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Riding the waves in Gaza

Meet Mohammed Abu Ghanim a lifeguard and one of Gaza's few surfers

Mohammed Abu Ghanim is one of the Gaza Strip's few surfers. He takes to the waves of the Middleterranean to escape the daily hardships of living under Israeli siege and occupation in the coastal enclave. He has been honing his surfing skills for nearly 15 years.

"My father was the one who taught me and thankfully I have benefited from him and now I teach others," Abu Ghanim told MEMO. A lifeguard, Abu Ghanim is confident in the water and spends large parts of his day surrounded by it.

"We always wait for the winter so the sea level would rise, and then we all gather, we phone each other and say: 'lets go' and they come down to the beach," he continued. "But many of the boys don't because they don't have the equipment, gear or appropriate clothing. We do not have any spares either, if this breaks, I won't have another."

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The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli siege since 2007, placing heavy restrictions on the movement of people and goods in and out of the territory. This includes restrictions on the import of surf boards and sporting gear.

"We are unable to travel abroad in order to learn how others in different countries surf," Abu Ghanim added. "We cannot gain the knowledge of others and learn from it. They might be a lot better than us considering our situation. We just learn from the internet and practice."

"We would love to go abroad and learn and see how they live, especially if we take up training or participate in competitions and represent Palestine."

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