A girl riding a surfboard, wearing a salwar kameez. Not a sight you thought you’d see, but surfing has come to Bangladesh. Started by Jafar Alam in the early 2000s, ‘Surfing Bangladesh’ has grown much in popularity and active members in the last decade. Indicative of how Bangladesh is changing with the times, more and more people are seeing surfing as a hobby and a sport to keep them fit.
We have the world’s longest sea beach, but no surfing. That won’t do!
With its 120 km, natural continuous sea beach, Cox’s Bazar offers excellent surfing conditions in the summer. Even in winter, it has great conditions for windsurfing. One wonders why this didn’t start sooner. Especially since it is said that our surfers can rival the bests in Asia. A bold statement, but it’s one any Bangladeshi hopes can be proven true over and over again.
Their vision is “Empowering a community through surfing, lifesaving, skating, and education in Bangladesh.” The members of this community hope to spread surfing and inspire other members of their community to take up activities like, swimming, skating, and surfing, which enables them to also learn lifesaving, and education. They use surfing to promote themselves, but there is so much more to them; so much more warmth and depth in this community. Currently there are 15 senior members, with 7 years of surfing experience, and 25 beginners with ages from 8-16.
How it came to be
When the founder, Jafar Alam was a young boy, he once saw an Australian surfer riding the waves in one of Cox’s Bazar’s beaches. Enchanted, he asked the surfer if he could buy the board from him, which the Australian sold it to him for $20. From then on, he taught himself for several years, and then was trained under a visiting American surfer, Tom Bauer, who took him under his wing. Thus began the journey of ‘Surfing Bangladesh’.
Surfing the Nations
Tom Bauer, who founded the non-profit organisation Surfing the Nations, worked with Alam to help him on his journey. ‘Surfing Bangladesh’ was opened in 2002 by Alam, and since then has hosted annual surfing competitions where local surfers are put against the flairs of international surfers, most of whom come from America.
Ready to Surf?
Along with Jafar Alam’s Surf Club, there is another organisation called The Cox's Bazar Surf Club, who has the same passion for the sport. Their Facebook page states they are “conceived, designed, developed by British specialists, and supervised for the rather more enlightened than most Bangladeshi investors, but British consultant managers, the Club is an innovation which is designed to support the development of inbound tourism.” Both of these clubs should not be missed the next time you visit Cox’s Bazar. They can be contacted at:
Jafar Alam’s Surf Club:
Laboni Beach, Bahar Chera Street,
Cox’s Bazar-4700, Bangladesh.
Phone: + 880 1715 729 777
P. O. Box: 4700
Cox's Bazar Surf Club:
Shuganda Beach, Kolatali, 4700 Chittagong