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.
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.
Bringing surfing equipment into Gaza is a difficult and unpredictable process. Israel continues to ban the import of surfboards, but is currently allowing other surfing equipment such as wetsuits and fins. On the Palestinian side, the HAMAS government banned the import of wetsuits, though enforcement is unpredictable, at best. All donated equipment must be hand carried into Gaza and delivered in person to the recipients. Due to local theft and corruption, equipment is no longer sent to Gaza using the postal system or local "charitable" organizations.
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 several occasions but have been told by the 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.