Despite Israeli restrictions, surfers in Gaza hope to join global competition

Israel/Palestine
on 17 Comments

Yusuf Ghanem is 22 years old and has been surfing since he was 12. “Surfing is our family hobby, since we live beside the sea,” he says.

Ghanem received six surfboards from abroad after waiting for three years. Those surfboards succeeded in entering Gaza only after an international foundation pressured Israeli authorities. Recently, surfers in Gaza received another 20 surfboards and six professional surfers and another 50 beginners are using them to train. These surfboards were partially damaged, despite fixing is unavailable due to the lack of Israeli-banned fiberglass material.

Ghanem says they wish to have their own club, including special uniforms and international sponsorship, but for the time being they train only by watching YouTube videos.

(Photo: Mohammed Asad)

(Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Mohammed Aldoos, 20, started surfing five years ago. He says that surfers in Gaza suffer from a lack of training and proper materials. “I don’t have my own surfboard, so I have to borrow from a friend,” he explains. He says they also need special uniforms to surf during the winter.

“I hope to participate in a global competition, in oceans with high waves,” Aldoos says. “We look forward to meeting international surfers and benefitting from their experience, but Israeli authorities ban us from crossing into Israel to participate and used to ban surfing equipment.”

Here are more photos of surfing in Gaza:

Onlookers watch the surfers. (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Onlookers watch the surfers. (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

(Photo: Mohammed Asad)

(Photo: Mohammed Asad)

(Photo: Mohammed Asad)

(Photo: Mohammed Asad)

(Photo: Mohammed Asad)

(Photo: Mohammed Asad)

About Mohammed Asad

Mohammad Asad is a photo journalist based in the Gaza Strip where he has covered three wars, and nearly a decade of blockade. He is the 2015 winner of the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit photography “Spirit of Humanity” award, and the 2014 winner of the Abdel Razzaq Badran Photography Award, among other accolades

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17 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    December 2, 2016, 2:26 pm

    what a great article, photos and video!!! i love this. thank you thank you thank you.

    the photo, 2nd from the last, is stunning.

  2. Mooser
    December 2, 2016, 2:42 pm

    I wish they could use the Phillip George surfboards.

  3. Maghlawatan
    December 2, 2016, 3:50 pm

    Ghazawis are only vermin in Hebrew.
    In every other language they are gloriously human.

    • RoHa
      December 4, 2016, 12:19 am

      What’s the Arabic for “dude”?

      • gamal
        December 4, 2016, 8:55 am

        ana mizaagi giddan (correct in both Arabics) others may disagree even so i would say “Ya walad” the intonation connotes either contempt or approbation, but then i have been in a comma for 30 years.

      • Maghlawatan
        December 4, 2016, 9:14 am

        Zalame around Jerusalem

  4. xanadou
    December 3, 2016, 5:00 pm

    The petty state of israel shows off, again, its parochial true colours.
    The wanna-be-global-player has to stoop to harassing footballers and surfers to appear like a partner of consequence. To whom exactly? Nobody is buying. Not even the US, despite superficial, if deadly, appearances to the contrary for the sake of the maintaining the military bases in israel-occupied Palestine.

    Best wishes to Gazza’s surfers. I hope the world’s community of surfers will be able to invite and help train a few Palestinian surfing aficionados.

    • Mooser
      December 3, 2016, 6:13 pm

      “xanadou” do you happen to know the name or location of any US military bases in “israel-occupied Palestine”?

      • echinococcus
        December 4, 2016, 12:46 pm

        Mooser,

        They call it “Israel”.

      • Mooser
        December 4, 2016, 1:13 pm

        “They call it “Israel”.

        No, I think that is the name of a large aircraft carrier.

  5. xanadou
    December 3, 2016, 5:56 pm

    The petty state of israel shows off, again, its parochial true colours.
    The wanna-be-global-player has to stoop to harassing footballers and surfers to appear like a partner of consequence. To whom exactly? Nobody is buying. Not even the US, despite superficial appearances to the contrary.

    Best wishes to Gazza’s surfers. I hope the world’s community of surfers will be able to invite and help train a few Palestinian surfing aficionados.

    • xanadou
      December 3, 2016, 9:54 pm

      Mooser,

      This is what I have found online so far::
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93United_States_relations#Military_bases

      The “site” numbering may or may not suggest that all (leading up to and including the sites in 50s) are staffed by US personnel. Either way, that’s a lot of bases, especially for such a small entity whatever the (bases) number and designation.

      I have no way of proving the accuracy of this or any other information, just as any detractor has no way of disproving it. Furthermore, the secrecy seems to have increased concurrently with the US massive and deadly involvement in the ME mess and now the new wars in N.Africa. A secure base in a “friendly” country makes more sense than any other ME or NE volatile and not so dependably docile anymore countries around the Mediterranean.

      Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid:
      http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/11/politics/us-foreign-aid-report/

      Handouts of this magnitude to a paranoid tiny country that is a threat to no one but the Palestinians and itself, are a quid pro quo. The US is not in the business of military charitable contributions to anyone, including israel. Moreover, the continuous supply by the US of a large variety of trade and tech secrets that is current with what is supplied to US forces, is likely feeding US’s mistrust of the “friendly” midget:
      http://www.newsweek.com/2014/05/16/israel-wont-stop-spying-us-249757.html

      And the scandal of US tech secrets being sold to China cannot have helped either:
      http://www.defensetech.org/2013/12/24/report-israel-passes-u-s-military-technology-to-china/

      Bottom line, when the US sends high tech (esp. military) supplies of whatever size to israel, the former needs a place/base in situ to keep an eye on its “friend”, to protect its proprietary secrets. Or at least try. Hence the need for military bases to service the hardware and whatever else the US expects to accomplish with said hardware.

      On another distantly related note: editing one’s comment seems to produce more than one intended posting. Is this deliberate or a missing piece of coding that would replace an earlier post with the most recent edit?

      • Mooser
        December 4, 2016, 12:53 pm

        Thanks very much, “xanadou”, for the details.

    • Maghlawatan
      December 4, 2016, 9:55 am

      They have to do it to keep their identity coherent.

  6. Maghlawatan
    December 4, 2016, 9:21 am

    When Gazans excel the Zionist brain cannot process.
    And Egypt are world ladies team squash champs. Top 3 world ladies are masri. What does Israel spend money on? Hatred.

  7. Ossinev
    December 4, 2016, 12:01 pm

    Hmmm. Let’s hazard a guess. If the surfing phenomenon takes off in Gaza and there is palpable support amongst the worldwide surfing community can’ be long before the Israelis manufacture some fable about surfers using surf boards to bring in weapons and “weapons material ” for Hamas to stifle discourse and criticism and will ban the activity for “security reasons”. Surfing terrorism against poor defenceless eternally victimised eternally threatened eternally tragic little Israel simply cannot be allowed.

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