01 Oct #Tripnotes GHANARAMA: a serious kind of adventure surftrip ;-)
Well, where to start?? The last NOMB Surftrip blew our minds.. Over and over again.. Let´s see what head surfcoach Angie has to say about the 14 days in incredible Ghana..
´It doesn´t happen often that I am lost for words but right now I am struggling to put the past weeks surfing in Ghana into words. Maybe because with my heart and soul I am still at this little beach called Busua Beach in Southwest Ghana.
A couple of years ago NOMB Surfer Annette send me a photo of her surfing right there in Busua with the text: maybe a NOMB Surftrip destination?? And believe it or not, 2 years later Annette, myself and another 2 crazy NOMB Surfladies (Kiki & Tina) met at Accra International Airport – ready to go surfing. This was the first ever all-girls NOMB trip and to be honest, I was a little bit worried about how it would turn out. Turned out that I could not have asked for cooler chicas to join me on this African adventure, the group dynamic was amazing and trust me, there were loooooads of giggles involved 😉
After a night in Accra we made our way to our homebase: Busua Beach, a small town right on the beach. Traffic is always unpredictable (and exciting) in Ghana but the 6+hrs drive was worth it when we arrived at Ahanta Waves Eco-Lodge, our home for the next two weeks. Who wouldn´t want to wake up here??
Right behind the trees, crossing a little creek, passing the fishermen and their boats, there´s a nice beachbreak which works on most days. It can actually handle quite some size, too. That´s where we surfed the first couple of days, to get used to the boards and the energy of Ghana´s waves. We were super lucky to have local guide (and probably Ghana´s best surfer) Michael ´Ballack´ Blackboy joining us on our surfcoaching sessions.
After a couple of days Ballack thought we were ready to go and surf a nearby pointbreak. Nearby means a 20min walk through the jungle and the next small town. Twenty minutes can be pretty long when humidity and the outside temperature are extremely high. But we all took it with good spirits, serious board-carrying-sharing involved.
The next few days were spend surfing in and around Busua. But surfing wasn´t all we did. The people of Busua are so super friendly and welcomed us with open arms. A stroll into town would always take quite a while, stopping every few minutes for a nice chat, tea & cakes at the local coffee shop or a pitstop at Emmanuell´s, our favourite shopkeeper.
Busua´s young locals are a bunch of great people, motivated to make their community a better place. Like the guys from B.B.C.C. (Busua Beach Community Caretakers) for example. They meet every Wednesday and Saturday to clean up the streets and the beach of Busua. They are on their way to become a totally independent NGO and fund themselves by selling their T-shirts. Sure we all got one. They also have a GoFundMe campaign running, trying to come up with funds to finish all the paperwork to become a proper foundation. Check it out if you feel like supporting those amazing guys and girls. We did our best to support B.B.C.C. and joined their clean-ups whenever we could. That´s us ladies all dressed up and ready to fight plastic!!
The surfing of the girls improved really quickly. Daily surfcoaching and their efforts and concentration, helped by the amazing waves, paid off. Soon we were ready for our first daytrip. And what a daytrip it was.
Julia & Peter, the owners of Ahanta Lodge, joined by their cute dog Tiger, took us on a real adventure trip. After an hour drive we parked the car at a tiny village on the beach. Geared up with boards we crossed the tiny lanes of this tiny village. Seriously, it felt like we were walking through everyone´s living rooms. We soon crossed a bridge, then through the jungle, just to end up at a paradise bay. Just us, some local schoolkids and an empty eco-lodge. The perfect place to realize that yes, we really were in paradise. We got changed, left our stuff in the lodge, crossed a creek, through another jungle hill to end up in a deserted bay.
Imagine a bay framed by juuuuungle and a heaving righthand pointbreak at the end of the bay. Did I hear anyone say PARADISE???
During the next week we went on more very cool daytrips, even treetopwalking in Kakum National Park, visiting an old fort and jungle tracking to Cape Three Point. Ohhh, and did I mention the incredible beachwalk with sunset lunch and a never to forget sunset??
We also got our fair share of adventure (it was an adventure surftrip after all) when our daytrip to Cape Three Point turned into some serious getting-stuck-in-the-mud experience. Generally in September it doesn´t rain that much but this year was different. Tropical rain turned few of the roads into a real mudslides, making us get stuck four times, even with very experienced Peter driving a 4X4. Nevertheless, we had a great time during this adventure, especially when a motorbike with pounding tunes turned up. We nicknamed it the disco-moped because it even had little disco flashlights installed. Soo cool!
