COSTA MESA, CA (June 22, 2012) – For residents of Southern California surfing is a way of life, but for an impoverished nation that is the 8th highest populated country in the world and yet only the size of Iowa, surfing was just introduced in the last 10 years. Among the few to introduce the sport to Bangladesh are 21 year old Shahadat Hosen and 25 year old Abdoul Aziz, who are currently visiting the United States for the first time.
Arriving in Orange County just last week, the cousins have been spending time sharing their story and a documentary they were featured in, “Gum For My Boat.” In the documentary, professional surfer, Kahana Kalama travels to Bangladesh’s coastal city, Cox’s Bazar to explore how surfing was recently introduced into the conservative Islamic culture where people dare not go into the ocean past their knees. The film also highlights the Cox’s Bazar Surf Club, which Shahadat and Abdoul along with Hawaiian based non-profit Surfing the Nations, are leading the way and taking in kids living on the streets; feeding them, providing medical care and teaching them to surf. With such a simple act of surfing that so many of us Californians take for granted, to this community surfing is transforming their lives and restoring a new sense of hope. Not only becoming a source of fun but also offering an escape and even a way to earn income for their families.
Traveling with them is the International Director at Surfing the Nations and New Jersey native, Kristin Flynn, who says this trip is allowing Shahadat and Abdoul a chance to put faces to names from surf and non-surf communities that have been supporting them for the past few years with surf equipment, finances and in prayer. “We are trying to connect then with the best of the best within the surf business world so they can learn from their wisdom and expand their vision of what surfing could be one day in Cox’s Bazar.” A highlight of the trip for the guys so far has been a tour of the Hurley Complex in Costa Mesa, where the guys had an opportunity to meet and speak with people in the design and product development departments. They also had the opportunity to connect with and personally thank San Diego based humanitarian inspired fashion label,
Jedidiah, which has been a huge supporter of the film and have continuously donated surf shirts and board shorts to the Bangladesh surfing community.
Leaving Monday evening and heading to Hawaii to continue their leadership development training with Surfing the Nations, the future goals of the Cox’s Bazar Surf Club and Surfing the Nations is to start breaking the cultural boundaries in Bangladesh of woman not being allowed in the water and to surf. Kristin, Shahadat and Abdoul are leading the way and pioneering this movement. The team is currently working on raising funds and support to document this next phase of empowering the women of Bangladesh and to illustrate how surfing can involve so much more than just catching waves.