Meet Ishita Malaviya, a South Indian woman who is inspiring young females to take up surfing. She is India’s first, and only, professional female surfer and indirectly fighting its prejudices against dark skin.
In a nation of 1.2 billion people why is there only one professional female surfer? According to Ishita it is the stigma tied to getting darker in the sun, with many South Asian women having a real fear of getting dark as it is not seen as being beautiful.
Malaviya runs the Shaka Surf Club on the west coast of Karnataka. In an interview with the UK based Guardian newspaper, Malaviya said, “I think surfing can be a very positive thing for India. For the girls who start surfing it’s opening their eyes to a whole new world.
There are so many barriers for them – especially once they reach puberty and their interaction with boys can become very limited – but when they’re in the water it can break down some of those barriers.”
“Too many Indians think of the ocean as a “dumping ground”. “I want people to have a healthier relationship with the water. Once you start spending time in the water you develop a respect for it – you want to keep your beach clean.”