Saturday 2nd November 2008 made history in Ghana with the first ever surfing contest held at Busua Beach in the Western Region of Ghana.
This was my second trip to Ghana. After my first trip last Christmas I had feel in love with this country for a number of reason, surfing uncrowded waves was one of reason for my attraction to this African country but also the people who had made me fell so at home and made my stay unforgettable.
I was going to travel to Mexico last Christmas but being peak season flights were out of my budget. I decided to look at other options and for surf destinations that I hadn't travelled to before with the hopes of scoring some good uncrowded waves. Remembering that Ghana had been one of the destinations that Bruce Brown had travelled too in his classic movie The Endless Summer. I started to research into Ghana and came across a surfshop called Blackstar at a beach called Busua. The shop was owned by an American from California called Peter Nardini and co-owned by a local from Busua called Frankee Bordes. I contacted Peter to ask what the condition would be like over this period, and he informed me that it wasn't the best season but he had scored good waves the previous season. So I took a chance a booked my ticket. I surfed at least 3 times a day in uncrowded 2-3ft punchy beach breaks with the odd little cover up here and there. Having travelled to many surf destinations around the world never have I been able to surf every single wave that I wanted. At this point there was only a few local surfers in Ghana, most of which had only been surfing for a couple of years.
I had an idea before I left to organise a local surfing contest in Ghana and I knew that Peter was also keen on the Idea. I work in the surfing Industry (Rip Curl UK), and thanks to James Hendy (UK marketing manager) I was able to gather enough promo to use as prizes for the contest. Also using contest rash vest left over from this years Rip Curl boardmaster to use for the contest in Ghana. Most of the event was organised when I reached Ghana with the help of Blackstar and a few friends, the posters were had written and sent to lodges in the surrounding areas. Trophies were made by a local carpenter called Richard who did an outstanding job considering it was tough to explain to him exactly what we wanted.
The event had four categories, men's, longboard, ladies and a tag team that was mixed with locals and foreigner. I knew that there were about eight local men's surfers, two local ladies and about four foreign surfers within the area. I did not know what to expect on the day.
Unfortunately on the day of the contest the waves had dropped in size, this trip I had the pleasure of surfing a few different spots including one of the point breaks 4-5ft and undoubtly a world class wave. The poster's had paid off and on the day and surfers from all over the globe wanting to take part in this historical event, surfers from the UK, Italy, France, Germany, America, Canada and even an Ozzy from Margaret River.
The surf was 2ft and glassy in the morning, and we managed to run all semi finals and the ladies final. Having enough surfers, to have four man heats in each category apart from the ladies. The tag team was lots of fun having a mix of locals and foreign surfers. The Finals were run in the late afternoon using the tidal push to its full advantage. Throughout the day the beach started to fill with locals, volunters and travellers creating an increadible atmosphere. The men's Final was the last to hit the water, with most of the finalist surfing 3-4 times that day. The final horn was sounded at sunset and after we held a presentation to crown Ghana's first ever surf champions, followed by a massive party with lots of dancing and a bonfire on the beach.
I would like to thank all the surfers who took part in this event, without you this event would never of happened also to all the spectators who turned up to cheer on and support the surfers that took part, Blackstar Surfshop for hosting the contest and my good friends Akwasi McLaren and Sean McKernan. Hopefully this contest will pay a small part in promoting surfing in Ghana and a start of many more things to come.