On October 24, a group of local and expatriate surfers gathered under the cotton tree at the Robertsport Community Campsite to convene the 2nd Annual Surf Liberia Contest. T-shirts were passed out and surfers registered, but where were the waves?
We waited until low tide then made the call for Shipwrecks, carried over chairs from Nana's Lodge and set up under an almond tree. We had 12 local surfers and 7 expats, including a few beginners and very new local beginners. You know you've succeeded in targeting youth when one of the contestants signs his name, "Baby Boy."
The contest lasted a little over three hours, with judging done by local and expat surfers as well as the visiting Surf Resource Network crew. We had over a hundred spectators, including Robertsport locals and weekenders, some UNMIL visitors, and even half of the Mama Liberia Sewing Co-op! The waves were a bit onshore, shoulder to head-high with some overhead sets on the drop quickly turning to mushy faces.
Of course, when it came time for the women's heat right before the finals, the swell surged to overhead plus and I got smoked--along with the relative and extremely brave newbie I'd cajoled into surfing with me. Better luck for the women's division next year!
Thanks to Robertsport Community Works partners Soul Surfers Foundation, Seren Clothing and Surf Resource Network. Thanks to our Surf Liberia contest event sponsors Nana's Lodge, Liberia Travel and Life Magazine, and Miss Boss Lady Entertainment. We value your support!
Here are some photos, courtesy of Surf Resource Network's Sean Brody, of the contest:
Alfred Lomax finishes a heat. Alfred is currently on scholarship courtesy of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and attending high school in Monrovia.
Alfred does a cut-back at Shipwrecks.
Alfred wins the contest and is chaired to the beach by fellow surfers. This is my favorite contest shot.
Alfred, 1st place in this year's Surf Liberia Contest, with a wooden plaque hand-carved in Robertsport.
Peter Swen, a university student in Monrovia, pulls into a little barrel before giving Alfred a run for his money and winning 2nd place.
Armstrong shows some local style on his newly-donated board.
Philip has gotten a lot better this year, thanks in part to a surfboard of his own donated by the Soul Surfers Foundation. Thank you!
Sam Brown Jr. looks remarkably like his father, Sam Brown, a member of our Community Board and an invaluable member of Robertsport Community Works. His board was donated by Surf Resource Network. Thank you!
For a full budget overview of Surf Liberia and the surf contest, check out the monthly budget reports on our Robertsport Community Works blog.
See you in the water next year!