Irish surfer Easkey Britton loves making waves back home, where she’s constantly battling harsh weather conditions just to catch a few rides. But her challenges at home pale in comparison to those she faced on a recent trip to Iran, where she claims she became the first female to surf in the country.
Britton traveled to Iran’s southern tip in the Arabian Sea to look for surf, and she did so during the Indian monsoon season in the hopes that the storms would kick up the ocean. The stifling heat and curious stares were things she was prepared for, but she says the most pleasant surprise was how kindly the Iranian people greeted her.
Britton wrote in her travel post for Mission.tv :
To escape the heat we went for a walk in one of the many local parks where we met an old shoemaker, Mohammed … Unbelieving when we tried to explain what it was we hoped to do, find surf in Iran, he showed us a picture in a magazine of a woman surfing asking is that what we do? The surfing world had even filtered into the land-locked capital of the Islamic republic!
In the Vimeo video below, which is a preview of the documentary by French filmmaker Marion Poizeau that was recently shown on French television, the Iranian people help her tie her surfboards to her taxi and gather in crowds to watch her surf; even the police show up.
“But they were all incredibly nice, just really intrigued and interested. The police were just worried that I’d hit the rocks and hurt myself,” she told British newspaper the Guardian.
Of course, had she taken to the water in her bikini that might have started an international incident. Instead, she wisely followed Iran’s strict dress codes for women, even sporting a lycra hijab made by a Dutch company that makes sportswear for Muslim women.
Although it is undoubtedly impossible to verify Britton’s claim of being the first woman to surf Iran, she says that she hopes her trip will help more women in Iran and all over the world become more interested in the sport.
“I’d love to see more women surfing and I’d love to see it become a sport for everyone, not just the wealthy,” she told the Guardian. “There’s surfing in the Gaza Strip now, even Bangladesh, believe it or not. It’s amazing really.”
During a period where hostilities between Iran and western countries are growing, perhaps Britton and Poizeau’s documentary will also help people understand that a nation’s government doesn’t necessarily represent a nation’s people.
“You don’t hear about the people, ordinary people like you and me, in the news. The humanity and heart of the Iranians, their passion and pride for the Persian way of life, descendent from the once Greatest Empire on earth. It is a surprising multi-cultural society with a diverse mix of nomadic tribes, religions, and nations living together,” Britton wrote for Mission.tv.
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