• Pape Diouf is a young entrepreneur, who creates the first locally-made surfboards in Senegal.

  • With his entrepreneurial skill, he hopes to expand his business to other parts of the country.

Pape Diouf is one of the many Africans using his creative and inventive skills to make waves in Senegal. Diouf is a 27-year-old Senegalese surfboard maker and the first locally made in the West African country. Because Dakar is situated on a spit of land that extends into the Atlantic Ocean and produces waves of the highest caliber, Senegal has drawn surfers worldwide for decades.

Diouf makes his surfboards in a small beachside shack in Dakar where he spends hours on each surfboard. He uses an electric planer to shape the foam surface of the surfboards to create the perfect curve. 

                   

As a surfing instructor, Diouf took this decision after realizing that the majority of surfers in Senegal had to import their boards from other nations. He saw an opportunity to also create job opportunities for his fellow locals in addition to meeting the local need for surfboards.

“Ever since I was a little boy, I have dreamed of making my own board”, said Diouf. His business “Sunugal Surfboard Repair” started in 2020 with funds he earned from participating in an entrepreneurship competition. His main focus for the business is making surfboards, although he also repairs boards on the side. 

The locals are quite delighted with this new creation. Surfer Aita Diop is one of Diouf’s customers who competes with the surfboard, “board making really needs to pick up”, she said. “Thank goodness we have one person making them, but there should be more so we can show that we are capable of making good boards”, she added. 

Each Diouf’s board is priced at about 250,000 CFA francs ($422) which includes the cost of materials such as fiberglass that he has to import from Europe. Other times he embellishes some with African fabrics to make them distinctive.

Diouf aspires to expand his business beyond his neighborhood to other parts of Dakar and the country and to also create more job opportunities. Although, Diouf said “Currently it is only on-site that you can have a Sunugal surfboard but the goal of the project is not to stay in Yoff” – his neighborhood.

Diouf said he hopes to see “Sunugal surfboards all over the world”.