Liberia: Robertsport’s Surf Culture Swells

 

 

— With resounding success of Grand Cape Mount Surf Club Association’s first annual Kwepuna Feast

Residents from around Cape Mount and guests converged on Robertsport Beach on Friday, December 29th, for the Grand Cape Mount Surf Club Association’s first annual Kwepuna Feast and Surf Exhibition.

As Robertsport’s reputation surges globally for its amazing point breaks, the youth of the city are gearing up to develop a surf culture of their own. Fearless young girls and boys ages 11 and 25 hit the waters at the surf exhibition, displaying stunts, and their incredible techniques and skills before onlookers from around Cape Mount, Monrovia, and international visitors.  

“I have heard of the kids surfing but have never watched before. This is very exciting,” said Olivia Klein, owner of OJ’s Restaurant in downtown Robertsport. US Colorado Representative Naquetta Ricks joined the fun, taking selfies and chatting with the young surfers.  

Also, President of the Liberia Surfing Federation, Ricks said her mission is to work with all surfers to further their dreams and goals across Liberia.  “I am glad I came and am amazed at how enthusiastic and talented the surfers are,” she said.  With Liberia’s many waters, my dream would be to see surfing become a popular sport in Liberia someday,” she added.   

Vaanii Kiazolu, President of the Grand Cape Mount Surf Club Association, said, “Thank you to the International Trade Center (ITC) for this opportunity, but it is important to stress the need for more support towards developing Robertsport into a surf destination.”  

The two-day event was organized by the International Trade Center (ITC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism (MICAT) and the Grand Cape Mount Surf Club Association (GCMSCA).  RLJ Kendeja Resort and Villas’ Food and Beverage Manager Reuben Twumasi facilitated the two-day program, with day one focused on service delivery to a cross-section of Robertsport hospitality business owners, security, local government, and surfers.  With the workshop overlooking the beautiful Robertsport beach landscape, everyone enthusiastically engaged in creating the best beach experiences while delivering world-class service.  On day-two the surfers implemented what had been discussed in the previous day's workshop and set up the beach with guidance and oversight by Twumasi.  

“We are really excited that we were able to end the year in Robertsport with the surfers,” said Hesta Baker, National Consultant for the International Trade Center.  Throughout this year, we have held several capacity-building workshops with the association and Robertsport stakeholders and are also in the process of constructing a surf house in Robertsport and a visitor center in Tosor, the town before entering Robertsport.  We believe that the groundwork for developing the surf industry is to develop both capacity and infrastructure, while promoting more investments in the surf tourism industry,” she concluded.

The Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism's (MICAT) focal person on the Liberia Tourism Development Project by the ITC is Juanita Yiah, who encouraged the surfers and used the occasion to reemphasize the government’s commitment to the development of the industry in Robertsport.  “We have taken time away from the holiday to spend it with you as a way of showing how important you all are to tourism.  We will remain vigilant towards seeing surf tourism developed in Robertsport,” she said. 

A feast of Liberian dishes and desserts was served, complimentary, to over one hundred residents, surfers, and guests who then trekked along the beach for two exciting surf exhibitions.  The first featured surfers under 18, followed by another exhibition at one of the more challenging point breaks. There were lots of cheering, jubilation, and selfies that lit up the beach, signaling the possibilities for an exciting 2023.

About the Tourism Development Project 

The Liberia Tourism Development project emanates from the National Export Strategy on Tourism 2016- 2020 and responds to the implementation of the strategy. It has the objective of developing the tourism sector offerings by: a) improving the policy environment and institutional capacity; b) developing new tourism destinations around surfing and other historical and natural attractions; and c) undertaking targeted promotion and advocacy campaigns to promote tourism to international, regional, and domestic markets. Specifically, the project aims at: a) establishing a tourism information booth at the Monrovia Roberts International Airport, b) developing tourist reception facilities at the Robertsport beach-front, the Providence Island and the Marshall Island; and c) developing a tourism marketing strategy and a tourism brand identity for Liberia, focusing on Robertsport as a surf tourism destination. The project is implemented by the International Trade Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism; and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. It is funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework Programme. For more information, please call +231 (0) 776 812 314.