Years of bloody conflict with children roped into detail as soldiers and the horrors of machete-wielding warriors hacking their way through civilian villages made Liberia a no-go zone through most of the 90s and the early 2000s. Foreign aid workers and journalists occasionally visited the West African nation, however, and some of them brought surfboards, lured by whispers of unsurfed pointbreaks with world-class potential.

Sometime during Liberia’s second civil war, from about 1999-2005, a Liberian man named Alfred Lomax found a bodyboard while searching an abandoned shipping container looking for food. He took it into the sea and sparked a love affair with the waves, likely becoming the country’s first surfer. In the years since, a small surf community has grown along the Liberian coast, as locals seek a mental refuge from the horrors of war, and, more recently, the frightening specter of Ebola virus outbreaks.

This past summer, a couple surfers traveled to Liberia to sample the waves and to help tell the story of the brave waveriders they met on the war-torn coast. Múkùné, a film about the experience is to be released in 2019. In the above short, you get a taste of not only the quality of surf on offer in Liberia, but how surfing can heal some of the deepest wounds.

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