A surfer in Lagos.

Video. Watch: Nigeria national surf competition in Lagos' Tarkwa Bay

With its oil tankers and polluted water, Lagos is an unlikely surfing hotspot. But on the coast of Nigeria's capital, 30 surfers are taking part in a national competition hoping to one day represent their country on the world stage.

With its oil tankers and polluted water, Lagos is an unlikely surfing hotspot. But on the coast of Nigeria's capital, 30 surfers are taking part in a national competition hoping to one day represent their country on the world stage.

Many of the competitors are also dealing with being forcibly removed from the area in 2020. In January of that year, the Nigerian naval forces cleared the waterfront and fishing community of 10,000 residents. 

They gave Tarkwa Bay residents a morning to pack up their lives and move out. For Nigeria's army, tens of thousands of residents had to be "evacuated", without alternative housing, because the communities participate directly, or indirectly by buying fuel, in syphoning oil from pipelines that skirt the lagoon.

Michael Gabriel, a Nigerian surfer, was one of the people who used to live in the area. 

"Since then I [have been] just, like, struggling," he said. "Struggling to have a shelter, to eat food, to have a good life, nothing. So since then, we have been surfing hard to make it like a competition, to just forget everything else."

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