Jafar Alam Promotes Surfing in Bangladesh
While the tourism industry of Bangladesh researches and develops the country so as to attract more international visitors, one man’s dream might just hold all the right answers. Known as the first surfer in Bangladesh, Jafar Alam is hoping that his efforts, with the assistance of Surfing the Nations, will promote surfing in Bangladesh and it will grow to become a popular tourist attraction. On his own Jafar has managed to spark interest amongst other youths, but he dreams of surfing becoming the next big sport in his country.
Almost ten years ago Jafar Alam bought his first surfboard from Australian visitors and went about trying to teach himself how to surf. Without proper guidance, he faced many challenges. Standing up was especially difficult for him, and due to the fact that his board did not have a leash he would often finding himself searching for his board more than he was practicing. After five years of struggling, his luck finally changed when he was seen by coincidence by Tom Bauer. Bauer had searched all corners of Bangladesh for surfers, and eventually found Alam at Cox’s Bazar.
Tom Bauer, who is the founder of the non-profit Surfing the Nations organization, works to develop the sport of surfing in underprivileged countries. He immediately helped Alam by giving him a leash and showing him how to wax his board. In the year 2002, Jafar Alam opened the first Cox’s Bazar Surf Club and will be hosting the fourth annual surfing competition where local surfers are put against the talents of almost fifteen American surfers. Alam has approximately forty-eight students under his care, and twelve of those eager surfers are girls. He has lost a few female students, as they are not able to wear their traditional saris when surfing and some families find girls on surfboards, wearing t-shirts and shorts is unacceptable. Alam hopes this view will change as soon as the sport of surfing becomes more popular.
Local authorities also support the promotion of surfing, as they are confident that the sport will boost the tourism industry of Cox’s Bazaar and bring awareness of safety in the water. With the determination of Jafar Alam and his obvious love for the ocean and surfing, it is almost guaranteed that surfing will eventually take off and lure international visitors to take on the waves of Bangladesh.