While most all the headlines coming out of Afghanistan don’t involve SURFER Magazine, we’re happy to report that they've officially become the 82nd member of the International Surfing Association (ISA).
Yes, the country is without a coastline and has been in a near constant state of turmoil since the 1970s, but that didn't stop expatriates and refugees from starting the Wave Riders Association of Afghanistan (WRAA) in 2012. Though the group is small in numbers, they hope to hold the first Afghani National Surfing Championship in June of this year in Hossegor, France. The news that they’ve also been accepted into the ISA was thrilling for Afridun Amu, the president of the WRAA.
"Because so many of our people have been spread across the globe, we have found a place we can all come together and meet up through surfing," said Amu. "Being a part of the ISA offers the possibility to bring surfers from Afghanistan together so that they can share their joy of this wonderful sport with each other and with those who haven't yet learned the sport. More importantly, for our citizens and surfers, this provides the opportunity to take part in an international network, which strengthens the tie of Afghanistan's role in the world community. Since that is possible with soccer, basketball, cricket, and chess, we think it can be the case with surfing as well."
Fernando Aguerre, surf industry veteran and president of the ISA, echoed Amu's enthusiasm. "We are proud to welcome Afghanistan to the ISA," he said. "Members of the Wave Riders Association of Afghanistan (WRAA) have brought together surfers from around the country to participate in a sport that brings them joy and a common bond. While still in its infant stage, there are a lot of opportunities for surfers and SUPers in Afghanistan, and we are excited to provide them with tools so they can grow their existing surfing community and allow their surfers to compete on an international level."
The next ISA event is a junior contest that will be held in Ecuador beginning on April 5. Although Afghanistan has not yet entered a surfer into the event, we're looking forward to the day we see an Afghan surfer in a jersey.