Windsurf: Batu AKYOL
Undeniably, windsurfing is one of the sports reminding us that the sea is not only meant for swimming. We have talked to Batu Akyol of our Institute, a representative of this exciting sport, involving a struggle not only with the wind, but also with the sea. What Batu Akyol especially underlines about windsurfing here is that the campus lies geographically so close to areas where windsurfing can best be practised, so he recommends everyone interested to at least give it a try.
Hi, Batu. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hello. I’m Batu Akyol. I am a freshman student at IZTECH Mechanical Engineering Department. I have been doing this sport for 5 years and for the past 4 years, I have been a windsurfing instructor as well as taking part in races.
Please give us some information about the races you have taken part in and your results.
We are now in Alaçatı for the 5th phase of Pegasus Windsurfing League. Our races are on a league basis with each phase taking place in a different place, where each surfer accumulates his points. At the end of the 5th phase, which is actually the final phase, athletes find their places on the list according to their accumulated points. At the 5th phase, I rank the 2nd among all other athletes in Turkey and hope to maintain this position at the end of the league.
How and at what age did you start this wind surf adventure?
I have been into this sport since I was 5. Before starting windsurfing, I swam professionally for 5 years and played water polo for a period of 3 years. I first started windsurfing in July 2008 at a windsurfing school in our neighborhood. I started racing at the end of my second year.
Have you set yourself any specific goals in this sport or let me put it this way: Do you have any high ambitions?
My biggest ambition is to teach this sport to interested ones and make them love it.
What are the difficulties involved if you want to do this sport in our country? Are wind surfers encouraged in any way? Is windsurfing a developing sports branch in Türkiye?
The biggest challenge about this sport is the expensive equipment involved. For a fully recommended racing costume and equipment, you need a budget of 15.000 Euros. Sometimes, companies can volunteer to sponsor athletes, which is the most important encouragement for us. For example, Pakkens has been my sponsor firm for 2 years. I think there has recently been an increase in Turkey in the number of people who are interested in this sport. Hopefully, windsurfing will become more common in our country in time.
Which races have you taken part in? Please also tell us about your prizes.
I have been taking part in the Pegasus Windsurfing League organised by TYF for 3 years. In these races, I hold 3 event first places and a third place in the general evaluation. Apart from this, this year I have taken part in International Youth World Championship (IFCA) for the first time and I have come the 16th in world ranking. Also, I have won several prizes in special races organised by firms like Redbull.
Is there a memory you cannot forget?
Of course, I do. It was the last day of the last phase of the races in 2012 and we were waiting for the wind on the sea to calm down. However, the referees couldn’t give the start for the races as the wind constantly changed. Suddenly, we saw a black cloud in the distance moving toward us. The referees immediately warned us to come back to the shore as soon as possible, but before we could make it to the shore, a very big storm captured us. I couldn’t see even a distance of 5 meters and I must admit the rain drops were a real pain in the neck. Half an hour later, I was able to reach a wave breaker and had to wait for half an hour for the storm to end. When the storm was finally over, rescue boats arrived and took us back to the club. When we got in, everyone was searching for the 3 surgers who had got lost. I really don’t think I can ever forget about this challenging moments.
What is necessary for this sport? Do you have some advice for your peers as an athlete who started this sport at a much youger age?
First of all, you need really good training to be a windsurfer. After training, you can either rent or buy the equipment needed. If you love the sea and like action, then windsurfing is the sport for you.
Interview: Okutman Doğan EVECEN
Photos: Uzman Evrim YAKUT
Video: Emrullah DEMİRASLAN
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