Surfing in the Muslim world?

I don’t know how this question popped into my head, I was thinking about Beach Boys songs, then started thinking about the news headlines of the day I guess, I don’t know.

But anyway. How much surfing is there in the Muslim world? Are there any really great surf locations in any Muslim countries?

It occurs to me that I don’t know anything about surfing in the Mediterranean at all- whether it be southern Europe , Mediterranean Asia, or North Africa. Do the Mediterranean beaches get waves suitable for surfing? What about the Altantic coast of Morocco?

The western, eastern, southern coasts of the Arabian Peninsula? Iran or Pakistan in the Gulf or Arabian Sea? Musilm areas of India? Bangladesh? Indonesia?

Related question: Beach Wear. In countries with a strict Islamic government, what do people wear to the beach? How about more moderate Muslim countries where modesty in dress is still highly valued?

Bali (within Indonesia) is a popular surfing destination.

an iranian coworker told me the beaches are divided. male one side, women another. chadors are worn to the beach, not so much in the water. there are the cabana like things that you go out in the water in.

Bali is, however, a largely Hindu population.


An article on the National Geographic site:

If this site is on the level and not a very well done bit of drollery, this is an Australian company marketing women’s sportswear and swimwear that conforms to Islamic rules concerning modesty:

You can surf on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.

Yep, and Essaouira is one of the world’s top windsurfing spots.

The Mentawai Islands in the Muslim part of Indonesia are a top surf spot.

Also places in Malaysia.

I live in Beirut, and there’s not much wave action I see. During big storms there can be pretty big swells which crash on the rocks along the beach, but even if they were sufficiently big for surfing, I think surfing toward the rocks during a storm seems like a pretty bad idea. I just don’t think the Mediterranean gets very big waves–not like an ocean.

Seconded. You don’t get waves big enough for real surfing over here (real wave surfing, that is - windsurfing is popular throughout the Mediterranian).

OK, but to what extent do any MUSLIMS surf?

“Ali don’t surf!”

I have never seen anyone I would identify as a Muslim surf, but then again, how could you tell?

The Red Sea (so called because it is not red) and the Arabian Gulf are both nonstarters as far as waves go.

Speaking about beach wear, I can offer some observations. When families go to the beach hereabouts, the menfolk wear those really embarrassing European slingshot things. Younger boys wear what looks like football shorts.

Women were the full gown and do not go near the water. Once on the Arabian Gulf, where the deep water is close inshore, I saw an interesting sight. Some sort of cabin cruiser being driven by two or three Saudis in sunglasses and the aforementioned slingshots. In the cockpit were half a dozen ladies, sitting nicely, hands in their laps wearing orange life vests over their gowns.

A friend in Abu Dhabi has seen Arab guys in full kit race about on jetskis. Not quite surfing, of course.

With respect, that’s like asking “to what extent do any CHRISTIANS surf?” Obviously you’re gonna have your wide range of attitudes. Most conservative Muslims - let’s compare them to Amish or another conservative-type group - probably wouldn’t be inclined to extreme sports. Since that’s a significant portion of the population (and the ruling government) in many Mid-Eastern countries, I would guess the surfing action is pretty slim.

Muslims who aren’t so conservative in dress and lifestyle would consequently be more inclined to try something like surfing, methinks. Still, see above - cultural norms might dissuade even these folks from hitting the waves.

In Turkey some women wore western-style swimsuits, and some swam in jeans shorts and a shirt. The men wore swim trunks.

What aboiut wetsuits? They can cover the body, but they also tend to be form fitting.


My brother windsurfs - I’ll ask him if he knows any Arab surfers.

I don’t know about surfing, but I do know that lots of Iranians ski, especially the women. On one of the Globetrekking specials I saw, there was film of Iranian women all bundled up, skiing down a snow covered Iranian mountain. Looked pretty neat.

In the U.S. conservative muslim women swim at indoor pools where absolutely no men are allowed.