VIDEO: Watch: Nigeria’s National Surfing Competition at Tarkwa Bay in Lagos
With its tankers and polluted waters, Lagos is an unlikely surfing hotspot. But on the coast of the Nigerian capital, 30 surfers are taking part in a national competition in the hope of one day representing their country on the world stage.
Many competitors are also facing forced eviction from the area in 2020. In January of that year, Nigerian naval forces cleared the beachfront and the fishing community of 10,000 people.
They gave the residents of Tarkwa Bay a morning to pack up and move. For the Nigerian army, tens of thousands of inhabitants had to be “evacuated”, without alternative accommodation, because the communities participate directly, or indirectly by buying fuel, in the siphoning of oil from the pipelines that run along the lagoon.
Michael Gabriel, a Nigerian surfer, was one of the locals.
“Since then I [have been] just, like, struggle,” he said. “Struggling for shelter, for food, for a good life, nothing. So since then we’ve been surfing hard to make it feel like a competition, to forget about everything else.”