India’s first female surfer

Mumbai born Ishita Malaviya (@Surfishita) began surfing in 2007 and nowadays runs the Shaka Surf Club on Karnataka’s coast with her partner Tushar Pathiyan. She is the first and (uptil now) only professional female surfer in India.

In 2013, She was joined by a group of foreign female surfers, including
Crystal Thornburg-Homcy from Hawaii, to make a
feature-length documentary- Beyond the Surface,
which looks at the ways surfing can be used to empower women in India.

“It was very different to what
we were used to,” says Thornburg-Homcy. “Women are often not allowed in
the ocean for a variety of reasons: such as their dowry can be affected
if they are injured or that families don’t want their girls to have dark
skin. The cities are a bit different, but this is what we found in the
villages,” she says.

Thornburg-Homcy adds: “I think when other
women saw Ishita in the ocean that was really eye opening for them. She
was breaking a lot of cultural boundaries.”

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