Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia is more than a just a body of water for the region. It is a source of income for fishermen and a place to spend some lovely time with family and friends, especially during summer when the beaches are open.
Now, Lake Van has also become a trendy place thanks to the increasing popularity of sailing and windsurfing. Surfers who trained under the supervision of Yüzüncü Yıl University's Water Sports Training and Research Center have donned the blue waters of the lake with colorful sails. Sportspeople, who has won numerous championships both in Turkey and abroad, trained at Lake Van under the supervision of trainer İsmet Akbulut.
"Our aim is to reach out to as many young people as possible," said Akbulut. "We want young people to stop killing time in front of computers and learn to do sports at one with nature. Currently, we have five students who can compete at the international championships. We have also 14 more sportspeople who are getting ready to participate to national championships," he said. According to Akbulut, Lake Van is an ideal place for sailing and windsurfing and poses no danger to athletes. "There are no poisonous fish or other animals in Lake Van like in open seas. The only fish here are peal mullet which cause no danger at all," added Akbulut.
However, Lake Van was not always a perfect place for sailing. Due to global climate change, the usual winds that blow through Lake Van have shifted and turned the lake a perfect spot for sailing. Although now it is a perfect place for sailing, experts warn that the winds are getting stronger over Lake Van every year.