Photos: Myanmar’s first surf team to take off at SE Asian games

Competitive surfing is barely a few years old in Myanmar but one local beach town is riding a wave of enthusiasm, as the country’s team prepares for their first Southeast Asian Games appearance in the sport. The mild waves at Ngwe Saung present a paradox for competitive surfers -- they are good to learn on but much tamer than the conditions in surfing hotspots. The team went to Bali in Indonesia for two months to get used to some "big wave surfing" and have made enormous strides in a short amount of time gearing up for their debut appearance later this year in November.

Updated On Oct 21, 2019 10:05 AM IST
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Myanmar’s Nida Soe carries her surfboard for a surfing practice session on Ngwe Saung beach in Irrawaddy division, ahead of the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines. Competitive surfing was barely known in Myanmar a few years ago but one local beach town is riding a wave of enthusiasm to the Southeast Asia Games for the first time ever. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2019 10:05 AM IST

Myanmar’s Nida Soe carries her surfboard for a surfing practice session on Ngwe Saung beach in Irrawaddy division, ahead of the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines. Competitive surfing was barely known in Myanmar a few years ago but one local beach town is riding a wave of enthusiasm to the Southeast Asia Games for the first time ever. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

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Nida Soe taking part in a surfing practice session. Paddling hard and smiling, she flung herself up on the board just as a wave was breaking, spreading her arms out for balance before getting knocked off. “I can’t live without surfing,” she said. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2019 10:05 AM IST

Nida Soe taking part in a surfing practice session. Paddling hard and smiling, she flung herself up on the board just as a wave was breaking, spreading her arms out for balance before getting knocked off. “I can’t live without surfing,” she said. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

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“I did not expect to be chosen for the national team but I’m thrilled at the opportunity.” The Southeast Asian country is flanked by surf-ready coasts to the west and south, but decades of military rule, lack of equipment and poverty kept aspiring athletes from testing the waters. The 25-year-old encountered the sport while studying in southern California and has been hooked since, saying she “always feels happy” on the water. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2019 10:05 AM IST

“I did not expect to be chosen for the national team but I’m thrilled at the opportunity.” The Southeast Asian country is flanked by surf-ready coasts to the west and south, but decades of military rule, lack of equipment and poverty kept aspiring athletes from testing the waters. The 25-year-old encountered the sport while studying in southern California and has been hooked since, saying she “always feels happy” on the water. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

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The mild waves at Ngwe Saung present a paradox for competitive surfers -- they are good to learn on but much tamer than the conditions in surfing hotspots. The team went to Bali in Indonesia for two months to get used to some “big wave surfing” and have made enormous strides in a short amount of time. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2019 10:05 AM IST

The mild waves at Ngwe Saung present a paradox for competitive surfers -- they are good to learn on but much tamer than the conditions in surfing hotspots. The team went to Bali in Indonesia for two months to get used to some “big wave surfing” and have made enormous strides in a short amount of time. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

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“We surf for at least four to six hours a day,” said American coach Robert Brickell, a 26-year-old originally from New York. “My hope is that we can show everybody that people from Myanmar, we know how to surf, we know how to respect the ocean,” he said. “And of course our hope is to win some meets.” (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2019 10:05 AM IST

“We surf for at least four to six hours a day,” said American coach Robert Brickell, a 26-year-old originally from New York. “My hope is that we can show everybody that people from Myanmar, we know how to surf, we know how to respect the ocean,” he said. “And of course our hope is to win some meets.” (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

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The Surf Association of Myanmar was established only this year. The sport is slowly gaining prominence thanks to the impassioned surfers, most from a village near the beach and newcomers themselves. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2019 10:05 AM IST

The Surf Association of Myanmar was established only this year. The sport is slowly gaining prominence thanks to the impassioned surfers, most from a village near the beach and newcomers themselves. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

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Ngwe Saung is the heartland of the growing craze and has now hosted several competitions.”We hadn’t heard of surfing before 2017,” said Aung Min Naing, 19. But he is “so excited” to represent Myanmar at the upcoming games.”It will be a difficult competition but we will do our best for sure.” (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2019 10:05 AM IST

Ngwe Saung is the heartland of the growing craze and has now hosted several competitions.”We hadn’t heard of surfing before 2017,” said Aung Min Naing, 19. But he is “so excited” to represent Myanmar at the upcoming games.”It will be a difficult competition but we will do our best for sure.” (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

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