Days flew by so quickly, so many waves to surf and so many things to do. Bonfires, a serious drum-lesson, dinner at the lobster man´s house.. Plus we met so many inspiring people who happily shared their stories with us and let us be part of their efforts on changing their community. Like the guys from Teach On The Beach for example. Apart from having a daily schoolhour for the local kids to get help with their homework, every night, Monday to Friday, at 7pm they have a newshour. Together with the kids they watch international news, learning new vocabulary and discussing the happenings. What an amazing way to build a path for those kids to understand that there is a whole world outside their little village. What impressed me even more was the positive energy everyone shared!
The whole #Ghanarama trip has been an unforgettable experience. Ever single minute of it. But personally, what touched me most was the surfday we organized for the local community. Not in my wildest dream did I imagine how many people would participate.
The surfday was held on Sunday 22nd September at Ahanta Waves Surfschool right on the beach in Busua. I couldn´t believe it when more than 20 kids turned up to try to surf and join us in the waves. And especially when Emmanuell, the owner of our favourite shop, showed up bringing along the boys and girls of Future Uplifters. Emmanuell supports those local kids, making it possible for them to attend school by supplying school materials, uniforms and paying the tuition fees. What a legend!!
Thanks to all the instructors (and freesurfers) of Busua we managed to get all the kids into the waves. What a bunch of little shredders. I had some great moments with the local girls who were really keen to surf with me. They even told some boys to go away because they wanted to surf with me alone. I have grown up believing that I can reach whatever I want, that the world holds no restrictions for me, and even less because I am a woman. Being able to pass on some of my positive energy and empower some girls in Ghana, making them understand that for them too, the world is open, and how much they are worth being young, strong and independent women. That was a life changing experience that moved a lot more inside by heart and soul that I am, until today, still am unable to comprehend.
The free surfclasses were followed by a surfing competition. Believe it or not, about 40 surfers signed up for it. We ran a juniors, a ladies and an open division. And yes, the NOMB Surfladies Annette, Kiki and Tina joined the competition as well. Annette and Kiki even made it into the ladies final. The surfing in all three categories was impressive. As all kinds of surfequipment is really rare in Ghana, boards and leashes were shared and everyone shredded as hard as he or she could. In the end the winners were crowned with Prince winning the Juniors, Patricia being the Ladies champ and Ballack winning the Open. That´s the surfday in full swing..
Thanks to all our amazing sponsors and donors we had prices for everyone who participated: rashguards, tshirts, wax, sunscreen, fins, leashes, bags, finkeys, stickers etc.. What no one knew was that we had three surfboards to give away to the 3 winners. Imagine the stoke of Prince, Patricia and Ballack when they all receive a coconut-fin trophy, a surfboard and some accessories.
We, and I know I am also talking for Annette, Kiki and Tina, are super stoked to have left a positive footprint (and some cool goodies) in the beautiful Busua Beach community. Thanks for welcoming us with such open arms! Check out some more pics on our Facebook Site!!
At this point I would love to send out a really big MEDAASE (thank you) to everyone who supported the idea of our #Ghanarama Surfday, donated surfequipment and made this day possible: Ahanta Waves Surfschool & Camp, Sicre Surfboards, PBF Brokers, Freshsurf Surfschool, Riders Surf´n´bike, Protest Surfcenter, Narosa Life, Greenfix Eco-Wax, SWOX Sunscreen, Katie Guthrie, and all my students who donated loads of cool stuff!!
Last but not least I would love to thank my NOMB Surfladies Annette, Kiki and Tina for believing in NOMB Surf and me, and making this trip such a legendary adventure. You girls rock!!
´People, not places, make memories´
NOMB Surf will be back in Ghana, sure this wasn´t our last trip to Busua Beach. Stay up to date with that´s happening at NOMB Surf . Until then I will keep all you beautiful people in my heart, sea you soon: Annette, Kiki, Tina, Suzzy, Freda, Richi, Louis, Henry, Ballack, Bebe, Click, Emmanuell, Love, Helena, Francis, Junior, Rusty, Ebenezer, Julia, Peter and all the Busua Beach surfers..
PS: Ghana is an incredible country, with amazing people, coastline, jungle, music and waves. But what pictures don´t tell is the extreme humidity, heat and cultural challenges. We would love to see Ghana developing it´s tourism in a sustainable way and attract more visitors to come. However, we advise you, fellow surftravellers, to not underestimate the distances (30km can take 4 1/2hrs), the impact you leave in every community and the cultural differences.