The Greek Odyssey

As it turned out there’s surf off the coast of Crete. But it has been closely guarded by a group called the C.S.T. (Cretan Surfing Tribe). I was shocked that a group like this existed in such a special part of Europe – not known for having any waves.

The C.S.T. founder Tasos was the first surfer in the Mediterranean. He travelled through Hawaii in 1974 and then spent a month in Dog-town in 1975 where he picked up surf and skate culture. Their influence followed him back to his hometown on Crete. He surfed alone for decades on the island. When he would paddle out lifeguards would say to him “I am not going to save you.”  In Greek culture the sea is a dangerous place and surf was such a spectacle that the crowd would applaud for every wave he would catch.

For years the C.S.T. – which eventually grew to over 30 members – would keep their spots a secret. Photographs were forbidden. Outsiders were rarely invited. There were no surf reports in the beginning. They relied on the taverna owners who had restaurants near each break. Tasos and his crew taught them to recognize good surf and would call each taverna for the morning report. In turn the C.S.T. would haunt each establishment bringing friends, music, and cheer.

This island is magical, filled with myth and lore. As a young man I never thought that somewhere in the world could a place like this exist – still untouched by much of the modern world – where uncharted waves and ancient civilizations rule the landscape. Crete is a place that defines you. The mirror is not foggy like it usually is in any big city. It is just you clean and clear, and it brings the best and the worst to the surface.  Where the choice is to turn and run or stand your ground and deal with it.

The CST has helped me believe in the spirit of adventure and exploration.  I never thought that it was possible to name a surf spot in this day and age.  But it still is.

The Greek Oddysey was photographed, written and edited by Matt Wessen.