Only expats working in the oil industry are likely to be in a position to surf in Pointe-Noire, so knowing someone who works there or at the very least speaking some French are essential to find waves in The Republic of Congo. Despite all the difficulties to get there, Pointe-Noire is one of the safest coastal cities in Africa and truly an oasis in a turbulent region and this short stretch of coastline provides a playground for ocean-lovers and wildlife alike. The warm, consistent waves have nurtured notable surfers like Jean-Luc Dupont or ex-WCT female Marie-Pierre Agraal, who learned their trade in Pointe-Noire. The Republic of Congo coastline measures 170km (106mi), compared to the short (40km/26mi) length of the often confused Democratic Republic of Congo's coast to the south. The Rep of Congo's shoreline is characterised by a succession of shaded bays and lagoons bordered by mangroves and only Pointe-Noire and Pointe Indienne stick out from the monotonous, straight beaches. Since the civil war ended in 1999, Pointe-Noire is quite safe, yet some parts of the country still remain sketchy and some fighting continues in the disputed Angolan exclave Cabinda, just over the southern border. Surfing started in the early '80s, led by Russian-Congolese kids like Jannick Laforge, Ferdinand Yidika, Dimitri Mamouna or Edouard Serge and the small surf population is growing steadily with bodyboarder kids and expat surfers. Most of the fishermen don't know how to swim and are usually scared of entering the water. A lot of bodies have been found at Piège à Sable at the harbour lighthouse, inexperienced swimmers falling victim to the Atlantic rollers and rips.