The Bangladesh Surf Club from Jedidiah Clothing on Vimeo.
A documentary following the lives of the Bangladesh surf contingent and showing the unique cultural impact of surf on the local community. The youth of Bangladesh, many from poor families, come together to share their love of surfing.
The world's longest beach Cox's Bazaar has also surfing opportunities. Jafar Alam, the first known surfer from Bangladesh saw a surfboard in 1991. Here is his story how he was helped by some international surfers to learn surfing and start the club:
In 2005 (2006-2007) Tom helped sponsor me to go to Indonesia with Surfing The Nations. Tom also sponsored me to go to Sri Lanka in 2006 to surf and to help Johnson and his family who were hit by the tsunami. Now Surfing The Nations has partnered with me and helped me start the Bangladesh Surf Club.
Team meeting at Bangladesh Surf Club. Image courtesy Surfing The Nation
Some info about the above documentary:
Five years ago Tom Bauer a missionary from ‘Surfing the Nations’ found a rare gem in the form of Bangladesh’s first surfer, Jafar Alam. Inspired by their mutual passion, Tom and Jafar set out to establish a small surf club for the local street kids.The Gum For My Boat documentary premiered at the NY Surf Film Festival. Jedidiah clothing unveiled their brand of swimwears that were inspired by the Bangladesh Surf Club. More info about Jedidiah and the documentary.
Four years on, Kahana Kalama, a pro-surfer from San Diego, takes a trip to Bangladesh to see the school for himself.
What he discovers is a place that is having a unique impact on the lives of the kids who, for the very first time, are experiencing the freedom of the ocean through surfing. Incredibly, and against all cultural odds, over half the groups members are female. The Bangladeshi Surf school has brought a sense of liberation and hope that no one could have foreseen.
In 2005 the first ever surf contest was held in Bangladesh organized by Surfing the Nation.
Presently there are over 70 members of the Bangladesh Surf Club, both boys and girls. he club has provided young people an identity. The members of the surf club, are no longer categorized as ‘the street kid’, or ‘the uneducated’, they are now recognized as surfers. With this new founded identity, a community of young men and woman are working together to serve their city. Participating in large beach clean ups, teaching ocean safety, swimming lessons and of course surfing; they have enthusiastically embraced the motto of Surfing The Nations - surfers giving back.
Can surfing make waves for Bangladesh tourism? Not until Bangladesh provides the infrastructures - something they can learn from Indonesia.