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>surfin’ in Bangladesh

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>WITH his fluorescent board shorts and muscular body, Jafar Alam does not look like a typical Bangladeshi. South Africa’s Independent Online carries a piece on surfing on the world’s longest sea beach.
While most men his age in this conservative Muslim country are obsessed with cricket, the 25-year-old is more likely to be found surfing the waves on one of the world’s longest beaches.
Alam, who says he is Bangladesh’s first surfer, is working to not only popularise the sport, but also to build international recognition for the largely untouched beach where he surfs.
This month he will hold his fourth annual surfing competition, when a group of 15 American surfers will descend on the beach to compete against locals.

Until Alam started the Cox’s Bazar Surf Club in 2002 – based out of the two-room house he shares with five family members – he said the sport did not exist in his country. He now has 48 students, including 12 girls.
Although home to a 125-kilometre stretch of unbroken coast, it was only the occasional intrepid international tourist who would test the waves, he said.
A decade ago Alam bought a surfboard from a visiting Australian tourist for 20 US dollars, and for five years tried to teach himself.
He found it difficult to stand up and would often lose his board as he had no leash.

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