In mid 2017 Makis Kalaras, a three time Paraolympic competitor and Silver Medalist, endured a severe injury to his bicep tendon, rendering his arm almost completely useless, leaving him with only one fully functional limb. No better time to set his sights on going to the Winter Paraolympics in South Korea in March of 2018. This is the story of his journey through rehabilitation, physiotherapy and qualifying for the games.
In late November (2017) Katerina and the Greece Has Soul team hatched a plan to go to VIKOS GORGE to perform an aerial dance. It would be the result of a wish of Katerina’s – broadcast on live television earlier that autumn. Turns out the people from the Zagori Excellence Network (ZEN) had their eyes peeled when Katerina made the announcement. So they called us in.
With snow all over Greece and strong northerlies bringing in some super low temps, we decided to kick off the season with a little home shred. For Athenians that usually means Parnasso or Kalavrita, but the truth is Athens has a much closer snowy spot. PARNITHA. Home to the former king’s estate, red deer, an archaic casino and a few decent snowflakes a year.
The last minute crew assembled in Athens and we headed up early. Hill Bill, Iason and I (Themi) parked the car just past the refuge and went for our inaugural run, from the top antenna base down to the refuge. It was Christmas eve so the mountain was more full than I’d ever seen it before. Families playing in the snow, lots of hikers and runners. Super cool to see it so busy. We kept walking up to the very top, strapped in and made our way through the thick trees.
After a half hour or so of trying to find our way through the forest, with lots of tight turns and some shallow rocky presents along here and there, we got back to the refuge. No day would be complete without a little jib sesh.
Night fell – hot chocolates and a gentle breeze all the way home…
Most people know Greece for its amazing beaches, delicious food and smashing plates. What you might not know is that there is an epic winter playground hidden away in its many mountains. This film follows the journey of Themistocles Lambridis through the Greek mountains over two seasons, making new friends, exploring the unknown side of this culture and uncovering some of Greece’s best kept secrets.
Music by Imam Baildi, 1000MODS, Planet of Zeus, the Velvoids, Mary’s Flower Superhead, Afrodyssey Orchestra, Black Hat Bones, The Killer Seas, Wisdom, Themistojesus, Souleance, Wild Kitten, Whereswilder, Chinese Basement, 63 High, Los Tre, Dirty Fuse, Last Drive, Hat Trick
Featuring: Spiros Badios, Vasilis Koutoumatsiotis, George Chalkias, George Ouzounis, Gerasimos Avramidis, Themistocles Lambridis, Dimitris Maniatis, Vasilis Karageorgiou, Mike Styllas, Nikolas Plytas, Vasilis Koutlemanis, Miltos Tzimas, Vasilis Tsipos, Christian Manousaridis, Raymond Prentice, Tasos Takolas, Spiros Bellonias, Mikka Nikkanen, Dimitris Liossis, Antonis David, Daniel Petrov, Dimitris Dimitriadis, George Felekis, Alex Panagakos, Giannis Panagakos, Alexandros Aspromougos, Giorgos Priftis, Kostas Sirios, Jason Siadimas, Rodrigo Valsamis, Stelios Danourdis, Vaggelis Martinos, Babis Tsiros, Dimitris Tsiros, Kapetan Garidas, Eva Patapatiou, Dimitris Pappas, Konstantinos Tzirvelakis, Yiaggos Pappas, Konstantinos Karmas, Marios Karpouzas, Christos Karpouzas, Nick Dimitriaids, Christos Boukoros, Trantafylos Triantafylou, Konstantinos Lyketsos, Giannis Kotileas, Ivan Furkov, Leonidas Spiropoulos, Aristides Vergos, Alex Nikoletopoulos, Apostolos Dianelos, Alexis De Tarade, Antoine Baduel, Anto Brotto, Remy Barreyat, Mike Handford, Jess Oundjian, Giannis Papachristou, Christos Makridis, Giannis Sampson, Teo Galinidis and more…
Directed by: Themistocles Lambridis Colorist: Dimitris Lambridis Sound Design: Joe Hudson Edited by: Themistocles Lambridis, Spiros Badios
If you liked this you might like –
Last Sunday we managed to get a ton of warm winter clothes donated for refugees. The clothes have already arrived and are being distributed by TruckShop in Thessaloniki, and hopefully some fingers and toes will be a bit warmer this winter!
Huge thanks to Katerina Soldatou and her amazing aerial dancers, LATRAAC Skate Park and Canteen and everyone who came down to enjoy a tasty beverage in the sun!
Missed the event? Don’t worry, you can take your warm winter B Sides to the donation program at Khora in Athens. Find them here – www.khora-athens.org/donate/
Stay tuned for more mini-events on www.thethingaboutgreece.com
Ευχαριστούμε και το Βαλάντη Χατζίας για τις φωτογραφίες σκέιτ!
Also check out
Katerina Soldatou at www.aerialeverafter.gr
Latraac at www.facebook.com/LATRAAC/
Truckshop at www.facebook.com/freedomofchoiceproject
Riders Fro Refugees at www.facebook.com/ridersforrefugees
Ahhh the boat trip. It all started in Athens as an idea to take Ben Bowd and another rider to some uncharted spots around the Greek islands. Initially Dimitris Softas was supposed to join us, but unfortunately couldn’t make it so sent his protege Lykourgos instead. I met Lykourgo (Wolfy) at the dock as his sponsors We Ride Local rolled in straight from Raches in Northern Greece. He was this dishevelled little kid, who had obviously spent a lot of time in the sun, and just oozed energy.
