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May 6, 2015
Big wave charger, PhD scientist, co-founder of Waves of Freedom, artist, adventurer, and all-round lover of life, Easkey Britton has many strings to her bow and although her life is positively hectic, for the past year she has been working with a bunch of equally talented women to put together the world’s first Surf and Social Good Summit.
Using surfing as a vehicle for positive change, the Summit will bring together like-minded folk from all over the globe who seek to explore and collaborate on ideas for a better future.
We asked Easkey a few questions about this exciting event that is just around the corner…
When and how did the idea for the Surf and Social Good Summit come about?
About a year ago this slowly began to take shape – it came from a need a realisation that I could only do so much on my own… Having just started Waves of Freedom, I had so many questions and I wondered how other people coped in similar situations – trying to effect change doing what they love. I wanted to ask them, how did you do that? What challenges do you face and how do you overcome them, what motivates and inspires you? Questions I’ve been asking myself and have discovered how much easier it is to find the answers to what we’re seeking when we ask! Sounds silly, that should be so obvious. But when we’re so driven by passion we can forget how important it is to reach out – it’s not a sign of weakness, but of strength – by coming together and acting collectively, creating meaningful connection we can bring about far greater impact. That’s what happened and how this collective, surfing + social good, began and continues to grow.
Your event plans to harness the power of surfing as a tool to bring about positive social change. In your opinion, what are some of the greatest challenges in achieving this change?
This is exactly the kind of question we will be asking and tackling at the Summit. For me, I see the greatest challenges as disconnect, a growing disconnect within ourselves, between each other and especially the world we live in – our environment. But perhaps the more important question is why surfing matters – why is it such a powerful force for social impact? I think surfing is such a powerful and positive metaphor for how we live life and overcome challenge. Surfing isn’t easy, it’s unpredictable, we have to leave our need to control behind and be open to the unexpected; it demands our total awareness and presence to the moment, along with a willingness to let go, flex and adapt, and exposes us to a force far greater than ourselves.
You plan to empower individuals, particularly young women and girls. What are some of the specific challenges young women and girls face compared to their male counterparts?
As momentum around surfing builds with over 35 million surfers globally and surfing rapidly growing in developing countries in particular, it’s becoming increasingly important to better understand the benefits of surfing and to acknowledge their differential effect on girls’ lives in diverse cultural and economic settings. That said, a gender perspective is largely absent in the global surf culture, especially any media that includes female voices from emerging surf cultures. And yet, surfing is proving to be a powerful force for social change in emerging surf cultures such as Iran where, through Waves of Freedom’s work with young pioneering sportswomen, surfing has become a story led by women and a medium to connect across gender, cultural, class and religious divides within the country. In Papua New Guinea, we co-facilitated an initiative launching surfing as a tool for self-empowerment and to raise awareness to end violence against women. As a result, young women experienced an increased sense of recognition in their communities, a sense of belonging and equal status in the line-up, a shift in attitudes of their expected roles, increased self-confidence and participation in local decision-making. And now we have the Girls Make Waves Action Day at the Summit on May 17th – the aim of which is to create connection and community by capturing and sharing stories like these and through them, exploring the potential for surfing to act as a catalyst to change gender-based inequalities, aiming to unveil the rich diversity of surfing women around the globe, regardless of sexuality, race, and class. Surfing is a dynamic way to build confidence, overcome fears, and connect with others in a safe space, which are all very relevant for girls and women.
This is the next step in “Sport for Gender Equality.” Sport has demonstrated its transformative power in addressing social challenges, particularly toward advancing gender equality. Organizations from the United Nations, USAID, DFID, and more have propelled it as a major tool in international gender empowerment. Surfing is the next wave in this movement- harnessing the natural power of the ocean, as a force that unifies individuals and overcomes barriers.
Involvement in surfing can positively change existing gender norms and help girls and women move into public space and become important role models for others, such Mona Seraji, Iran’s first woman of surf who is coaching other girls how to surf in her country.
What sort of fire in the belly can people expect to walk away with after the summit?
Fired up to act, inspired to start the thing they thought they couldn’t, new networks…
This is a beginning – to map out the successes and opportunities, as well as challenges and obstacles, and to form new opportunities for collaboration through research networks and project partnerships that we hope to create during our final day, the Impact Lab, May 18th. We’re going to help maintain these connections and opportunity for collaboration by partnering with Hashtag Charity (#charity), an amazing organisation bringing their tech and innovation skills to S+SG by building a collaborative platform for us to continue to work together on high-impact ideas and projects beyond the Summit.
This is about growing an active community of wave-makers globally and we’d love to get the support to offer this as global experience, with events at various locations around the world.
There are plenty of ways to connect to the cause…
– The S+SG Summit is almost full but there might still be some places left if you register here.
– Support and give to our S+SG initiatives via the online Crowdrise fundraising campaign.
– Join the Twitter Chat, May 8th 9am EST/ 2pm GMT/ 9pm Bali time, follow the conversation on #surfsocialgood
All images courtesy of Easkey Britton, who would like to give special thanks to all their supporters, sponsors and partners, especially Waterways Travel, The Cashew Tree, Salt Gypsy and Surfer Girl.
May 4, 2015
While touring Antarctica with his father for 20 days from December 2014-January 2015, Swedish filmmaker Kalle Ljung put together this video that captures landscapes few people get to encounter in their lifetime. Armed with his drone camera and GoPro, Kalle captured the raw beauty of the Antarctic where vast blues meet pristine whites, ice shelves look as fragile as they do resilient, whales pass by unperturbed and every breathtaking vista is further illuminated by its mirrored reflection. It’s videos like these that make you want to trade in a tropical vacation for the harsh and frosty climes of the south.
Apr 30, 2015
There’s something eerily beautiful about these photos that were taken by Mervyn O’Gorman or the ‘O.G.’ as he was affectionately known. Taken in 1913, they feature his daughter posing naturally against the backdrop of Lulworth Cove, Dorset, and are said to be among the earliest colour photos, made possible by the Autochrome process that was patented a mere 10 years prior. Although he is best known as one of the greatest British engineers, he was also a keen artist and photographer and one of the pioneers of colour photography. The grainy quality in contrast with the vibrant red whisk you away to times past and although we can marvel at the advancements in colour photography over the years, it’s nice to reflect back to its humble beginnings, especially when images like these leave you feeling spellbound.
Apr 23, 2015
An exciting day at the office for these scientists who had the joy of seeing this inquisitive sperm whale come and check out their underwater research robot some 600 metres below sea level a few days ago off the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing like a rare encounter with such a magnificent beast…
Apr 6, 2015
With the 53rd annual Rip Curl Bells Beach pro currently taking place, Silvana Lima took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with Jan Juc local, Heidi Atkins, who gives us an insight into this Brazilian charger who continues to leave her mark in the professional surfing world.
Words and photography by Heidi Atkins.
Silvana Lima has a gigantic and warm smile. It’s an honest, natural beauty and while she may be mouse-like in stature, her grin is a gateway to an enormous energy. This energy is filling the Jan Juc home of my Brazilian friend, where Silvana chose to reside during her campaign to regain the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title. I’ve come to meet her and the sound of Portuguese banter flies around, most pleasing to my ear. As we sit, Silvana neatens her hair, arms revealing a tattooed map to her story. Maria da Penha is an ode to her mother. The 2009 Bell rings for her, mid torso. A beautiful, tribal piece with turtles and fish curls from elbow to wrist.
I try to conduct a casual interview whilst she destroys my friend’s six-year-old son in a game of what’s supposed to be friendly backyard football. She wrestles him to the ground, both boy and ball toys at her mercy. She skillfully passes through his legs to score another goal. The tired out boy flops on the outdoor chair. He tries to hide his embarrassment, smiling through his sweaty fringe. He has met his competitive match, and been defeated by a girl.
A girl who was once a cheeky seven-year-old, growing up on northern beaches of Brazil, stealing surfboards from her brothers and showing them how it’s done. A thirst to win, born so young in the water.
These days at 30, she’s classified a veteran. The scars on her knees like lightning bolts are inherent to her electric persona and will to perfect. These marks show the toll of ligament tearing aeronautical landings.
Whatever her age or injury, she did something very special for women’s surfing earlier this month. At the Roxy Pro she wowed the crowd with an aerial manoeuvre “rated best in the history of women’s surfing” (Gold Coast Bulletin). Earning her a perfect 10, some claimed this was the move that could change the face of women’s surfing. All this makes it is hard to believe that Silvana is without a major sponsor. Perhaps the melodious clanging of yet another bell will awaken the slumbering sponsors. What a visionary face of change they will snap up. Boa sorte Silvana. Boa Sorte!!!!!