The many fruits of surfing in Bangladesh


A sport and a way of life: The many fruits of surfing in Bangladesh

July 22, 2022, 09:55

Last modification: July 22, 2022, 12:59 p.m.

And there is also the distance factor. For those who live beyond Cox’s Bazar (and especially those who can’t get to the beach on a whim), Sea Beach remains a far-off destination. Distance is perhaps another reason why surfing is not very popular in Bangladesh.

And let’s not forget the cost. It is an expensive sport (or hobby). NDSC offers surfboards ranging in price from a few thousand taka to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even a second hand epoxy surfboard can cost up to Tk 45,000. Short boards (small surfboards) are priced at Tk 65,000 and longboards above Tk 1 lakh. Other accessories like grip waxes, board fins, and tie-downs can also cost thousands of dollars.

Surf lessons from a qualified instructor cost Tk 800 per hour. And it takes many hours of practice to perfect the craft.

The high cost of entry into surfing puts most people off. For those already in the surf scene, the general lack of funding and support has slowed their pace of progress.

The scene has changed a bit from previous years, however, thanks to WFP, Jaago and other foundations that have come forward to help. Girls are now seen riding the waves alongside boys, made possible by programs like Surfer’s Megher School.

For the love of the waves

So what motivates these local surfers? “It’s all for the love of the waves. We’re only who we really are when we’re riding the waves; it feels like we’re on top of the world,” said NDSC’s Sayed.

Because it becomes more a way of life than just a hobby. Surfers like Sayed, Nur and Sagor, who build a life around surfing, testify to this lifestyle.

Everyone who is part of this close-knit community also feels a sense of belonging. The kids who are part of Surfer’s Megher school are seen hanging out with the rest of the surfers day in and day out.

Photo: Sayed Asif Mahmud/WFP

Photo: Sayed Asif Mahmud/WFP

Photo: Sayed Asif Mahmud/WFP

The waves are not always the same. “During calmer seasons, the sea is calm. For surfing, high winds and high waves are best,” Sayed said.

Although it is not possible to artificially generate waves big enough to roll in the ocean itself, wave simulators can be installed in swimming pools. Again, this too is extremely expensive. Many countries use similar facilities to allow surfers to ride the waves all year round.

Organization and foundations cannot help much. This community also needs help from the government. Like any other sport, surfing needs all the recognition it can get from the authorities to make it big nationally and, eventually, globally.

“Surfing is also an Olympic sport. I don’t understand why it is not given its due value,” Nur lamented.


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