THE SENEGALESE QUEEN OF WAVES

Jour­ney­ing around Africa, Anna came across the in­spi­ra­tional Senegalese surf girl Khardiata. This is her story.

Surf Girl - - Spot Check -

In the labyrinth of nar­row sandy al­leys, the pun­gent scent of fish blended with the fas­ci­nat­ing singing from the Mosque. The kids sur­rounded by goats and chick­ens played with glass mar­bles while most of the men took their Per­sian car­pets and washed their faces, hands and feet to per­form Wudu, the prepa­ra­tions to pray.

Khardiata Sambe lives in Ngor, a fish­er­men’s vil­lage in Dakar, the cap­i­tal of Sene­gal. She has been sur­rounded by wa­ter since she was born, but be­ing a woman in the Ngor com­mu­nity means stay­ing on land while men helm the Senegalese fish­ing boats, pirogues head­ing out to sea. Old tra­di­tions hold strong in the tightly pop­u­lated vil­lage, so the fixed gen­der roles di­vide the tasks of com­mune liv­ing. Men fish and women sell the catch af­ter tak­ing care of the kids, cook­ing and clean­ing the house. Khardiata, known as Khad­jou be­tween friends, chose a dif­fer­ent path; which wasn’t so sim­ple at all.

Khad­jou started surf­ing at her early 20s with her cousin As­tou, when they fol­lowed their broth­ers and un­cles into the wa­ter. She had easy ac­cess to the ocean, as her fam­ily’s house stands just in front of the waves break­ing next to the lit­tle is­land of Ngor. This wave, Ngor Right, has played an im­por­tant role in the his­tory of surf in Sene­gal, since it was rid­den for the first time in 1966, by Mike and Robert in the iconic film, The End­less Sum­mer. Khad­jou was hooked by the power and speed of the wa­ter, and soon learned to ride the waves with the sup­port of her un­cle Pape Samba Ndi­aye.

The ex­cite­ment and the pas­sion glow from her eyes when she talks about surf­ing: “It is sim­ply the

words and il­lus­tra­tions by ANNA ANUNDI pho­tos by GIO­VANNI AS­TORINO Khad­jou rid­ing the Ngor right with fear­less style.

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