degrees Celsius. It feels like the normal Greek summer is still far away. A couple of days before my trip to Drepano, the forecast was starting to take shape, and it looked okay though nothing close to what it is usually in summer. I decided that if the forecast held we would do a road trip down south. Even after coming here for so many years I have never been to the southern Peloponnese region. We drew up a plan and set off for our first destination, Pylos.

ONZ 2575 - The Island

Spanos JLR provided us with a Landrover Defender 110 once again, perfect for loading all my Slingshot and Brunotti gear into. We had a three-hour drive to Pylos and its stunning, unusually shaped Voidokilia Beach. This had been on my bucket list of places to kite, and we scouted it to work out what wind direction we’d need to kite there – it’s a circular bay with a small opening so the wind needs to be a certain direction. I did set up my kite, but luck was not on my side yet. Instead we headed for a sunset session at another beach, which involved a bit of 4×4 driving… but at least we had the beach to ourselves. The next day the wind looked decent and the temperature was also going up. I had a session in the bay of Pylos and again we were alone on the beach. Then we headed to Voidokilia for a sunset session as the wind was in the right direction. I rigged up my 11m Slingshot Machine as fast I could, grabbed my Brunotti Youri Pro, and made the most of the sunset light and scenery.

ONZ 2799 - The Island

The next day we continued our journey to the incredible blue waters of Elafonisos, a tiny island in the south of the Peloponnese region. To get there we could choose between the regular toll highway and the old road from Kalamata to Sparta. Well, you can guess which one we took… It was way longer but well worth it, with amazing scenery and some history lessons on the way. Arriving at the ferry ‘port’ which was more like a dock, you could feel the beauty of Elafonisos already. It was a short five-minute boat ride over and a mere 100 meters from the ferry to the hotel – lucky I hadn’t stepped on the gas too hard. With it being low season not much was open, so we had breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same restaurant. I’d say we were their best customers…

That afternoon we start exploring the island. As it’s only about a 15km circumference it didn’t take long! But there are many different and stunning beaches to see. The wind was light, and to be honest the drive over had taken it out of me. Knowing that the forecast looked good for the days ahead, I had a little nap on the beach! The next day I decided the first place I wanted to kite was in front of the church – you can’t miss it as it’s at the entrance of the port when you come in on the ferry. We got some shots, and piqued the interest of the locals as well… I guess I was the topic of the day on the island! I then scored another sunset foiling session at perhaps the most beautiful beach of the island with crystal clear waters.

It was soon time to head back to Drepano and a prime looking forecast… pedal to the metal, though with a quick tourism stop first in Monemvasia, a fort town with a rich history, well worth a visit if ever you are in Greece. When we arrived in Drepano we had a massive lunch at our favorite place, Distinto, the place where we feast, but we had to be quick as the wind was filling in. After some fun days discovering the most stunning places I have seen, I was back at Drepano’s sand spit and it was time to get back into freestyle mode. I guess I know why I keep coming back to this spot – it always delivers and it feels like home…

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