Cherif Fall is not a small man.
Standing at 6’2. His smile is infectious, his manners impeccable and his heart in the right place. Having grown under the wing of Oumar, Cherif is a practising Muslim, and doesn’t drink but is the life of the party, nay the village.
He is softly spoken, yet focused. Driven.
Cherif’s surfing itself is raw and powerful. Cherif’s frame is matched by his hand size. Cherif’s ability to catch waves is like none other, his big frame and hand size makes him a paddling machine and once on the wave, a total dream to watch… Every ounce of his being, every fibre of his body, straining, ready to unleash hell on the gentle unsuspecting waves of Almadies. Well put together combos, with a few solid airs above the twinkling waters. Not a bad place to be.
Dakar is Africa in its purest form. A sparkling light on its West Coast.
Senegal is a predominately Muslim country, but with celebrated liberal values. French-speaking, which if you speak French is fantastic, which if you don’t is hell, as speaking the local dialect–Wolof is hard to learn and it’s really only spoken. With world-beating traffic, (that’s you relegated to second place LA) Dakar finds itself on the western point tip of Africa. A south coast for the northern swells, and a north-facing coast for smaller summer swells, N’gor island is daintily positioned at the end of Dakar poised to receive the best of all the good times the North and indeed Southern Atlantic have to throw at it.
We spent seven days in the sun and seven days in the dust filming Cherif. The waves are seemingly endless, the vibes high and the crowds light. The only downside is the urchins. And the dust. Both of which are quickly forgotten as the Teranga kicks in.
No piece on Senegal is worthy without a mention of Teranga–the vibes are hard to describe. Nothing is too much trouble, each heartfelt Merci is met by a “on est ensemble”–we are together. Everything is a team effort. We are all in this together and over the week, the foundations of strong friendships are born and blossom. The vibes in the water are equally as high. Calm lulls and sets punctuated with hoots and shouts. People call each other into waves, Cherif is genuinely stoked when a lesser surfer gets a good wave, a rarity in pro surfing. Cherif is dedicated to raising the bar in Senegalese surfing, and spends his weekends teaching children less fortunate than him.
A beautiful thing indeed.
“On est ensemble”, produced by Wasted Talent, in association with Billabong Europe.