My name is Effie Karin Vrakas, and I was born in Athens Greece, on July 20, 1992. I’m half French from my mother’s side and half Greek from my father’s side. I’m a Greek surfing ambassador in international championships and a world surf traveler. I also work as a fashion director and model. My passion besides surfing is running, dancing, cooking, and dreaming.
So far, my greatest achievement is having been 7th at the Asian Surfing Championship for the year 2013.
Being a Greek surfer, one of the biggest challenges I face is the inconsistent nature of the swells. As a result, surfers in Greece have to travel a lot in order to find somewhere to train.
Also funding for professional athletes is not available to surfers in Greece, and so the other main challenge that I face is finding a way to finance my surfing.
For me, the best feeling ever is when I catch a good wave and make good turns on it.
I try to follow the swells as much as I can (by following weather maps to find the best locations), so when I’m in Greece I travel to Peloponnese, the Greek islands, and to the east coast. When there are no waves I usually do pilates and jogging.
I would say that the key for me is being able to train in as many different places as possible, so that I can gain more experience. The more I travel, the better I surf.
I always feel constrained while competing by the time limit for the heat.
Someone once told me that if you don’t chase the wave, the wave won’t chase you.
Period of operation: Year round * except river trekking in Neda (day 2) available from June to September.
Duration: 5 days (4 nights).
Activities: Hiking, River Trekking, Sea Kayaking, Scuba Diving.
Skill level: Suitable for all skill levels.
Minimum participants: 4.
Minimum age: 8 y/o *except river trekking in Neda, minimum age 12 y/o.
Price: You could choose activities you prefer from this package. Send us your request and let us know which activity you want to do and how many days so as to set the price
The wonderful evergreen region of Messinia is located in Southwestern Peloponnese. With its peaceful and unspoiled lands, seductive beaches, lush gorges, stately castles and impressive ancient sites, this place is a must explore spot.
Our journey consists of some of the best activities and historical sites in the Messinia region. South of the Messinia region, starting from the Neda river and the stunning Temple of Apollo Epicurius or the Parthenon of Peloponnese.
Day 1. Pick up from Athens or Kalamata airport to Kalamata
Kalamata is the capital city of the Messinia region with numerous historical and cultural sites as well as a beautiful seafront and a vibrant nightlife. We get settled in at the hotel and have the rest of the day off to get to know each other, go sightseeing, eat great food, enjoy a refreshing cocktail and prepare for the next day.
Day 2. –River Trekking in Neda (summer season only from June to September): 4 hours (from Kalamata to temple of Apollo and Neda)
Neda river lies on the borders of Ilia and Messinia region and is the only river in Greece with a feminine name. Driving from Kalamata, before we reach Neda river we make a stop at the stunning Temple of Apollo Epicurius or the Parthenon of Peloponnese.
Arriving at the spot where our river trek starts, the breathtaking scenery will definitely amaze you. As we trek through the river gorge, we pass through narrow cliff openings no more than 1.5m wide at some points where we have to swim crossing stone bridges and underwater caves until we reach the spectacular Neda waterfalls. After the activity, we set off to Kardamili where we spend the night.
Day 3 – Sea Kayaking – Hiking Kardamili in Mani Messinia: 5-6 hours with breaks
Once we arrive at our activity base, we get our kayaks and begin to enjoy an excursion at the foot of mount Taygetos where each little cove hides a special surprise. Hidden caves, cliffs with spectacular formations and unique beaches such as the well hidden beach of Foneas with the white pebbles or the beach of Kalogria with fine golden sand and turquoise waters. The beach of Kalogria is also known as the beach of Zorbas, as this was the place where writer Nikos Kazantzakis met his hero of his book, Zorba the Greek. Halfway we make a stop for swimming, snorkeling and a picnic with local traditional delicacies.
Our tour starts from the fortified tower houses of old Kardamili as we follow the path that once was part of the ancient so called ‘’royal road’’, connecting Kardamili with Sparta. Along the way, we walk through the narrow streets of the traditional villages as we learn about their history. A small break for a healthy picnic with traditional local delicacies gives us an additional supply of energy. A burst of colors and fragrances of flowers and herbs overwhelm us and bring us even closer to the natural environment. We walk through an easy route, sometimes a stone built path and sometimes a shady pathway, immersed in olive trees, pines and cypress trees.
