Nigeria: In Tarkwa Bay, Surfing has Become a Passion for Young People

jihane rmili
jihane rmili
2 Min Read

In Nigeria, and especially in Tarkwa Bay, a small fishing village near the port of the economic capital of Nigeria, Michael Gabriel and his friends surf without worrying about the incessant coming and going of oil tankers.

In the middle of the rollers, the surfers are performing tricks for the second national surfing competition in this West African country where the sport is still in its infancy.

Michael, 20, is determined to become a champion one day to represent not only Nigeria but also “the whole of African surfing”, even though his country is far from the big African surfing spots, such as Senegal, South Africa, or Morocco.

Michel has been training for more than 7 years to achieve his dream, like dozens of other teenagers from this community that survives mainly on tourism.

Wealthy Nigerians and foreigners travel every weekend to this village and beach, which is only accessible by boat and has no schools or health centers.

The first surfboards appeared on the shore more than 15 years ago, attracting many young people from the Tarkwa community.

For Michel, surfing had allowed him to forget his problems and recover from the trauma of their forced eviction and the demolition of their home by the Nigerian military in January 2020, when navy soldiers accused the community of participating in the draining of the pipelines that run along the lagoon and supply petrol to all of western Nigeria.

Adewale Fawe also dreams of developing surfing in other Nigerian communities, such as Bayelsa, in the Niger Delta, where people live in extreme poverty and their environment one of the most polluted in the world after decades of oil exploitation.

Jihan Rmili

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