Ericeira. The young Afghan surf association has determined it’s first Afghan surf champions. The female competition was won by 34 year old Sohal Behmanesh and the male competition by 27 year old Afridun Amu. The contest was held in the famous surf town of Ericeira, near Lisbon. A total of eight men and four women participated.
Despite both lousy weather and wave conditions, the organizers are very pleased. The winners have qualified to take part in the ISA World Surfing Games next year. Afridun Amu, who is also the president of the association, expects that more participants will take part in a future event. “The event in Ericeira was a great initiation for the future of Afghan surfers being recognized in this sport“. The championship was held in Portugal because Afghanistan is landlocked. Other nations such as Austria, also hold their championship in Portugal.
Amu, who lives in Berlin, founded the surf association (Wave Riders Association of Afghanistan / WRAA) in 2013, together with other Afghan and German friends. Currently the WRAA has more than 20 members, and continues to grow: “After this successful championship we hope that more Afghan wave riders, and those who are interested in becoming so will also join our cause”, says Amu.
“Initially we didn’t dare to hope that women would also take part in the championship,” says Kava Spartak, one of the founding members of WRAA. “We are very delighted that in the end four female surfers joined our competition”.
In an exciting contest, geography graduate Sohal Behmanesh from Berlin, a surfer since five years, came out on top. “Surfing to me is an amazing sport and above all great fun“, she says. “I´d love more occasions to surf in a non-western and non-male dominated context.”The male champion and WRAA president Amu, rides waves since 2006. His idea was to found a surf association for his country of origin. “I think it’s of great importance for Afghanistan to have something which is quite normal in any other part of the world”.
Besides the sporting contest there were various programs and activities that enabled the organizers to present Afghan culture, Afghan cuisine and Afghan zest for life to friends, fans, family members and participants.