Easkey Britton on a beach in Chabahar, Iran. A man offered to carry her surfboard for her.
The first woman ever to surf Iran's waves is Irish. Instead of heading to the well-worn beaches of California or Australia, Easkey Britton decided to go to Iran and introduce women there to the sport.
Britton first travelled to Iran three years ago to evaluate whether it would be possible for her to surf there. She faced some challenges: In Iran, there are no surfing clubs nor are there designated surfing spots for men, let alone for women. She picked the city of Chabahar in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan, where she returned earlier this month, surfboards in tow.
Britton posing with a local family.
She brought not just her own surfboard but several more, in order show to the locals some of the basics. To do this in mixed company, she had to wear a wetsuit and a hijab. She travelled with a friend who filmed her experience for a forthcoming documentary.
Britton brought as many surfboards as she could to Iran so that she could give a few lessons to local residents.
A short video of Britton surfing in Iran in 2010.
"People were very curious about what I was doing"
Easkey Britton, 27, has won many surf competitions in her native Ireland as well as internationally.
I wanted to explore new parts of the world, and for me, getting to know a place means surfing there. I have surfed for years, everywhere from the eastern coast of Africa to Cuba, but I have to say that surfing in Iran was a completely different experience for me.Britton, surrounded by local residents, demonstrates how to properly stand on a surfboard.When I first explored Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province in 2010, I realized that nobody surfed there. I did some research and learned that the best times to surf would be between July and September, so I came back earlier this month. I had to wear an Islamic hijab, which was somewhat unwieldy.Britton wearing her hijab.Overall, had a very positive experience: every day, lots of people would come up and talk to me. This area is remote and rather poor, with very few tourists; the locals rarely meet foreigners. It’s a completely different world from Tehran; the culture in this province is much more traditional. And yet the people were very curious about what I was doing. I told them all about the sport and showed them the very basics: how to stand on the board, how to paddle…
Britton explains surfing to local kids.This was just a start: I hope to go back support the development of this sport in the region - working together with local people and sharing our knowledge and expertise of the local sea and surf.