Surfing Iran

 

Shahla Yasini is the first woman who ever surfed in Iran. Diver and lifeguard, Shahla has always had a strong connection to water especially to the Indian Ocean. However, she would never anticipated that in 2013 the professional Irish Surfer Easkey Britton would extend her the invitation of being among the first women team surfing in that same Indian Ocean. Partnered with another Iranian athlete ( Mona Seraji ) Easkey and Shahla found the perfect surfing spot in the beach of Ramin, a stretch of sea near a harbour with good waves throughout the summer. Back then, they didn’t know they were about to pioneer something that would change history for the Iranian youth.

Surfing Iran started off in 2017 as a photo story focusing on Shahla Yasini, the Iranian woman who witnessed and lead the arrival of an unimaginable sport for Iran, a mostly desert country. A couple of years later it ended up being a story on Shahla, a woman like me and above all, a friend. I went back to Iran in 2019 with a Surfboard for Shahla that had been donated by an Italian surfing association and our journey through an incredible friendship continued through some nights out in Tehran, a surfing journey to Chabahar and a trip to Qeshm island. 

After a couple od years what I witnessed was that Ramin beach had become a real popular spot for surfing, especially for young people from Tehran and the tourism of the area had really grown since. It was nice to see all the Ramin boys still surfing and improving, it was nice to be back there with Shahla.

After all, I have always thought that Shahla was a mermaid. I still think she really is, somehow. 

Surfing Iran is a long term project I realized between 2017 and 2019. Shahla’s story got published on D La Repubblica ( IT), Vogue Arabia (Middle East), De Volkskrant (Netherlands) , British journal of photography (Uk) and on Aperture foundation ( USA).