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Khadjou Sambe: Senegal’s first female surfer is targeting the Olympics

The Senegalese Queen of the Waves, Khadjou Sambe.

Senegal as a country has few surfers, let alone females participating in this kind of sport. However, one name is changing the narrative.

She’s Khadjou Sambe. The 25-year-old is Senegal’s first female surfer and she dreams of taking her career to the apex.

As a girl growing up, Sambe always wanted to become a surfer and she usually trained near her home in the district of Ngor.

With her career steadily progressing, she has also made it her mission to train other girls and women in Senegal.

“I would always see people surfing and I’d say to myself: ‘But where are the girls who surf?'” she recounted to the BBC.

“I thought: ‘Why don’t I go surfing, represent my country, represent Africa, represent Senegal, as a black girl?'”

“I always think to myself, when I wake up in the morning: ‘Khadjou, you’ve got something to do, you represent something everywhere in the world, you must go straight to the point, don’t give up.'”


“Whatever people say, don’t listen, go forward – so that everybody can get up and believe they can surf.”

Like Sambe, there are many girls in Senegal who want to become professional surfers. Luckily, she’s there for them.

Currently, she’s a trainer at the Black Girls Surf (BGS), a training school for girls who want to compete in professional surfing.

She also aims to change some societal stereotypes which suggest the place is girls is the kitchen.

According to her, despite her desire to become a surfer, her parents always objected, saying it would bring shame to the family.

“My determination was strong enough to make them change their minds,” Sambe stated.

For a girl who started surfing at the tender age of 14, she has no fear but excitement about the sport.

“When you catch that first wave, you are so happy that you scream so that everyone can hear you – because you are content to have stood up and stayed standing,” the 25-year-old told the BBC.

“It was a bit tough at the beginning because I was the only girl surfing here, and people were a bit like: ‘What is a girl doing here? This is a sport for boys.’

“Obviously that’s not true, and other people really encouraged me and told me not to listen.”

Sambe hopes to take her surfing career to the next level and dreams of representing Senegal at the Olympics.

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