Lebanon’s first official surfing competition makes a splash south of Beirut

(14 May 2024)



LENGTH: 3:42

Jiyeh, Lebanon – 11 May 2024
1. Beach known by the name, Mostafa’s A-Frame, located in the port village of Jiyeh near Sidon
2. Participants in the open surf competition organized by the Lebanese Surfing Federation
3. Woman watching from beach
4. Various of women surfing

Jiyeh, Lebanon – 12 May 2024
5. Surfing competition judges at beach watching contestants
6. Judges’ score sheet
7. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ali el-Amine, head of the Lebanese Surfing Federation:
"We have six categories competing. There is a category for youth under 18. We have two categories for women on longboards and shortboards, and similarly for men there are longboard and shortboard contests. We have about 60 to 61 competitors across all categories. The participating foreigners included around two Americans and one Spanish person."

8. Various of surfers heading to sea
9. Audience watching surfers compete
10. Various of surfers performing on high waves
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Hamilton, American surfer:
"Many places in the world don’t have as good of waves as Lebanon does and they are way more crowded. So you have beautiful waves, you have diverse coastline and it is not so crowded. So there is a lot of opportunity for the future."

12. Various of contestants surfing
13. Audience clapping while sitting on rocks
14. Various of contestants surfing
15. Participants greeting each other after surfing
16. First-place trophy being presented to the winner in the women’s competition, Caroline Raphael
17. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Caroline Raphael, first-place winner in the women’s competition:
"It’s a very good sport. It helps not only physically, but also spiritually, mentally and emotionally, all at the same time. This sport has a future because I see the community growing bigger and bigger every time."

18. Winners in the male competition getting trophies
19. Jiyeh beach
Lebanon’s first official surfing championship kicked off over the weekend at Jiyeh Beach, south of Beirut.

Under the spring Mediterranean sun, more than 60 contestants competed for two days across several categories.

The competitors’ ages ranged from 8 to 47 and nearly half of them were women.

There were two categories for women, one on longboards and another on shortboards, said Ali el-Amine, the head of the Lebanese Surfing Federation which organized the event.

Situated at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean, Lebanon enjoys waves almost all year round along its 210 km (130 miles) coastline, making it a great spot for surfers.

When it comes to surfing in Lebanon, the focal point is undoubtedly Jiyeh Beach, just 24 km (15 miles) south of the capital, Beirut.

People can ride the waves throughout this area, but the most renowned spot is known as Mostafa’s A-Frame.

Lebanon may not be a typical surfing destination for many, but it still attracts some foreign surfers.

"Many places in the world don’t have as good of waves as Lebanon does and they are way more crowded. So you have beautiful waves, you have diverse coastline," said Mark Hamilton, an American who took part in the competition.

Caroline Raphael, the first-place winner in the women’s category, says this sport benefits her "not only physically, but also spiritually, mentally and emotionally."

She added that the surfing community is "growing bigger and bigger" with time.

AP video shot by Ali Sharafeddine


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