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Bangladesh surfer gets national spotlight

Jafar Alam © Tom Bauer/Surfing Bangladesh



Surf Culture

Cox's Bazar or St Martin hubs of Bangladesh surf

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 August, 2014 - Jafar Alam never dreamed of becoming a professional surfer because it was not the sort of thing little boys dreamed about here, although he had the Bay of Bengal as his backyard.  The only people who surfed here were the occasional, intrepid foreign tourists.

Now for Jafar, there is no such thing as the beach weather— almost every day of the week he can be found catching waves on the beaches at Cox's Bazar or St Martin.  “You start to feel at one with the rhythm of the sea.” says Jafar Alam, 31, who speaks in a slow, spaced manner. “When you're in that state and you catch a wave, it becomes an effortless dance, a flow. I feel free. Surfing clears my mind.”

How he got into it is magical. While hanging out on the Laboni beach on a sunny day in 1995, Jafar, then a student of class V saw a foreigner walking with his surf board.  He had not seen anything like it before. “But I guessed it must have been some kind of sports equipment,” recalls Alam. After he had explained what it was, the curious little boy offered to buy it.

“Two thousand dollars,” the Australian surfer said. “I told him all I could come up with was Tk 2,000 (about 25 dollars). I don't know what came to him, he sold it to me.  It was a short board—5 ft 8 inches long. I didn't know how to stand up on the board, and it was difficult because I didn't have wax or a leash," he says.

A leash is the string that attaches the board to the surfer's ankle and prevents it from being dragged away by the waves and wax makes the surf board non-slippery.

Jafar took it to the sea everyday and used it like a boat to float on it. “In 1998, for the first time I saw my first surf video. Wow, I was impressed, because it wasn't anything like I was doing. Thus I started learning the new tricks by practicing. By 2000, I could surf properly.”


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