Prepared by Esse Ogene
Sitting by the beach and admiring the waves, dotted with sun lovers and surfers, one could almost forget that this blissful gem lays hidden in Tarkwa Bay, a few minutes away from the Lagos harbour accessible only by boats and water taxis. A new culture is emerging and it’s called surfing.
The sport is usually limited to coastline inhabitants and a niche form of recreational activity. Lagos has seen a growth in wave chasers, from near and far.
With many investment opportunities, the country has seen an influx of expatriates especially in Lagos; some of them, surf lovers. Spots such as Lighthouse beach, Ilado beach, Shipwreck and Tarkwa Bay offer an experience in surfing.
Surfing can undoubtedly drive tourism; this can be supported with the success of holiday destinations such as Bali and Jakarta in Indonesia. Where there is tourism, there are jobs. When there are jobs the economy is stimulated; if the economy is stimulated, it can lead to improvement in areas such as healthcare and education.
The sport can get young people off the streets, keeping them active and boost youth ambassadorship; it also pushes cultural exposure and interaction. In addition the harmattan season brings offshore winds and sand from the Sahara Desert meaning more waves, which is music to any surfers’ ears.
The issues surfers might encounter in Nigeria include pollution, security, accessibility to gear and equipment, recognition and encouragement of the sport.
With the bustling and humid streets of Lagos, the beach might be a great escape; unfortunately the beaches can be steamy and lack the ideal clear crystal blue waters craved by surfers. Security is a general problem, there’s the risk of being mugged, robbed or possibly kidnapped. There are also no lifeguards on the beach.
There’re also little or no surf stores in the area. Local and Tourist surfers have no access to equipment or sports gear. During the raining season it could be challenging to catch a good ride by the beach; but that never stopped any surfer. Getting the locals involved in this sport may not be as easy, especially because it can be a dangerous sport which involves water; and let’s be frank, Nigerians love to live!
A Rapid Response team and trained lifeguards would create an assurance in swimmers and wave chasers when they visit which will increase the patronage in the area. A Help/tourist desk within proximity of the beach and Swim sport stalls around the area would also draw in tourists.
Surf Tourism can propel an interest in the sport; it can also provide benefits for the country and Africa as a whole. Nigeria recently joined the International Surfing Association (ISA), whose ultimate mission is to develop surfing globally.
“Millions of surfers worldwide dream of endless summer filled with thrilling, empty waves and pristine coastline – Africa offers both.” Dave Hitchins.
“West Africa could become the next mecca for the world’s waveriders.” Iona Eberle.
There are many other destinations in Africa that cater to wave chasers from Northern Africa to South.
Morocco – Anchor Point, Angola – Cabo Ledo, Mozambique – Ponta do Ouro, Namibia – Skeleton Bay, South Africa – Durban
Senegal – N’gor Island, Liberia – Robertsport, Cape Verde – Sal, Sierra Leone – Freetown Peninsula.
 Wings Issue 26. March – May 2016 Page 90
 Ogojiii Issue 5. A. Cycle. February 2016 page page 24