Spring was well upon us, and the media slowly took away our hopes of travelling freely around the world as we were used to. COVID 19 winter was heading our way but the weather was still warm, and every opened border attracted us as a magnet. Especially given the fact that this particular border was leading to an excellent surfing spot it was definitely not a difficult decision to make. We were travelling together with Nikola Bagarov, founder of Outframe Media. We met through Alex from the surf school in Limnos and his impressive portfolio includes the movies “Perception of Freedom” and “The Lost Vitosha”. Please do check them out! To say that I was impressed with his work is an understatement. After a quick phone call and a short coffee discussion we were travelling together to the Turkish Island of Gokceada.
The idea was to kitesurf, have some fun and combine the whole experience with a video a photo shoot for the promotional materials of Colour Monk. The exact idea behind the video was not clear yet but we had some fresh ideas, depending on the spot and the conditions. The recipe was clear: happy people, dressed in colorful monks with the never-ending summer on the background, kitesurfing & windsurfing and some unique footage of the shared experience and smiles in the water and on the hot sandy beach. During our initial meeting with Nikola it became immediately clear that we share views on topics like freedom of spirit, respect for nature and dedication to everything we do including our favorite hobbies. While we were travelling, we exchanged some ideas on the concept behind the shoots. Gokceada is around 600km away from Sofia, with a short ferry ride from Kabatebe to one of our favorite islands. The sea voyage takes about an hour depending on the wind conditions and once you are on the island you have about a 30min drive to the small village of Eshelek, which is where the wave spot is located. As we drove through the night, we needed a bit of rest upon arrival, after which we pumped the kites and got into the water. The conditions were great, and the wind was strong. Really strong! The forecast was good with the Meltemi winds blowing non-stop from dawn till dusk. There was one more reason for picking this location. Alex and Eli were already on the island with some more of our friends. I have no idea if someone has ever tried to convince surfers to do something different than riding in those perfect conditions, and this proved to be the most difficult task for me. Whenever you see the perfect waves early in the morning and the constant strong wind, all plans of work are suppressed by the urge to prepare your equipment and rush in the water for that awesome sesh. At the end of which, you barely have stamina to eat and of course you go into the sweet discussion with your friends on how rad it was or what adventure you got yourself into.
The first videos we managed to get were during our favorite sunset sessions. Nikola got his Panasonic GH-5 with Olympus 12-40/F2.8 lens in a dome water-tight housing, got a helmet and went in the water. In the meantime, myself, Kalin and Alex were doing our best to ride around him, without drawing the videographer. I will just say, that the helmet served its purpose. There is no point in mentioning that the end results were stunning, and we had so much fun while doing it. When the sun set, we packed our gear and went back to our house in the nearby village for dinner.
The next morning, we went to the flat-water spot which is nearby as well with the idea to capture some early morning wind-surfing sessions. Our models for the day were Elitsa, Viki and Valeri. The last of whom was very difficult to persuade to leave the surfing and spend some time posing. It was an interesting day on the spot with strong offshore winds (blowing towards the sea). The wind direction and the position of the beach means that the water remains very flat and calm while the wind is still equally as strong, which is great for wind-surfing and freestyle kitesurfing. After we finished the session, we went to the nearby town of Gokceada for some lifestyle B-roll. We ate a gozleme each and it was time for the second water session. The spot of choice was the wave beach, right next to our house.
The wind there is on-shore (blowing from the sea towards the beach), which is perfect for beginner kite/windsurfers as there is no danger in being blown away into the open sea. We got some photos of the monks in the windy conditions. With or without hoodies, some 360s and a lot of smiles. Andjie, Pancho and Yuli took part that day as well as some more friends. In summary we managed to show how convenient the monks are even in very windy conditions. Nikola did some drone shots of the spot and the surroundings. We had an amazing seafood dinner at the fisherman port that night and dozed off, thinking about what the next day will bring our way. We met with Krisi (Kristian Kacarov) that night. He is one of Bulgaria’s best young kite-surfers, and he agreed to take part in the shoot for the next day. After a quick exchange of ideas between Nikola and Krisi, the plan was ready, and they went in the water. That night we went on a sunset exploration mission around the island and the results were some stunning photos and drone footage. Gokceada did not fail to amaze us, which seems to be expected.
And so, after several memorable days on the island filled with laughter, fun and loads of surfing we were off on the road again. But not before a final kunefe with dundurma on the way to the ferry, which by the way was nearly the reason for us to miss the ferry. That is how our Turkish adventure ended and remember to stay tuned for the video which is coming your way this summer!