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.
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: