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An Olympic hopeful from Senegal hopes to inspire more black women to surf

Black Women in Sports

An Olympic hopeful from Senegal hopes to inspire more black women to surf

By Deepa Fernandes via

On a crisp winter morning at California’s Santa Monica State Beach, Khadjou Sambe is running through a warm-up drill with her surfing coach Rhonda Harper.

After the 23-year-old finishes her stretches, she moves slowly towards the water. It’s one of Sambe’s last days in the US. Her six-month visa is about to expire and she will head back to her home in Dakar, Senegal. Sambe has been training with Harper in California with the hopes of eventually competing in the 2020 Olympics, the first time that surfing will be part of the Summer Games.

For Sambe, the vibe at Santa Monica is a novelty, quite unlike her beach back home.

“[Here] you can see different surfers, different waves, different people,” Sambe says.

Yet at this world-famous beach, on this Sunday morning, Harper, Sambe and another …

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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