This heartfelt documentary takes us into the world of the Gaza Strip’s subculture of surfing enthusiasts, and reveals a formidable resilience pulsing within a beleaguered population.
Strangled by Israel, assailed by airstrikes and ruled by fundamentalist Hamas, the Gaza Strip has been called “the world’s largest open-air prison”. But Gaza is also bordered by the Mediterranean, and the sea’s majestic white caps are drawing a new generation to the country’s coastline. Using rough, homemade boards and precious professional ones brought in by groups such as Surfing 4 Peace, these determined nonconformists find relief from the hopelessness of their situation in the waves.
One would-be surfer is Sabah Abu Ghanem, a girl of 15 who started surfing years before, but now avoids the beach because of religious disapproval. Niclas Reed Middleton’s camera is alert to the rubble and deprivation of war, but the film’s widescreen visuals elegantly capture the thrill of the waves.