Windsurfing on Karpathos | One of the best hotspots in the world

Karpathos is an island located in the Dodecanese, between Crete and Rhodes. A still unknown island where many traditions are still preserved. At the same time, Karpathos is one of the world’s best hotspots when it comes to windsurfing! Are you planning to go windsurfing on vacation? Then Karpathos is the place to be!

Windsurfing on Karpathos

Right next to Karpathos airport you will find the surfing paradise, located in the town of Afiartis. Thanks to the relief and the many fall winds, Karpathos is one of the best windsurfing spots in the world. The powerful winds from the make Afiartis a great windsurf spot. Especially in July and August when it is wind force 6 to 8 daily. Afiartis has 3 large bays for windsurfing, each with their own character.

Chicken Bay is a sandy beach that features shallow water. This makes it the perfect beach for beginners and people who want to practice new skills. More experienced surfers can surf through a channel into the other bays or out into the open sea. Next to Chickenbay you will find Gun Bay. Here you can go if you want to escape the shallow water and head out into the open sea. The sea here is wilder, with some small waves and there the wind is stronger than at Chicken Bay. The real pros windsurf on Devil’s Bay. The water on Devil’s Bay is flat and here you can really make speed! The ISWC Speed Windsurfing World Championships have also been held on Devils’Bay several times. I’ve been there a few times to watch. Very cool to see how fast they rip across the water.

Windsurfing on Karpathos

The best period for windsurfing on Karpathos

The windsurfing season starts in May through October when the windsurf rental companies open. The best period for windsurfing is in July and August because then the wind is constant. Outside these months the wind is a little less constant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t windsurf! Depending on your level of course. For a beginner, a slightly lighter wind can be just fine!

However, it is also busier during the periods of July and August, given the overlapping vacations and Karpathos is known for its good windsurfing spot. A tip is to go windsurfing around lunch time, as it is quieter then. This is around 1 p.m. or so.

Outside the windsurfing season, you can also windsurf if you have your own gear. However, the rescue boats are not active then, so you are really on your own. The water is also a lot colder, but in terms of wind you can still have great days.

Windsurfing Karpathos

Windsurfing tips

Always wear a T-shirt

I like a T-shirt when I’m windsurfing, but it’s also much better for your shoulders, which burn very quickly on the water. If you don’t have a surf t-shirt you can also just put on a normal t-shirt, it just stays wet a little faster, but otherwise it doesn’t matter.

Stay as close to the beach as possible

This does depend a bit on where you go windsurfing, but for Karpathos this is a very important one. The bay is a bowl and it is definitely recommended as a beginner to stay at the bottom of that bowl (the beach). If you windsurf back and forth you will eventually end up more and more at the top of that bowl.

Because further into the bowl it is deeper where you cannot stand, higher waves and the wind gets stronger. If you can’t get up out of the water yet, you don’t know how to windsurf back towards the beach, it becomes very difficult to get back up if you fall. So if you have windsurfed in one direction, walk/swim slowly back to the beach for a bit. Unfortunately, I have seen too many people who do not realize how far out to sea they suddenly are and then cannot windsurf/swim back because of the waves/wind. The resque boat comes to pick you up, sure, but believe me: you don’t want this!

Learn about the location where you windsurf

Every windsurfing spot is different, so be sure to study it before you hit the water. Where is the wind direction coming from and therefore which way should you surf? And also learn the rules of the water. Who has the right of way? So let’s study

Low wind learning

With windsurfing you need wind, but for beginners a wind is soon too strong, because the sail constantly flies out of your hands. So start practicing mainly in low winds like 4 to 5. This way you can quietly master the technique and if that goes well, you can go for the harder winds.

Don’t be afraid to fall

Yup, because this is definitely going to happen. Above all, try not to be afraid of falling, it is precisely when you are afraid that you often fall in a strange way, because you are going to force it. If you feel that you are going to fall, just let yourself go.

Provide (water) gloves

You may not need them the very first time, but once you are on your board and you start “playing” with the wind, gloves are a must. If you don’t, your hands will be covered in blisters and loose skin after an hour, and of course we don’t want that.

Strength Training

Do you know beforehand that you are going to windsurf? Then I recommend doing some strength training beforehand at least for your arms and back, because you will definitely need them when windsurfing!

There is more to Karpathos than windsurfing!

In addition to windsurfing on Karpathos, the island also offers other activities. Ion Club (formerly Mistral) offers mountain biking, climbing and yoga in addition to windsurfing. In addition, they organize barbecues and have a fixed evening during the week when they host a party. Of course, your visit to Karpathos does not have to be all about sporting activities. Above all, enjoy the diversity of beaches, restaurants and nature!

If you plan (and I definitely recommend!) to see more of the island than just the windsurfing spot, then I recommend renting a car or scooter, that way you can explore the island at your own pace!

Karpathos travel guide

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