Tarkwa Bay: Africa’s hidden surfing gem

Nigerian surfer and instructor Godpower Pekipuma was born in Tarkwa Bay, the small beach community close to Lagos harbour, where man-made shipping inlets have helped to create naturalistic swells, perfect for surfing.

While surfing may not be the most popular sport in Nigeria, the young surfers Pekipuma teaches in the bay are discovering the natural thrill of the sport. He teaches 15 students, some as young as five, to tame the waves of Tarkwa, using borrowed, donated and makeshift boards.

“It’s hard to practise more, because we don’t want to break our boards,” Pekipuma told BBC News. It’s the reason he wants to build a small local industry around the sport and the community, teaching residents to build boards. He is also planning on opening a surf shop where surfers can get advice and encouragement.

Together with Italian-born surf-tourist John Micheletti, Pekipuma also wants to spread the word to the international surfing community, both amateur and professional, inviting them to discover surfing, the Nigerian way.

Micheletti, who divides his time between the waves of Cape Town and Lagos, spreading the gospel of Tarkwa Bay to his fellow surfing journeymen, is determined to get the surfing world to experience the unique African surf culture. He told BBC News: “We want the world to see what we are doing, in our own humble way.”

The sport is becoming popular enough that even the local film industry, known as Nollywood, is getting in on the action – recruiting Pekipuma, Micheletti and their students to make a surfing-themed movie titled The Ghost of Tarkwa Bay in 2017.

Watch the BBC interview with Godpower Pekipuma and John Micheletti about surfing at Tarkwa Bay:

Watch a CNN interview with Godpower Pekipuma about life as a surfer in Nigeria:

Watch a short film about surfing Tarkwa Bay by surf tourist Armando Abraham, featuring John Micheletti and a great afro-funk soundtrack:

Be inspired by a collection of Tarkwa surfing photos, courtesy of Godpower Pekipuma’s Facebook page:

Source: BBC News

SouthAfrica.info reporter

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