When Easkey Britton walked into the sea in southern Iran with a surfboard in hand, curiosity brought out not only the locals but the police. Luckily for her and Marion Poizeau, the filmmaker who was documenting her journey, the police only wanted to alert them to the rocks on the beach and make sure they were okay. Assured of their skills and safety, Britton was then allowed to do what she does best and subsequently became the first woman to surf in Iran.
Speaking to the BBC, “We headed off to this Islamic Republic as two women looking for waves,” Britton said. “The moment we landed, people were incredibly welcoming and Iran has an amazing heritage. Yes, as women we had to have our heads covered and it was incredibly hot.” Britton, who is named after a famous surf break off the west coast of Ireland, wore a lyrca hijab whilst surfing.
Ireland’s current and 5x women’s surfing champion, Easkey became the first Irish person to surf Teahupoo (known as the “heaviest wave in the world”) in Tahiti aged just 16. She also made surfing history as the first female to ride the world-famous 15-foot monster Irish wave, Aill na Searrach, known as Aileens, off the Cliffs of Moher.
Britton’s travels have taken her around the world but she told the BBC she was keen to bring a love of surfing to the women of the Middle East. “There is a small surf culture in Bangladesh and India. Women and girls are learning to surf in the most extreme of conditions – such as in the Gaza Strip,” Easkey told the BBC. “I especially want to teach in places where people do not normally have the opportunity to learn.”
Britton is an avid environmentalist and recently submitted her PhD thesis on marine conservation at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Ethical superfood supplement brand Organic Burst also recruited Britton as its first ambassador earlier this year. So, she’s a stunning talent with a green heart of gold too.
For more on green Iran see:
Top image via IrishTimes and video via Marion Poizeau’s website.