Fanno Surf

Fanno Surf conducts free surf lessons for kids.

Written by Mibsam Zareer

Posted on 3rd February, 2021

In spite of the precariousness brought on by the pandemic, many opportunistic surf enthusiasts have shown resilience and emerged from it stronger. With most parents eager to send their kids to try outdoor activities, and most outdoor activities inaccessible due to covid-19 precautions, the circumstances were perfect for a surf program targeting kids. Fanno Surf is a noteworthy local business run by Ameen Saeed, Mohamed Shifaz (Toddy), and Mohamed Shaffaf that set up such a program in Fuvahmulak.

As initiative to bring forth some positivity during the pandemic, Fanno Surf began free introductory surf lessons for kids under the age of 10. The lessons teach kids the basics of surfing such as balancing themselves on the board and riding whitewash. Fanno Surf strongly believes that every surfer should also be an environmentalist by default. With regard to this, the program also includes regular beach cleanups in order to remind young surfers of their environmental obligation. In four months, this small program that started out with 3 instructors and 2 soft surfboards has trained 12 beginners, including a few kids from Addu and Huvadhoo.

The lessons are held on weekends at Geragando Fanno; the same spot on the Fuvahmulak beachside where the founding members of Fanno Surf caught their first waves when they were little. This spot is ideal for beginners as the whitewash from waves stretch for nearly 70 meters on a good day. Lessons are predominantly held during mid-tide or high-tide. Lesson timings are planned accordingly through a parents’ Viber community.

The aim of this community program is to promote surf culture and increase environmental awareness among young surfers. After the basic lessons, surfers are free to take private lessons from instructors to train further. The program also receives support and equipment from the Fuvahmulak Surf Association and the surf community of the island.

The program is currently promoted primarily through social media. The majority of the initiates of this program are kids from the island. Joint efforts with the local surf association and small local surf community of only 10 members have made a significant impact in promoting surfing in a community where it was traditionally perceived as a dangerous activity. Fanno Surf is also optimistic about the increasing number of female trainees that take part in the introductory program.

In the long run, Fanno Surf hopes to operate as a surf school to train surfers that can compete on an international level. Before this goal can be achieved, Fanno Surf believes that efforts should be made towards the development of the island as this will be vital in breaking the stigma that is still attached to surfing in island communities. They are also in need of more instructors and equipment to carry out their lessons on a larger scale.