Day 4. Scuba Diving Kardamili in Mani Messinia. DSD Course for beginners or an Exciting Dive for Certified divers: 3 hours
What a great way to Discover Scuba Diving (also called DSD ). This is an application of recreational diving in which an un-certified diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor. Arriving at Kalogria beach we set foot on the diving center where we prepare ourselves for a dive. The dive site has an amazing sandy bottom with crystal clear visibility and offers many surprises to explore such as grass lands, caverns and rocky reefs. The area is also characterized by fresh water springs which emerge from underground caverns into the sea-floor.
If you are a certified diver we can schedule a exciting dive from the shore or boat.
Day 5. Messinia to Athens or Kalamata Airport
What is Included in the price:
Car transportation – fuel- tolls.
Accommodation in local guesthouses and/or hotels with breakfast for 5 days/4 nights*.
Certified guide throughout the 5 day activities.
All the necessary equipment.
Photos from the activities.
*We can also arrange for you to stay in 4-5 star hotels. In this case, price varies depending on the season and the hotel.
*If you already have your own car, contact us for more details on the activity schedule and price.
What to bring with you:
Swim suites (at least 2 pairs).
Sun glasses / sun screen / hat.
Extra pair of shoes that will get wet. Suitable shoes are lightweight trainers, sandals or sea shoes. Avoid bulky shoes.
The schedule of the tour, may change in case of bad weather conditions.
Meet your Guide:
- Padi Scuba Diving Instructor
- Rafting Guide
- River Trekking / Hiking Guide
- Sea Kayak guide
Antonis is into action sports since a very young age. Despite living in the city, he has never been a city boy. He studied Electrical Engineering; however, his real passion is nature and outdoor activities. Everything started when he first got his feet on a snowboard. From that moment on, he couldn’t wait for the weekend to come and leave the city.
Traveling is also a big passion for Antonis. While travelling in South East Asia, he got interested in scuba diving and guess what! He is a PADI scuba instructor now. The element of water is everywhere in his life. Since 2005 he is a Rafting, River Trekking, Hiking guide but even that was not enough!
Sea Kayaking was coming his way, so he did that too and now he is a 3 star BCU (British Canoeing Union) paddler. But that’s not all. He has tried everything from surfing to sailing, windsurfing to climbing (and babysitting as well !!!)
- Positive energy.
- Good looks.
- He gets really really, REALLY enthusiastic once in the outdoors.
More facts: Studied Electrical Engineering in Greece and took his Masters degree in London U.K. Works as an engineer since 2002. During the winter season, he goes snowboarding and at least once a year he travels somewhere far away from home.
What else… his friends call him little Antony because they say he will never grow up. Want to meet him? E-mail us for more info on the amazing South Peloponnese Adventure Tour!
The 5 day activity tour in Peloponnese is organized with the cooperation of major outdoor activity companies in the Messinia Region.
Implementation period: All year round (upon request)
Trail distance: 5-6 nautical miles
Route type: Circumnavigation
Activity duration with breaks: 4-5 hours
Suitability: Suitable for all / No previous experience required
Meeting point: Pylos Marina (Depending on the wind direction)
Participants should have with them:
- Bottle of water
- Sun cream (during summer months)
- Extra pair of shoes that will get wet. Suitable shoes are lightweight trainers, flip flops, sandals or sea shoes. Avoid bulky shoes
The price ncludes:
- Full Sea Kayak equipment: boat, paddle, life jacket, spray-skirt, waterproof jacket
- Extra equipment: waterproof bags and cases, pumps and paddle-float
- Snorkeling equipment (goggles and respirators)
- BCU trained and certified guides
- Sea Kayak course
- Tour planning – Sightseeing
- Picnic with fruits and Traditional delicacies
- Transfer from the exit point to entry point (if necessary)
- Photographs from the activity
- Liability insurance
- All taxes
Explore Messinia reserves the right to modify or cancel any outdoor activity due to bad weather or technical difficulties. There is a minimum number of 4 participants required for the implementation of this outdoor activity. Explore Messinia reserves the right to postpone or cancel the activity in case of non completion of the required number of participants.