The beautiful island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea is the ideal spot for watersports. That is exactly what Mallis Alfredos thought when he started “Ride with the Gods”, a watersports training school at the Kastraki beach on the west side of the island. The turquoise waters, the sun, and sand could not be a better combination for the idea to set up the family-friendly “station” and offer guests a unique experience in water sports, windsurfing and stand up paddle.
The “Ride with the Gods” project started in 2014 and has since been making its guests feel part of the energetic team. The name itself proves this is not your everyday watersports station.
“The station started three years ago with the help of a former partner”, says Alfredos. “When we started this project, we decided to come up with a brand name that would encompass two descriptive words of our activity in relation to something typical of Naxos and to a greater extent our country.
We were aiming to create something fresh and nice-sounding that could communicate our product to a wider audience, young and old, expert surfers, but also people who had not been involved in the sport. The reason behind choosing the phrase “with the gods” had to do with ancient Greek mythology having frequent references to the island of Naxos, as the term “Zas” – and was, according to myth the birthplace of Zeus. Furthermore, the activities of the school depend on the winds, so in a sense, we needed the “favour of the gods”, he said.
Commenting on the decision to leave his career, Alfredos said the economic crisis forced him to think out of the box and become more extrovert. “Our generation was forced to become more extrovert, creative and escape from traditional forms of livelihood. When I completed my studies in the UK in the field of cinema, I started to work in different sectors of the traditional service sector. I soon realised the need to turn to more extrovert activities. Since the natural wealth of our country offers many opportunities for tourists and that we have already developed a know-how around these sports, which are popular in the summer, the decision to try an exportable product was relatively easy.”
As he says, the tourist sector can really benefit the local economy very fast, explaining that their business increases demand for a variety of products and services related to tourism. As he points out their school is mainly targeted at two types of people.
“Those who are already into windsurfing and want to rent equipment to do their favourite sport, as well as novices who want to try surfing. Our aim is on the one hand for the visitor to have a good time, enjoy some relaxing moments by the sea, as well as to introduce them to water sports”.
“Our clients are usually families, athletes, and couples. We provide equipment rental, safekeeping as well as learning services. Our room has wifi, shading space, showers, toilets and everything else someone needs to spend the day with us. Within a short walking distance, there are traditional taverns and accommodation for all budgets.”
He stressed that their fundamental philosophy is to offer a type of tourism that embraces nature and is eco-friendly, as the sport is dependent on the sea and clean beaches, making it an indispensable part of the business and their lives. “It is not merely an auxiliary part of our business, like those corporate social responsibility plans. We are not interested in mass tourism, but to create a boutique unit that is aimed at customers seeking something authentic”.
He makes it clear that the station offers lessons to complete novices for all ages and all skill levels. “We have the right equipment for all ages”, he points out, stressing that they place great importance on safety, as two rescue units are constantly standing by in case some customer needs aid.
So whether you are a seasoned surfer, a watersports aficionado or a beginner, this is the perfect station to “Ride with the Gods”.
Contact the station here: