Surf Girl Magazine Autumn 2018
On a recent photoshoot in the Maldives with Torq Surfboards, I asked the brand if we could invite some local female surfers. I thought it would be great to add some diversity to the catalogue, which is normally full of pictures of blonde-haired men and me, and may also provide a platform for the emergence of new role-models to inspire the islands' younger girls. When they agreed, I began to realise the scale of the challenge I had set myself. 'How many women even surf in the Maldives?' I wondered. Not many, it turns out. And could I even find one willing to join us?
The local Maldivian men I knew told me there were no female surfers but through social media and friends I discovered two, Naaisha Haneef and Mariyam Niuma, and although Mariyam was chasing waves in Morocco and unable to join us, Naaisha – a 29-year-old freelance graphic designer, yoga instructor, artist and surfer – agreed to come along. Initially she was afraid she wouldn’t be good enough because she’d only been surfing for a year but by day two of our trip she was throwing herself into 4ft bombs and taking sets on the head like a boss.
Naaisha and I discussed her story on a humid morning between surfs, and the full interview is in this months Surf Girl Magazine.