Symi News › BASE Jumping on Symi 18/12/2009, 00:23

"I flew over Ai Giorgis beach"
Stratos Giamoukoglou is "BASE jumping" on Symi
Photos | Videos

BY CHRISTOS BYRON

The beach of Ai Giorgis (St George) of Dysalonas is not just one of the most spectacular beaches on Symi, but also an international destination for climbers from all over the World who every summer visit Ai Giorgis and its 360 metre high vertical rockface. Beyond climbing however, the rock can also be used for another sport which is much more thrilling but also dangerous: “BASE jumping” The term “BASE” is an acronym of the words Βuilding, Antenna, Span (bridge), and Earth, that is fixed objects from where the free jump takes place with a packed parachute which the athlete opens after jumping.

A few days ago, Stratos Giamoukoglou, possibly the only person in Greece who is involved with the sport, came to Symi and was the first to jump off the rock of Ai Giorgis from a height of 230 metres. He actually made two jumps, one on Saturday 28 November and a second one a day later.

Other than Stratos, the team to Ag. Giorgis included Stelios Dermitzakis, Panayiotis Hatzinikitas, Andreas Arva-nitis, Lisandro Damonte and Loukas Hatzinikitas.

After walking for a long time inside the dense and inaccessible forest which is at the of the rock of Ai Giorgis, the team reached the edge of the rock at a height of about 260 metres. From there they rappelled down for 30 metres to reach the suitable spot where the rock is completely vertical and ideal for BASE jumping. Wearing suitable gear (special clothes, helmet, etc.), Stratos jumped off the rock of Ai Giorgis and opened the parachute after 3-4 seconds. The fall lasted about a minute and he landed at the edge of the beach where the Mayor of Symi Lefteris Papakalodoukas, the Leader of the Council Sokratis Maroulis, and some Symi residents were waiting to congratulate him.

Stratos Giamoukoglou is a teacher from Edessa in the north of Greece and has been engaged in “air sports” for more than 20 years. He started in America with skydiving (free-falling from an aeroplane) and has made more than 600 such jumps in his career. Later on in Greece, he was involved with paragliding as well as other “extreme” sports such as off-piste skiing (steep slopes, climbing, etc.). He also runs a ski school at the Kaimatskalan ski center near Edessa.

He has been BASE jumping for the past 5 years starting in Brazil where he worked as a teacher and has already made more than 300 jumps.

The sport is quite dangerous and as Stratos told The News of Symi “it requires respect and fast reflexes as one mistake may prove fatal, but on the other hand it is thrilling”. He has jumped from several places around Greece such as the shipwreck in Zakynthos (200m), the gorge of Aradena in Crete (130m), Monemvasia (85m), Metsovo (130m), and now in Symi (230m). He has also jumped off many places abroad. Last summer he made a BASE jumping tour with 5 other athletes from Brazil and jumped off several places in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France and Finland.

Since the sport is not at all well known in Greece, Stratos looks for and studies the jump sites by himself so that the jump is performed correctly and safely. As he told The News of Symi “to discover such places and to be the first to jump gives a great feeling because you open the way for others. Each place, each jump is unique, each one has its own beauty, its own charm. What’s important is to do a beautiful jump, a good flight and a safe landing .

Stratos knew for some time that there was a vertical rockface on Symi suitable for climbing (he is also engaged in rock climbing), but had never visited Symi before and only had good words to say: “Symi is a special island of unique beauty and Ai Giorgis is a fantastic beach. Of course, my first image was even more spectacular because I saw it from the top… I flew over the beach…a tremendous feeling. It is a place I’ve come to love and I will visit it many times, as will many others like me from all over the World. I thank St George and Panormitis”.

“I have a vision… I would like certain things that we only see on television to become reality in Greece as well, because we have amazing places that have not been exploited, but we need open minds. And this is where I’d like to congratulate your Mayor because he has this quality, and I believe we will manage to hold a major event in Symi in the summer that will be unique in the whole of Greece…”.

© The News of Symi newspaper newspaper
Re-publication is prohibited without prior written permission from the editor of The News of Symi newspaper

[click photo for larger version and slideshow]





























Photos: Andreas Arvanitis (last photo by KALIO)
Photo editing: SymiGreece.com
Videos: Stelios Dermitzakis, Panayiotis Hatzinikitas, Andreas Arvanitis, Sokratis Maroulis
Video editing: SymiGreece.com (video #1), Stratos Giamoukoglou (video #2)


(3) Comments

  1. Will said on 18/12/2009, 19:10

    Excellent!



  2. Simon said on 20/12/2009, 23:12

    That fella has some balls! (the chap jumping, not the hunk! :-)) great mr C.



  3. lizzykitch said on 22/12/2009, 13:45

    oh how wonderful!! thank you for this piece!!



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