National Wind Surfer Çağla Kubat and National Kite Surfer Bilge Öztürk participated in the 4th Izmir Gulf Festival, organized under the auspices of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, in cooperation with IMEAK Chamber of Shipping Izmir Branch, Arkas, Izdeniz, Izmir Marina, Turkish Sailing Federation, Aegean Offshore Yacht Club. While conveying his experiences in sea and water sports, he said that Turkish youth are ready to achieve new successes in international organizations.
“The Sea and the Wind Asked Where Are You?” The panel within the scope of the event organized with the slogan of the event was held at the İzmir Historical Coal Gas Factory under the chairmanship of Yusuf Öztürk, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the İzmir Branch of the İMEAK Chamber of Shipping.
Stating that Izmir Metropolitan Municipality continues to tell the world that Izmir is a sea and port city, Öztürk thanked Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer for his efforts in this regard. Öztürk said, “İzmir is a brand city with its sea, gulf, people, education, culture and civilization. We strive to support all activities organized for the development of sea sports in such a seafaring city. In recent years, we have achieved many international successes in water sports and sea activities. This was pioneered by female athletes such as Çağla Kubat and Bilge Öztürk. Women are very successful both in races, in training and in promotion.”
WE SAVE CHILDREN FROM TECHNOLOGICAL ADDICTION
National windsurfer Çağla Kubat, who pioneered the development of windsurfing in Çeşme Alaçatı, said that windsurfing has always been in his life despite his mechanical engineering education. Kubat said, “I started surfing at the age of 15. I studied engineering, but suddenly I realized that sports are much more important in my life. It was important to me to represent and promote my country. After the beauty pageant, her television career unfolded before me. Thus, I had the opportunity to participate in surf races much more easily. I put engineering into the background, but I always applied what I learned in engineering in my life. The wind helped me find my wife. I built my family. Sports have shaped my whole life. Children come to my school following me as an example. Others continue to think that I am a police officer because of my role in the TV series Arka Sokaklar.”
Noting that Çeşme Alaçatı is an ideal place for windsurfing, Kubat said, “We now go to training in the winter months. Giving children the right to national athletes with the support of the Turkish Sailing Federation increased the interest in surfing. Even during the pandemic period, I trained children without a break. We are very happy to get children out of being confined to their homes and addicted to technology. My daughter is five years old and she surfs very well. We owe this to Alaçatı. Our athletes achieved many successes abroad. Our goal is to compete in the Olympic class. We are ambitious about it. But we need more support on legislation and other issues,” he said.
“SEA SPORTS BECOME MORE VALUABLE”
Bilge Öztürk, who made the region a world-famous kitesurfing center with the school he founded in Akyaka, said that kitesurfing, which he started at the age of 28, became his profession instead of a hobby. Öztürk said, “Since my childhood, I always wanted to be a lawyer. Because I could not stand injustice at all. I studied law school with love and desire and became a lawyer. I continue to do my job. I played handball for 11 years. I also did other sports, but my life changed when I met kitesurfing. This sport has turned into a lifestyle rather than a hobby. In 2011, I got a degree in the Turkish championship for the first time. From there I started competing in world championships. What I did with passion and heart became my profession. I am trying to raise new generations at my school in Akyaka. We are trying to create conditions for them that we could not reach," he said.
Pointing out that kitesurfing brings discipline and fun together for children, Bilge Öztürk said: “At a time when people are closed off and doomed to loneliness, sea sports that provide personal and inner development have become more valuable. Especially after the pandemic, children come running to us. Akyaka is one of the most beautiful places in the world with its wind and nature. We need to take advantage of this grace.”