Ericeira has received the National Open of Surfing of Afghanistan, one landlocked country, TSF radio news reported. Almost all participants are refugees who came to Europe when they were children. And many never got a board. Most learned in a surf school in Portugal. Afridun Amu, the president of Afghanistan Surfers Association, emphasizes that everyone knows that we are not the best in the world to catch waves. Of the 15 participants (11 men and 4 women), most just now took lessons, in a surf school in Portugal.
The sea and the wind that occurred these days have further complicated training, postponing several of the planned lessons. TSF attended one of the first lessons for beginners and spoke with the coach, Pedro Carrasco, who admitted: «in such a short time, it would be very difficult to have 80 or 90 kilograms men standing on a surfboard».
Many of the afghan competitors learned in a surf school in Portugal
The teacher stresses, however, the «good vibe» of afghans and recalls that looks like «surf in the early days in Portugal, when maneuvers didn't matter and those who stood would be the ones who entered the championships».
This National Surf Championship aims to show the world something positive, «which elsewhere would be normal», from a country that only appears in the news because of wars and bombs.
Rosa Nadjini, one of the beginners, is a doctor in Germany and knows that she will make a bizarre figure to participate in the championship. She can, however, even win a medal because only two of the four women participating had already had contact with a surfboard. But, most importantly, she says, «is to do something for our country».
The championship is a pretext for cultural presentations
In addition to surfing, the championship serves as a pretext for cultural and gastronomic presentations showing the other side of Afghanistan. All participants in the competition are identified as afghans, but live out of Afghanistan, where they came from when they were children. They are refugees in Europe and America, where they are well integrated. Young adults, working in several jobs in their host countries.
The championship will be held in Portugal because, according to the organizers is a fantastic country for waves, with «very friendly people», which, moreover, is accustomed to receiving surf competitions from other countries without sea (for example, the austrian championship).
The expenses were paid by the participants and through a fundraiser on the internet. The goal is collecting funds to teach children from Kabul to swim. Then, in the distant future, perhaps building a wave pool in the afghan capital.