Greek Presidential guards learn to surf


24 April 2018

Eleven elite guards, part of a ceremonial unit who protect the Greek President’s mansion and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens will have their first-ever surfing lesson at Bondi Beach on Sunday.

Released by special permission of the President, the Greek Presidential Guard or Evzones are in Australia to take part in official ANZAC Day ceremonies. They are especially here to honour the role of the ANZACS who fought to protect Greece and Crete in the Second World War, significantly delaying the Nazis’ invasion of Russia.

The Evzones are known for their distinctive uniform, evolved from those worn by the klephts who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece in fustanellas, a white knee-length garment with 400 pleats representing 400 years under Ottoman occupation.

They also wear red clogs weighing 3.2kg and ornately embroidered tunics. Just putting on the uniform takes two people.

On Sunday 29 April, members of the Evzones will march in uniform from North Bondi RSL to Bondi Pavilion to be welcomed by representatives from Waverley Council and members of the eastern suburbs and wider Sydney Greek community. The event is supported by Waverley Council.

The Guard’s Lieutenant will give a presentation on the Evzones history and uniforms before viewing an exhibition on the battle for Crete and Greece.

Then it’s down to the surf on Bondi Beach for a surfing lesson with Lets Go Surfing.

As part of Council’s commitment to beach safety, a dedicated Bondi Lifeguard will accompany them, along with lifesavers and veteran ocean swimmers.

Once their one-hour surf lesson is complete, the Evzones will have learned how to read the ocean and spot rips, catch a wave lying down and finally how to surf like a pro standing up.