‘Be Like Water’: Reflections on Strategies Developing Cross-Cultural Programmes for Women, Surfing and Social Good



As momentum around surfing builds with over 35 million surfers globally and the sport rapidly growing in developing countries, how can we better understand the benefits of surfing and acknowledge its differential effect on minority participants, in particular for females, in diverse cultural and economic settings? Through the delivery of a surf initiative in Iran with young pioneering sportswomen, surfing has become a sport initiated by women and a medium that both challenges and connects across gender, class, ethnic and religious divides within the country. This chapter draws from the author’s experience developing and co-creating the ‘Be Like Water’ initiative with women in Iran, a programme that draws on the notion of blue space or water environments as a powerful medium for health and wellbeing. How the more sensuous qualities of surfing are used to create alternative and transformative ways of learning and doing surfing that challenge dominant surfing identities and practices are discussed. In conclusion, the impact of opening up to and creating accessibility to other possibilities through a lifestyle sport like surfing as a way to challenge social and gender barriers are outlined.


Lifestyle Sports Blue Space Chabahar Female Surfers Board Sports 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Whitaker Institute, National University of Ireland, GalwayGalway CityIreland

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