Monday, March 20, 2023 | Sha'ban 27, 1444 H
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Surfing pioneer of Sur has big dream for the sport

Erin Coyle

With big grins on their faces as they practice balancing and jumping up on a surfboard, some Omani boys have a reason to be so happy. They are part of a course offered by Oman Surfers School in Ras Al Hadd. The one-month class is taught by the owner and founder, Khamis Salim Alalwi from Sur, who has big plans for Oman.

Alalwi found his calling of the waves in 2016 when a visitor from the UAE came to Oman. He was visiting Khamis' uncle when Khamis joined them at Ras Al Hadd and saw them surfing and tried it.

Khamis was hooked from the first wave and liked the feeling of being on the water. The visitor left and gave them two boards, so he and his uncle could continue surfing. Khamis said from that first time that he wanted this same feeling again and again.

The first year he continued surfing with his uncle. One year later, Khamis and a friend started surfing because his friend wanted to do more than play football. There were only three Omani surfers in the beginning, and now there are about seven surfers, which is increasing as surfing is becoming sought-after. Alalwi indicates that Omanis appreciate their free time and enjoy more outside activities.

He is so passionate about the sport that he is trying to get Oman to join the International Surfing Association, hoping to send Omanis to the Olympics in the future.

With this passion, he opened Oman Surfers School last year. The one-month course, sponsored by Brew Oz, a local coffee shop in Sur, is for kids ages twelve to sixteen years old. The kids learn how to surf alone, without pushing and helping.

If there are no waves, they still practice paddling and balancing. Not only is surfing being taught, but Khamis is teaching the kids surf etiquette, such as don't surf alone and learning who has priority on a wave. In addition, the kids are learning to respect each other, respect locals' and respect more advanced people. Khamis goes on to say that he's also teaching the kids to appreciate nature and be grateful and patient. The kids are learning to protect the environment, and if they see turtles in a net, they know they should release the net and help the turtle.

I had a chance to watch one of the classes. The kids first practiced balancing and jumping up on the board on the sand. When they were ready, they enthusiastically headed into the water.

For the newer students, Khamis stays with them to make sure they are comfortable on the board. The kids had big smiles for the entire class, which showed they were having fun. They said they liked surfing because it's fun and they can spend a long time in the water.

Alalwi is hosting his first competition in Ras Al Hadd for the school tentatively right after Eid. Only the kids from the course will be able to compete. The event is open to the public to watch. The kids want the competition to see how their level is and to improve themselves. It motivates them to go to the next level and learn what competition is all about.

Alalwi is doing great things to raise awareness about surfing. He hopes to produce good surfers while putting Oman on the map for tourism. He also wants locals to have fun, see the ocean and environment differently, and learn to appreciate both. His dream is to also surf in Hawaii.

Private lessons are also available in addition to the kids' course. For more information, go to Instagram @oman_surfers_school.

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