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Where would a surfer find the best waves in Africa? For many, the answer to that would be South Africa, where Jeffrey Bay, Dungeons, Long Beach, Elands Bay are among a long list of beaches where you can catch some waves. There are also those who would point out Morocco, renown for locations such as Anchor Point and Boilers. Or maybe even Mozambique, where Ponta do Ouro and Tofinho Point attract locals and foreigners alike.
But say you are somewhere in West Africa, where would you go?
There are a few choices. The first is Senegal, specifically in the Almadies and the N’Gor Island. The second place is Liberia, or more precisely, Robertsport, up north and only 10 miles from the border with Sierra Leone.
According to those who’ve been there, Robertsport, a small fishing village some 50km north of the capital Monrovia, is the place to be.
Some would think this odd, for a nation still healing from a civil war that ended only slightly over a year ago, but then again, the story of surfing in Robertsport apparently began with the civil war, when one Alfred Lomax stumbled upon a longboard while fleeing for dear life as the conflict raged.
It would be some 3 years after the civil war that Lomax would master the sport, but when he did, he formed a surf crew and started training the residents of Robertsport. Back then, his Black Surfer Boys surf crew had a 5-man crew, the only guys who could surf, but a growing interest in surfing has seen the modest town have around 30 regular surfers, even though there are only 6 surfboards to go around.
So why is Robertsport being considered the next surfing mecca?
Firstly, there are waves all year round. The biggest waves are to be found from March to October. Surfers come to ride waves, and the restless Atlantic ensures there is some exhilarating ride whenever you drop in. You know there are waves alright when a small town such as this has at least 6 different spots not too far from each other, including; Cotton Trees, Shipwreck, Cutting Point, Loco, Cassava Point and Camp Point.
Liberia has a coastline more than 350 miles long, but Robertsport is about the only place where surfing is rather established, and it’s because the waves keep rushing in, usually swelling to between 2.5 and 4 ft. high.
The other reason Robertsport is being hailed as a great surf spot is not likely to last long, as it becomes more known. It is loved by the intrepid surfer for the fact that there are very few people who get to its beaches (few people= more surfing acre, more people= possibly waiting in line), courtesy of its relative isolation. The Monrovia-Robertsport road is largely a rough road, and this has in the past deterred many from going there, in addition to the fact that people knew not such a place existed. Its isolation also means that facilities are few in Robertsport, but that is slowly changing, as can be seen with the establishment of Hotel Kwepunha and Nana Lodges.
However, Robertsport doesn’t only have good beaches to draw in surfers; its natural beauty is something that speaks for itself, from the thick jungle foliage that lines up the road to town to the shimmering Atlantic that draws in visitors from all over the world. There is also Lake Piso, and oblong lake that cuts off Robertsport from the mainland.
Surrounded by the Atlantic, the lake, the jungle, a mountain; that is Robertsport for you. A largely unspoilt haven that you should make a point of visiting should you happen to be in Liberia any time soon.
By Matengo Chwanya