Still looking for a destination for your next windsurfing trip? We’ve got you covered with our monthly Freestyle Spot Guides. This month we are taking a look at Naxos, a Greek island in the Aegean sea. And who better to take us around than European Youth and Tow-in Champion as well as Naxos local Lennart Neubauer (Starboard/Severne/MUF). Read on to find out about the logistics of getting to the island, the spots and of course when the conditions are best. Over to Lennart.
The lagoon in Naxos is one of the best all round windsurfing spots in the world. A 2 kilometer long reef protects from big waves and chop, making for perfect waist deep flat water conditions. There are multiple spots with all kinds of conditions around. Whether you do freestyle or wave – this spot has got your back! I personally have a very special connection to this place as I grew up on this island, and more importantly, made my first steps on a windsurfing board here. I went on to sail my first ever contest here as well, so a lot of emotions and great moments connect me to what is surely my homespot. If I had to choose to sail one spot for the rest of my life I would always choose the lagoon in Naxos, it hast just been a place where I have spend thousands of hours on the water and I’m really grateful for that.
“If I had to choose to sail one spot for the rest of my life I would always choose the lagoon in Naxos, it hast just been a place where I have spend thousands of hours on the water and I’m really grateful for that.”
Check out the EFPT Award winning “Mowgli the Windsurfer” – shot on Naxos and showing all the intricacies of this stunning location for freestyle windsurfing. Video by Guy Briche & Alex Stamataris
Getting to Naxos
The island of Naxos is a small Greek island in the middle of the Aegean Sea. There are a couple of ways to get there. The most common way is to book a flight to the capital of Greece, Athens. From there you can take a bus or a shuttle (a company called baggagement is the best option for transporting your board bags comfortably) from the airport to port Piraeus which is about a 1h drive. From Piraeus you can take the ferry to Naxos. Although Naxos has a small national airport, the planes are too small to take on big board bags, which is why the only option is to take the boat which takes between 3 and 6 hours depending on the company. A faster option is to fly to Santorini. Its quick and easy to get from the airport to the port (try Simos Transfer Santorini +30 6947684271) and the boat from Santorini only takes between 1 and 2,5 hours. The problem with this can be that if you are planning on coming pre or late tourist season, the number of flights from Europe to Santorini is limited. Once you are in Naxos, there is not much more you need to do to get on the water – the lagoon is only about 2 kilometres away. The best way to get around is by foot or bicycle, since all shops are pretty much walking distance.
Conditions and spots
The best period to visit Naxos wind-wise is between June and beginning of November. The later in the year it is, the more likely it is to get some heavy storms and big waves. On the other hand in June, July and August you will experience the consistent and warm meltemi wind almost always coming from the north (starboard tack). The main spot is of course the lagoon – a 2 kilometer long reef protects from big waves and chop, making for perfect waist deep flat water conditions. Next to this big lagoon there is a much smaller lagoon called Shaka bay, which, as you can imagine, is a dream location to learn Shakas. Heading a couple of hundred meters upwind from there, we find ourselves outside of the reef, where solid starboard tack waves roll in and allow for some fun starboard tack jumping and wave riding. Of course there are other spots on the island, besides the lagoon, too. A spot where I can guarantee close to 90% wind is called Mikri Vigla which is about 10km south of the lagoon. The spot is definitely more challenging as there is more chop and some kiters so it can get a bit crowded. Parking right on the street offers s short distance to the water there. The big plus though is that during the summer its alway about 10 knots more than in the lagoon due to the big thermal difference. Going more south, spots like Glyfada and Pirgaki offer smooth chop and super flat water. These do not always work though, since the wind needs to be more north east, and in the summer Naxos gets a lot of north west winds.
The island life and infrastructure
In the lagoon there are 3 main windsurf schools. I personally store my gear at Flisvos Sport Club – the most upwind of all schools. In the middle and the end you can find stations nr. 2 and 3, both called Laguna Beach Park. The Flisvos beach cafe is a great place to eat lunch between sessions. They also offer some pretty fancy accommodations right on the spot. For other accommodation you will find some really cheap places to stay on Airbnb, but you have to make sure that the place is close to the town. Furthermore there are mini markets a few hundred meters from the spot, which make for easy access to food and water. In case you plan on coming by van, you might want to consider sleeping over in Pyrgaki since it has a desert like environment with a lot of other van lifers to interact with.
The town consists of a really beautiful and old castle surrounded by shops, super markets, traditional taverns and much more. On the less windy days there are many activities to do so you will never get bored. Right next to the lagoon you will find Flisvos Watersports, where you can waterski, flyboard, wakeboard, and sometimes you might even find me doing tow in there! If you are into hiking then you might want to pay Zas mountain a visit. With a height of 1000m there are plenty of paths and caves to explore around it. For the adrenaline junkies there are two epic cliff jumping spots. One is located at the back side of the Apollo temple and one in Pirgaki, close to the spot I described before. And if you want to be even more active, you can rent a mountain bike and explore all of the above on it.
Hopefully all the mysteries around a trip to Naxos are solved now and you are excited to come practice your freestyle moves in the lagoon. I hope to see you here!
The Freestyle Pro Tour would like to thank Lennart for showing us around his homespot. Make sure to also check out our other spot guide to Jericoacoara here.
Pictures by Alex Grymanis unless otherwise credited.