At the present time, Gaza surfers are spread throughout the territory seeking temporary shelter wherever they can. Most of them are in the south of Gaza, having fled the initial fighting in the north. But as the fighting continues to move around Gaza, so must the surfers. The majority of the surfers come from the area around the Shati Refugee Camp and the Sheik Ejleen neighborhood, both of which are in Gaza City and were scenes of fierce fighting. We have to assume that the majority of the surfers have therefore lost their homes and will have very little to return home to once the worst of the fighting ends. Once they do return home, the focus of the surfers and their families will be to survive with what they have left and hopefully, to rebuild.
The Gaza Surf Club and its parent charity organization, Explore Corps, are working with the surfers directly to help support their needs for information, assistance and financial support during the war. We are not currently accepting equipment donations but your financial support is greatly needed. We currently have two financial support options, both of which are tax deductible.
Since its founding by Explore Corps director Matthew Olsen in 2008, the Gaza Surf Club has had three main objectives:
1. To provide a community forum and resource for communication and cooperation between Palestinian surfers to help support and develop the sport in Gaza and insure its long term sustainability.
2. To provide a vehicle for surf-related training and education that will help to sustain the surfers and their equipment over the long term.
3. To create a locally-driven and managed Surfing Association that can represent Palestinian surfers in the international sporting community.
Whether during times of war or peace, it is extremely difficult to get into Gaza. Both Egypt and Israel consider Gaza a "Closed Military Zone" and will only grant access to journalists with credentials from well established media companies or to Aid workers from internationally recognized NGOs who are licensed by the Israeli government to operate in the Occupied Territories. Entry to Gaza via Egypt is not recommended as the border crossing is closed.
There are roughly 30 surfers in Gaza, with the same number of boards, which are privately owned by each surfer.
At the present time it is not possible to import equipment into Gaza. Once the war ends, we will be launching a new initiative to re-equip Gaza's surfers and resume our usuall activities. If you have surfboards that you would like to donate, we recommend that you sell that equipment on your local market and instead donate the proceeds. It is extremely expensive to ship and store surfboards and it is easier and usually cheaper to buy used boards on the local market in neighboring Israel, or to put the proceeds towards the purchase of new equipment. entirely Other equipment such as wetsuits and surfing accessories can be donated but should be saved until we are once again able to import equipment into Gaza. The timeframe for this will depend on the war and the customs and border regime that is put in place following the end of the war. Please reach out to us with questions via our contact page.
Equipment donations to Gaza Surfers are delivered and distributed by Explore Corps directly to individual surfers and are based on need. The small number of surfers makes it easier to know who needs equipment and how to best utilize donations to support the community as a whole. Financial support of the Club is utilized by Explore Corps to support local Club programming in Gaza including workshops, training and events.
The Gaza Surf Club is not a formal Club or Sporting Association in Gaza. It is an education and outreach project of Explore Corps, a 501c(3) non profit organization based in the United Stated. The surfers and Explore Corps have attempted to register the Club on numerous occasions but have been told by the HAMAS government in Gaza that they would be required to hand over all controls and equipment to an individual of the government's choosing, which is not acceptable to the surfers or to Explore Corps. The current war is expected to lead to a new government for Gaza and we are hoping that it will support and authorize the establishment of a formal Gaza Surf Club.
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