29 May 2015

Big wave surfer Easkey Britton: Teaching Iranian women to surf

From Nine To Noon, 10:05 am on 29 May 2015

Irish surf champion Easkey Britton has conquered some of the world's biggest waves.

At 16, she was the first Irish person to surf what is known as the heaviest and deadliest wave the in the world, Teahupo'o off South West Tahiti.

She also likes to be the first to surf some of the most remote parts of the world, which is what took her to the southeastern coast of Iran in 2010. The region of Baluchistan is home to the only surfable sections of Iran's long coastline. It is also one of the poorest and most dangerous regions in Iran.

She ensured she was properly attired, including wearing a head covering, and paddled into waves of the Gulf of Oman to become the first woman known to have surfed in Iran.

Her journey was documented in a short film made by friend and documentary maker Marion Poizeau.

Locals were fascinated, as was the rest of the world. The video went viral.

She was approached by two Iranian sportswomen; Mona Seraji an Iranian snowboard ambassador, and swimmer Shahla Yasini. They saw surfing as a way to empower women and to break down social, cultural and gender barriers.

Ms Britton returned to Iran, this time to share her love of surfing with the women and children of the region. She and Ms Poizeau set up the non-profit organisation Waves of Freedom, which uses the sport as a medium for social change, by teaching the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society how to surf.

Easkey Britton spoke to Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon about her time in Iran:

Official trailer for the film Into The Sea, by Marion Poizeau: