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About Us

Waves of Freedom is a voluntary-led collaborative platform exploring how surfing and the sea can be used as a creative medium for social good and connection across cultures. At the core of what we do is understanding the transformative impact of surfing and the sea, especially for women and girls and its potential to empower.

WoF was born from a realisation for the need to deepen our understanding of what we’d experienced with surfing’s ability connect in the most unexpected ways in an unlikely place, Iran, and the initiation of surfing through women. The turning point was sharing our passion for surf and the surfing experience with other like-minded young women in Iran in 2013, the first surfers in their country (as documented in Into the Sea).

What we do has expanded beyond Iran, although our collaboration with the fledgling surf community there is ongoing, to work with other people, institutes and organisations around the world - A growing ‘surf for social good’ tribe, including the Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea and their innovative approach to ending violence against women called the “Pink Nose Surfboard” initiative. Our experiences have inspired a shift in our own relationship with surfing and how it can be used as a vehicle for creating connection and addressing deeper social issues.

 

The Origins Story

The story began in 2010 when French filmmaker Marion Poizeau and Irish surfer Easkey Britton traveled to an unknown territory in the remote region of south-eastern Iran seeking new adventures and surf exploration. They were motivated to explore how they could surf and film in Iran, a country geopolitically misperceived by the West and if it would be possible for women to get to the water and go surf? Baluchistan, the poorest and remotest region in Iran is also the only region that offers any potential for surf, an area considered by many as one of the most dangerous in the world. With a mix of curiosity, apprehension, and uncertainty, Easkey with her surfboard and Marion with her camera bag filled with head-scarves, met in Tehran airport. This was the first time they met in person but both shared a passion for adventure and exploring the unknown. Almost immediately any worries they had were shattered. The Iranian people were the most welcoming they encountered on their many travels. Surfing, fully covered and wearing a hijab sparked curiosity locally, witnessing surfing for the first time by a woman. Marion made a short film of this first adventure: Easkey surfs in Iran.

The film made a big impact in international media with the short film going viral on the internet. The response was overwhelmingly positive both outside and within Iran. In August 2013, after connecting with other pioneering Iranian sportswomen who heard about their story, the two women decided to continue the adventure and return to Iran. This time with a project built around the objective: To share a passion for surfing in Iran and make it accessible to everyone, including women . They were joined by Mona Seraji, Iranian snowboard ambassador, and swimmer Shahla Yasini. This second trip had a real impact in the region. All three women shared the belief in the power of surfing as a tool for connection, self-empowerment and bridging barriers. This experience became the subject of Marion Poizeau’s feature documentary, ‘Into the Sea’, the story of the first surfers in Iran, a story shaped by women. Together they planted the seed for new opportunities and made history, becoming the first women to surf in Iran. It is the recognition of the power of surfing to transcend social, cultural and gender barriers that inspired Easkey and Marion to found the non-profit organisation, Waves of Freedom. This was just the beginning...

 

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Our Mission

The power of surfing as a creative medium for positive social change.

Waves of freedom is founded on the type of freedom Persian mystic and poet Hafiz described as the power of realising our own inner truth and “letting the soul unfurl its wings.”

At the core of Waves of Freedom is how surfing can become a medium to empower those who are most vulnerable in society, in particular women and girls.  Why surfing? Surfing is not just a sport but a lifestyle and an art-form synonymous with freedom and creative self-expression. Waves of Freedom has grown from a belief that the ocean does not discriminate.

“Once you get in the water the rules and norms of society dissolve and the power of the ocean to connect and spread happiness is huge.”  – Easkey Britton, TEDx Dublin 2013.

 

Our Vision

  • Surfing as a tool for gender engagement and gender equity across cultures.
  • Strong female role models and leaders in surfing.
  • Self-empowered individuals who are active agents of change in their communities, and beyond.
  • The sea and surfing recognised as important 'blue space' environments for health and wellbeing.

Core objectives

  • Support and equip women and girls to exercise their rights, self-expression and aspirations through surfing.
  • Catalyse dialogue and create an ecosystem for co-learning, collaboration and outcome-based approaches.
  • Design, develop and deliver workshops and training for creative processes, personal development and leadership.

 Our Values - 4 pillars of action

  • Capacity building – surf development programmes and fostering networks for connection and collaboration.
  • Self-empowerment – mentorship and ambassador programme for female leaders in surfing.
  • Storytelling (that moves to act) – creative medium for self-expression, e.g. digital storytelling
  • Knowledge – action research and research partnerships.

Follow:  #surfsocialgood,  #stokeisgenderblind,  #womenwhosurf

View our Constitution and Good Governance Code.Waves-of-Freedom-Logo-website-LARGE

Meet the Team

Easkey Britton

Co-Founder and project development

 “If we could all make small change happen, then it would make a big difference.”

Easkey Britton is an internationally renowned professional surfer, artist, scientist and epxlorer from Ireland, with a PhD in Environment and Society. Her parents taught her to surf when she was four years old and her life has revolved around surfing ever since. [Read More...]

Marion Poizeau

Co-Founder and Film-maker

Freelance filmmaker Marion Poizeau grew up in the French Alps, where her passion for adventure and action sports inspired her to capture and present images on film. Marion has documented environmental and social issues in places as diverse as New Zealand and Kurdistan in Iraq. [Read More...]

Beckey-Finn Britton

Web Ninja

Beckey-Finn is a filmmaker and longboarder from the North West coast of Ireland. She hails from the Britton surfing family in Donegal where life evolves around the sea. She works as a Creative Digital Media Consultant at Bexter Productions and is Digital Media and Community Engagement Officer at Clean Coasts.

Shirin Gerami

Agent of Change

Shirin is our constant source of inspiration and a woman-of-action. Better known as Iran's first female triathlete, she consistently breaks boundaries and redefines the 'impossible.' Passionate about making a difference and living her truth she is co-developing an exciting new programme with WoF called, "Be Like Water." Watch her TEDx talk.


Jelle Mul

Creative Marketing

Jelle, a photographer, traveller and global freelance brand and marketing professional from Amsterdam brings his creative approach and worldly travel experience to the team. Inspired by cross-cultural experiences and seeing the world through the lives of others on this amazing planet we call home. Jelly spear-headed the hugely successful campaign "Paddle for Lars" and the De Beer foundation.

Thomas Clohosey

Communications

Thomas is our Communications Guru and hails from the midlands of Ireland. He has a BSc degree in Project Management and his passion for philanthropy and a strong desire to create societal change has seen him work with a number of socially empowering movements at home as well as in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

Mona Seraji

Ambassador

Mona is a champion, professional snowboarder from Tehran who had always wanted to try surfing, but never had the opportunity to do so, until she met up with Waves of Freedom in 2013, becoming one of the first Iranian women to surf in her country! In 2009, she became the snowboard ambassador for Iran and is the only international female snowboard instructor in Iran. Constantly pushing her limits, Mona teaches snowboard and competes in Iran during the winter. 

Shahla Yasini

Ambassador, Iran

Shahla, is one of Iran's first-women-of-surf and a waterwoman. Taught by her aunt how to swim as a kid she quickly fell in love with the water, competing on the Sistan and Bulchistan provincial swimming team. A trained lifeguard, Shahla participated in the Lifeguard Sea Tournament when she was 18 and is a qualified Rescue Diver. She likes to dive along the coast of Chabahar where she learned to surf with the Waves of Freedom team in 2013.

Media

‘Into the Sea’ Now Available on iTunes!

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The feature documentary filmed in Iran that explores, through the eyes of three young, pioneering sportswomen, why it so important for women to practice sport and how the apparently simple act of surfing can become a powerful creative medium for change.
If you would like to support the successful release of this documentary please visit our 'Get Involved' page to donate.

 

Photos

  • Easkey Surf hijab resized Easkey Surf hijab resized
  • Mermaids in Iran Mermaids in Iran
  • Mars Mountain seascape resized Mars Mountain seascape resized
  • Easkey and Parvana surf_Iran2014 Easkey and Parvana surf_Iran2014
  • Press image_Ramin surf lesson Press image_Ramin surf lesson
  • Press image_Parvaneh learns to surf Press image_Parvaneh learns to surf

Photos from the set of 'Into the Sea', filmed near Chabahar in Iran, 2013 (more images coming soon!)

 

Get Involved

Waves of Freedom is an all-volunteer initiative and as such we rely on the generosity and participation of our diverse community to design and implement the unique projects that we offer.  No matter what your background or skill set, we all have something to contribute.

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Support Us

Financial Support

As an all-volunteer initiative you can feel confident knowing that 100% of your donation will go directly to our projects.  You can donate safely and securely by using Paypal or by contacting us at info@wavesoffreedom.org for additional options.

Donate Your Expertise

We recognise that it's the diversity of our community that allows us to run successful projects, however, at present we currently don't have any volunteer positions available. If you are interested in future opportunities please sign-up to our newsletter. Or if you have any questions or ideas contact us at volunteer@wavesoffreedom.org

Media support

We know the power of telling your story and always appreciate building good relationships with impactful and alternative media partners and platforms. We have a growing and diverse mix of voices on our team and in our 'surf social good' community that we'd be happy to connect with you with. For all press and media requests contact: press@wavesoffreedom.org

Follow us

It’s all about building community and creating connection.  Introduce Waves of Freedom to your contacts and friends and let’s see how we can work together on new and existing projects.

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