Last May, Ericeira surf has gained a new status: after all, this region has received the first surfing competition... of Afghanistan. Between 23 and 24 May, dozens of Afghans visited Ericeira not only to compete, but also to promote the Arab country in a more positive way. The event was organized by the Wave Riders Association of Afghanistan (WRAA).
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The Afghanistan surf championship «seems like a return to the Ericeira surf of the early days»
But, after all, why is Ericeira the scenario chosen for an Afghanistan surf championship? In fact, in this country, although the will to compete upon a surfboard prevails , there is shortage of sea for the practice of the sport. A good part of the participants of this championship never hold a surfboard or «rode» a wave, but they are united to compete in a sea that does not exist in their country.
In an interview for TSF radio, the Portuguese coach who prepares these athletes to put themselves upon a surfboard admits that this is a very challenging job: «In such a short time, it will be very difficult to have guys with 80 or 90 kilos standing upon a surfboard... remember that, for many, this is the first time that they are trying to surf», says Pedro Carrasco.
For the teacher, rather than trying to compete for a prize, the Afghans who seek the national title bring with a «good vibe» that reminds him of days gone by in Portuguese beaches where almost nobody knew how to do a maneuver: «It seems like a return to the Ericeira surf of the early days when the maneuvers were not the most important and only those who could stand up upon a surfboard entered in the championships».
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This championship shows the other side of Afghanistan
All participants are refugees in Europe and America where they are well integrated. They are young adults, normally graduates, who work in more various professions.
The league, in essence, serves as a pretext for cultural and gastronomic presentations, showing the other side of Afghanistan. For the rest, in addition to the twelve Afghans surfers – eight men and four women – families and friends of the athletes had presented their culture through food and music workshops.
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Source: Notícias ao Minuto