The world is learning more and more each day that one can practically do anything in Africa these days. Nigerians gallop on their horses in Lagos, crossing sticks against a ball, playing Polo. Moroccans suit up in warm coats and thick gloves with finely built boards strapped underneath their thick boots as they float across the Atlas Mountains, snowboarding.
There are few sporting or leisure activities that are foreign to Africa lately. As the continent becomes more exposed to the world and vice versa, things international are becoming more local to those living on the continent. One does not have to travel outside of Africa to find Africans pioneering in international sports other than Soccer. 25 year-old Nigerian Uneku Atawodi is currently known to be the first and only black professional female Polo player in the world; not to mention that she organized the first female tournament of the sport in West Africa.
Horses aren’t usually common throughout the continent, so one might understand the shock some might have in seeing a well-dressed Nigerian Polo player skillfully maneuvering a horse in Lagos, as good as any Westerner or Easterner. Beaches, however, is as common to Africa as golf courses are common to the U.S., so it was only a matter of time till surfing became a local sport on the continent.
About an hour and thirty minutes drive from the capital city of Sierra Leone, West Africa, Bureh Beach has produced a set of the first local surfers in the country. Sierra Leone, known for its world-renowned beaches, has been spotlighted by several travel and adventure magazines, such as National Geographic. CNN listed Sierra Leone’s No. 2 Beach as one of the 25 best beaches in Africa, and other beaches in the country has also been featured by UK’s Telegraph and Guardian papers.
Bureh Beach Surf Club is equipped with surf board rentals, surfing lessons, lifeguard training, and an active Facebook page with plenty of ‘likes’ and photos to reflect the momentum for the sport there.
Sierra Leone isn’t the only surfing country in Africa. Out of the International Surfing Association (ISA)’s 71 member countries, 9 of them are in Africa, including Liberia, Somalia, Senegal, Ghana, Namibia, South Africa, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, and Morocco. Each with its own official surfing club with local members.
In 2011, Clement Slater, Peter Ansah, and Emmanuel Ansah from Ghana, traveled to South Africa to compete in the Billabong Pro Junior surfing tournament in Victorian Bay.
Surfing South Africa is the official governing body for the sport of surfing in South Africa. In 2010 and 2011, South African Jordy Smith (pictured below) became the number 1 ranked surfer in the world, after winning Billabong Pro Jeffrey’s Bay tournament, during the World Championship Tour.
The culture of surfing in Africa continues to grow, and more countries, especially those along the coastline of the continent are becoming more engaged in the sport. With all the coastal beaches along the continent, there are probably few places around the world more suitable to surf than Africa.
To learn more about surfing in Africa, click below to explore surfing in various parts of the continent: