Culture & Travel

27 August 2023

We've unquestionably arrived at one of Türkiye's trendiest vacation spots. Alaçatı, a small village of immigrants that remained relatively unknown until the 1990s, now attracts millions of visitors to its streets every year. The catalyst for this growth was windsurfing. Alaçatı can rightly be called a wind haven with its iconic windmills and windsurfing culture. In this article, we'll address all your inquiries about windsurfing in Alaçatı. Let's dive into our content without any further delay. Happy reading!

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Alaçatı's Enchantment

To start off, let's delve a bit into Alaçatı's journey. The seaside area of what's now known as Alaçatı Port has been a settlement since ancient times, referred to as Agrillia. The heart of Alaçatı on land started to take shape with the arrival of a tribe named Alacaat during the Ottoman period. This tribe was part of the military organization. The seaside location, once home to the Greeks, transformed into Alaçatı in the 1830s when Greeks from the islands settled here. These settlers faced hardships, including a devastating earthquake in 1881, yet managed to thrive by working in vineyards, olive groves, olive oil production facilities, and aniseed cultivation. The stone houses that now symbolize Alaçatı were meticulously built between 1850 and 1890. Subsequently, the population reached 12 thousand, leading to the establishment of a municipality in 1873. After the foundation of the Republic, it persisted as a village inhabited by Turks who arrived from the Balkans during the population exchange, up until the 1990s.

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Dance of the Wind

Alaçatı boasts a windy climate for about 330 days a year. In the 1990s, the destiny of this village took a turn when surfing enthusiasts discovered its exceptional wind conditions. The winds in this bay are so potent that world-renowned surf schools have set up branches here. The intensity of the wind doesn't just accommodate windsurfing but also lends itself to parasailing. Gliding meters above the sea while parasailing and executing daring maneuvers and flips, culminating in a splashdown in the sea, guarantees an exhilarating surge of adrenaline. Windsurfers often outpace motorized boats that compete with them for speed in these gusts. In the wind-rich environment of Alaçatı, a windsurfer can reach speeds of 40-50 kilometers per hour. The stretch of sea in front of the surf schools near Alaçatı Port is relatively shallow and flaunts a Caribbean-esque hue. Even when you're a considerable distance from the shore in this turquoise-hued, semi-circular, shallow expanse swarming with surfers, you'll find yourself waist-deep in water upon taking a plunge. That's precisely why nearly all surf schools are stationed in this area, and surfers of all levels train in this expansive, semi-circular, shallow zone. Furthermore, this bay doesn't solely embrace windsurfing and parasailing; sailing is also a thriving pursuit. Optimist, small boats equipped with a single sail, used by youngsters aged 7 to 14, can be spotted alongside the surfers in this bay. Not to be excluded, Laser sailboats, solo vessels popular among young adults, continue honing their skills here. In short, Alaçatı's legendary wind caters to everyone.

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Battle with the Waves

Both sailing and windsurfing present genuine sea challenges. While falling into the sea is a rarity in sailing, it's a different story in windsurfing. Unlike sailing, windsurfing demands you to engage in this battle with the waves while standing upright. Due to the significantly higher speed and tempo compared to sailing, being well-acquainted with the water is an absolute prerequisite in windsurfing. Nonetheless, Alaçatı's semi-circular shallow area, coupled with the persistent winds, extends a substantial advantage to surfers.

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Meeting the Breeze

We had a little chat about catching the wind and the thrill it brings. So, how do we get to this point? First and foremost, we gotta head to 12500 Street, which is the extension of Çamlık Road, without making any turns into Alaçatı center. Just keep going straight south without veering anywhere, go under the Izmir-Çeşme Highway, and when you hit a bend, the exact spot changes based on which surf school you're aiming for. In Alaçatı, there are surfing activities on both sides of the bay. The left side of the bay is generally desolate and empty. You'll need to continue through the land. On this side, you'll find a windsurfing school and Alaçatı's parasurfing school. Our national pride, Çağla Kubat, established Alaçatı's oldest windsurfing school on this side. On the flip side, you've got all the fancy hotels, beaches, marinas, and most of the surf schools. The bay wraps up with a creek, and this creek flows towards Çeşme's Vali Kutlu Aktaş Dam. Until a decade ago, the area where the bay terminates was a zone of reeds and swamps. With the construction projects, canals were dug in this reed area, and houses sprouted around them. Hardly any windsurfers or sailboats pay a visit to this zone where the bay concludes, neither in the past nor nowadays. Where the bay opens up to the vast sea, it treats us to a breathtaking view of the horizon. Typically, windsurfers tend to stick around their designated area and don't venture beyond.

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