Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan… Iran? An unlikely addition to a list of fascinating countries with surf, Iran’s appeal is largely in how unknown it is to travelers. When you think of Iran, empowered and athletic women probably don’t immediately spring to mind. That’s why it’s even more intriguing that women are pioneering the typically male-dominated sport of surfing in Iran. Here’s the story of how surf came to the country.
Meet Easkey Britton
Scientist, athlete and adventurer, Easkey Britton is an Irish big wave surfer who was born into a family that helped pioneer surfing in Ireland. Britton uses her passion for surfing to complement her work in human rights and gender equality. Following a tip that there may be surf in Iran, Britton packed her bags, donned a headscarf in accordance with local tradition, and scoped out the waves along the southeastern coastline.
A Blending of Cultures
The beach break Britton found is in Baluchistan, a rural and notoriously dangerous area near Pakistan. It is widely believed that Britton was the first person to ever surf Iran. She surfs with her head and body fully covered when she is in Iran to honor local customs. A short video of Britton’s first trip to surf Iran was discovered online by some women in Tehran. Excited by the idea of learning to surf in their country, they contacted Britton and requested she return to teach them how to surf. Thus, a women’s surf club was born.
Can Guys Surf Too?
What seems like a shocking question to anyone remotely familiar with surfing makes complete sense when considering the division of genders in Iran. Local members of the community expressed interest in surfing, and contacted Mona Seraji – who was one of the original members of Iran’s all-women surf club. A young man asked Seraji if surfing was only for women, or if guys can surf too. This led to an ongoing project, Surf Seeds, which is working to develop the surf industries in the region. If you want to know more, check out the award winning documentary “Into the Sea”, which follows the introduction of surf to Iran through the eyes of the women.
Surf, Work and Travel in Iran
Life in Iran would offer a vastly different experience from current popular digital nomad locations. Iran is home to stunning landscapes and a rich cultural history. Plus, the cost of living is reasonable. Slow internet speeds will prevent some digital nomads from being able to make the move, but those who are able to work locally on their computer should have no problem.
Have you ever surfed or worked in an offbeat location? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.