I'd heard there were waves in Cox's Bazar - in fact there is nothing blocking this part of Bangladesh from direct exposure to everything the Indian Ocean has to offer (which is some of the best surf in the world). So it should have epic exposure. Alas, there's a massive continental shelf sticking out about 150 miles - probably made up of silt and minerals from millennia of deposits from the great river systems pouring down from the Himalayas. The end result is that open ocean swells (that bring the waves) loose their energy as they march along continental shelves, robbing said waves of their final harumph as they hit a coast somewhere. Still, some do make it in, and break on what they proudly call the "longest beach in the world".
And along this coastline, between Chittagong port and the Myanmar border (and the Rakhine state where the refugees once lived) are endless beach breaks and a local surf community that is remarkable and unique in so many ways. Hugely refreshing compared to the commercialised, macho-bravado and highly competitive vibe almost everywhere else.
Very few kids own their own boards, rather they are associated with one of the clubs, who have accumulated collections of boards from visiting surfers, aid workers and, well that's it. There is a national surfing association in Dhaka, but they're never seen or heard of until there is a competition, or a trip abroad and then they want a cut of the pie. None of them surf.
|Bunch of the kids from Rashad's club (Rashad with green shirt on his head there), on of the surf safaris.|
|One of the spots down the coast, with a bit of a reef and real potential on the right tide. |
Sadly, we didn't stop here that day.. But it does show what is possible..
|No story about Cox's is complete without the sky, in rainy season especially, which just switches on after the sun drops over that horizon.|