Africa Sport Travel

Liberia

Written by Ales Maticic

Liberia, an African unspoiled paradise for surfers

Liberia is also known as one f African unspoiled paradise for surfers, but many ask themselves for how long?  And this is because Liberia is slowly opening up to tourism.

When Alfred Lomax began five years ago start to surf on waves there, people look at him as the first home-grown surfer of Liberia.

Nowadays, he is not the only Liberian in search of the perfect wave. But this sport in Liberia still remains and is known as a niche market, and some people praise this West African country as one of the last undiscovered surf destinations of the world. Lomax started with surfing shortly after the end of 14-year civil which was going on in Liberia.

The war, that had torn up most of his country. He says, that being in the sea at the Liberian coast is as being in heaven. “There is nothing better than surfing,” she says. “I feel so happy.”

Even though Lomax is known as Liberian pioneer of surfing, he is not the only ones who enjoy the unspoiled coast of Liberia.

Also very known is a man named Keith Chapman, who managed Surf Liberia, which promotes the country as a surfing destination.

He was educated as a professional dentist, and had came to Liberia about five years ago, to make his contribution to a country which had face a 14 years of civil war.

His main mission was, to contribute his share to a country that desperately needs a better health system. For four years he worked on a floating hospital in the west side of Africa and helped some of the poorest people in the world. He was fascinated by Liberia so, as a 37 year old man, he has settled there with his family. This was in year 2008.

Is this the last undiscovered corner of the world?

For couple of years, Chapman had worked long hours with his work colleges in the dental clinic outside the capital, a city called Monrovia.

And while working there under a lot of stress, surfing was his relaxation time. He also said that need for help and health assistance in Liberia is huge, that he could work 24 hours a day. But, for yourself he said, you have to set some boundaries.

Chapman does not have a lot of free time, but when he has it, he goes with a group of colleges, also regular surfers, to a beach close to home. In Liberia he can enjoy the waves without battle for a space – he said in kind a humors’ way.

His surfing community has more than 20 people. In most surfing places of the world, where there are such a good waves, this would be almost unbelievable; as such places are almost always very crowded with surfers.

Robert-sports is the most popular destination for surfers in Liberia. Its also known for his five best break points destinations.  This is a location where the waves break on the coast.   News of the continuous waves slowly reaches out to tourists and some have already decided to visit and explore Liberian coast.

Swiss surfer, called Julian Saccaron had come with his colleagues to in Liberia, to surf for half a year. He wants to avoid destinations such as Indonesia and Australia, destinations which are the best for surfers, but also very very crowded each year. Here in Liberia, he can explore and enjoy something unbelievable.

Nice good waves with break points, and only few surfers. Is the best feeling he said. Saccaron knows that it is only a matter of time before people will discovered what Liberia has to offer to surfers. He also said: »We have already talked about with other surfers and though; breathe and take in   all you can, because it won’t be the same when we will return«.

And while Saccaron wants to maintain the coast as a secret place, local surfers hope, that these nice beaches will attract visitors and tourist, which will bring more money into their region. These local communities currently rely on fish for survival. Mainly they are earning their money mainly with fishing.  But Liberia is far away from mass tourism. People visiting Liberia will have to be prepared for some kind of adventure. This is not a place where you could get a holiday package says Chapman.

He believes that it will take some time before Liberia will see a tourist boom. As Liberia is now trying hard which is trying everything it can get rid of the seal of the war-torn societies. Liberian people think that once they will get rid of war stigma, there will be more people which will visit Liberia. But at the same time, they admit, that there are still missing few things, such as; public transport and good roads, which are still problematic. But there is a good thing about security which is not is really questionable, as there is a very little crime.

U.S. and UK are quite gingerly towards Liberia

However, the State Department calls on its citizens, as they should be extremely careful when they travel to and within Liberia. While British Foreign Office advice all travelers not to travel to Liberia, except if there is emergency. Both ministries point out that the crime rate is very high, especially when it gets dark.

But although, that Liberia certainly still has its share of the economic and social problems, Chapman believes, that surfers can help. In this believes, he encourages surfing community to become active in volunteer work and hopes that Liberian waves will also attract more humanitarian workers to assist in rebuilding the country. I’m sure that there are many dentists who surf, he says.

Lomax also hopes that tourists are not the only ones, who will benefit from the waves of his country.
He also point out; “I watch all sports in our country – people play football, basketball, but fortunately surfing is not part of that. So I decided that I want to bring surfing in Liberia and make Liberia one of the biggest surf of the world.

About the author

Ales Maticic

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