We left the port in a hurry to blast through the oncoming storm and make it to Mykonos by the morning. That of course never happened. We did get to Mykonos eventually, but the storm most certainly hit us. As the winds started to pick up and the stars were covered by clouds, everything started to go wrong. The sail got jammed as we were overpowered, so we were literally on edge until we decided to force it. In a rush to take it down it tore a 1 meter hole in the bottom. Then the man overboard signal goes. Ben is nowhere to be found and most of the crew were zombied out on dramamine. The boat was now swaying almost along a 100 degree pivot, with waves crashing, and we were missing a person. The alarm was so loud though that even the deepest sleepers were woken, and luckily so because just as we were about to panic Ben shows up out of the spare cabin at the front of the boat, “just coming to get a biscuit” he said.
Over the next 12 days we travelled around 4 incredible islands in the Cyclades, fixed our sail, met some amazing people and did some heavy riding.
So in May of 2016 we set off on a journey to find out more about kitesurfing in Greece. After some buddies tipped us off to some of the most influential riders in the country we set off towards Lefkada to meet Ben.
He had picked up a couple wins (actually more like all of them) since the beginning of the kite surfing championships here back in 2008. Seemed like a good place to start. At first he seemed like this shy, introvert kid who loved playing with big machines. A few hours in we realised he had a lot to say so we got talking… Turns out Ben is this dyslexic mechanical genius, who left school at the age of 14 to work with his old man renovating houses, and eventually repairing boats down in the local boat yard. He’s the kind of guys who can build a shopping mall out of a paper clip. And the kitesurfing… wow. It was like I was watching someone dancing on the water. The way he moved his body and his relationship with his board and his kite resonated in me the connection between a dancer and the stage, or even a partner.
The whole dancing thing really stuck with me throughout filming with Ben. It was only a few months later though that Ben would reveal he had in fact done classical ballet for almost ten years. Once kitesurfing was in the picture though he dropped the tutu for the board and focused his energy there instead. No wonder he moves like a dancer.
– Be sure to check out the Full Series here –
Speaking of dancers, the next rider to join the project was Lykourgos Neofotistos – this firecracker little kid from Chalkida, who could probably export some of his energy to China and still have enough to climb the great wall a few times over. The first time we met him was actually at the dock where we were about to board a sailboat set to explore some hidden spots around the Cyclades. The guys from We Ride Local had been an active part of this project since the get go, and when they suggested Lykourgo (Wolfy) as a second rider we were excited to see what he had to bring to the table.
Turns out Ben and Wolfy were like bread and butter. They instantly clicked and lucky for us because the rest of the boat trip was rocky as hell! But that’s another story.
After getting to know Ben a little better, we found out Tom was going to be back in his home of Lefkada for the summer. So we went back to Ben’s hometown to meet his best riding buddy and equal in the competitive rankings. For how quiet and shy he can be, Tom is definitely a powerhouse on his kite. He throws low tricks and stomps huge rotations, and almost makes Ben look bad. Together these two are amazing to watch… One session in Agios Nikolaos they decided to throw some doubles, and landed a pretty epic double KGB. It was clear these two go hand in hand…
– Be sure to check out the Full Series here –
Aaaaaaah… The Handsome Stallion – The Ace of Spades and the Tooth Fairy all rolled into one.
Dimitri is old school, although he isn’t much older than the rest of the boys. He’s just got that hardened style… dignified and classic. The first time I ever saw him ride was in Drepano – throwing super stylish grabs like they were going out of fashion. Simply perfection. No wonder Lykourgo looks up to him… His local kite spot is Raches, where Lykourgo rides too, and no need to say – these guys are serious bros.
Youri Zoon, 2 times world champion and super influential rider on the Kite scene worldwide. He’s been coming to Greece to kite for a couple of years now, he says he likes the food and the wind, in that order. We were lucky enough to catch up with him in Santorini and go for one of the most epic sessions on the whole production. 1st time riding the CALDERA Volcanic Crater… Of course it was off to Drepano before the wind died down completely, as he couldn’t leave without saying a quick hi to his buddies there.
– Be sure to check out the Full Series here –
What’s it like to kitesurf in a country like Greece? Where you get about 9 months of prefect wind, are surrounded by beautiful waters and the temperatures… let’s face it, never really drop too far. Well who better to ask than the 4 best riders in the country… So we packed our bags, loaded up all our camera gear and went on a mission to discover the best spots to ride, the best tricks and the most epic locations around Greece…
Wind & Water is the kind of project that takes on a life of its own. In fact I find this is the case with all projects that lead to something good. Roughly 6 months of work on this bad boy, spread over 2 years, with lots of ups and downs, and lots and lots of helping hands.
It took us to a whole bunch of different spots around Greece, and got us into all sorts of pickles, like that time our sail got torn in the middle of a storm or that time we got chased by the… never mind. From Lefkada to Evia and the Cyclades islands to Costa Navarino, we heard the same words repeated over and over and over again until I literally couldn’t bear it any more… “Λες να βάλει αέρα;” – “You think it’s gonna blow?”.
And so in light of getting this bad boy wrapped up, I tip my hat to the crew: Alex, Dimitri, Ben, Lykourgo, Softa, Tom, Youri, Peter, Billo, Oresti, Luke, Thomas, Rami and everyone else. Keep on pumping you crazy beasts…
Thanks to VICE Greece and Netwix for their help in producing this, and Loukas Zorzos for the graphic design. Now go watch the whole series on their web channel by clicking here – www.netwix.gr/thethingaboutgreecewindandwaterbyvice