On 24 and 25 September, Agios Nikolaos, a coastal town on the Greek island of Crete, will be hosting again one of the biggest SUP events in Greece – Agios Nikolaos on SUP 2022. This is the 7th edition of the event and every effort has been made to provide both athletes and visitors with a premium SUP show experience with a prize pot of €6.000. The competitions and award ceremony will be held in parallel with the Cliff Divingevent at the Lake of Agios Nikolaos.
TotalSUP caught up with Mikhalis Farsaris, Head Organiser of Agios Nikolaos on SUP, to find out more about this scenic event attracting the world’s top athletes.
Hi Mikahlis, welcome to TotalSUP! Could you tell us more about yourself and the structure behind the organization of Agios Nikolaos on SUP?
I am the Head Organiser of Agios Nikolaos on SUP and Chairman of the municipal company that manages the marina and several beaches in the area. I have been windsurfing for many years all around the world and in 2007 my friend Thanos Karaiskos introduced me to the world of SUP.
This year’s event is dedicated to Thanos Karaiskos, the father of SUP in Crete, a pioneer, who had contributed significantly to the development of the sport in Greece.
The municipality of Agios Nikolaos is a mature tourist destination. Its wonderful coastline boasts mainly five star hotels but the area is also accommodating guests on a lower budget. The municipal company, the municipal sport and culture organisation along with the local SUP clubs are organising this event with the main focus on attracting audience and to advertise our great hospitality and beaches.
What’s the story behind the Agios Nikolaos on Sup event?
Agios Nikolaos translates to Saint Nicholas. We launched the event in 2015 and named it “Agios on SUP”. It became immediately one of the two main SUP events in Greece. Since 2017 it has become bigger and has been attracting international athletes from all over the world and it is now in its 7th edition. There was a gap in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Location, Location, Location!
The town sits partially upon the ruins of the ancient city of Lato pros Kamara. It was one of the most important Doric city-states in Crete and is considered as the best preserved city of the Classical era. It is a unique site, in terms of historical significance and natural beauty.
Another impressive site whose history captivates both tourists and locals is Spinalonga island. Opposite the small seaside village of Plaka and next to Elounda, the stone-built island looks like a fortress floating on the blue waters of the bay of Elounda. A true historical jewel.
The wider area of the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos is filled with small coves, long sandy beaches and hidden bays with crystal clear waters. *
What are the local conditions like and what type of SUP racing is expected on the 24 and 25 September?
Our coast is facing Mirabello Gulf and it is a high wind destination. Our most preferred sessions are of course downwind. At the end of a downwind run, in the beaches of Kalo Chorio, one may have fun with 0.5-1m waves during Summer and of course much bigger in Winter. Since our coastline has many little bays and the NW winds are side offshore, most of the beaches are protected from the high wind and waves so it is possible to paddle along the coast on flat water.
The long distance race with a northerly wind, starts from the monumental, iconic Spinalonga Island and runs along the coast and finishes in the sea lake of the town of Agios Nikolaos. The wind is mostly North west so the classic 14 km race consists of many different legs with down wind with small bumps, side wind, upwind or even no wind on flat water, making it a really hard race!
If the wind turns to South then we start from the south part of the gulf on flat water and we end again in the lake of Agios Nikolaos after 8 km of fun riding bumps all the way until one enters the port. There is every year a debate whether we should also have the fun downwind run of 8 km with the north wind too but in the end the iconic Spinalonga start and the finish at the lake wins!
Besides the long distance run, we organise every year sprint and technical races that usually only Greeks compete. This year on the same weekend the famousCliff Diving eventis run on the same weekend, with thousands of spectators attending the show. So we decided that we will also organise this year the Sprint Final for men and women to be held in front of this audience, at night with lights, giant led screen, live tv, etc! The top men and women that participate on the long distance that are going for the 6000€, this year have to take part in another discipline, either the Sprint or Technical!
Many top athletes will view the event as the perfect destination to unwind after the ICF SUP Worlds. Do you provide a board transport service from Poland?
Yes, we have already posted a service from a third party on our social media and there are several cheap flights that take boards from Poland to Crete.
Should a rider need help with their boards they could contact us directly or even rent a board from the surf clubs in Crete. A complete list is sent upon request. We also help with accommodation most of our top athletes to make it easier to them.
Can you give us a sneak peek on who’s already confirmed?
Amandine Chazot, Bruno Hasulyo, Leo Nika, Natalya Novitskaya have already confirmed before registrations.
Thank you very much for your time and we can’t wait to see all the action!
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