Meet Ishita Malaviya, India’s first female surfer

“I wasn’t doing it to be a role model, I wasn’t thinking about breaking barriers,” says Ishita, reflecting on the years passed since then. “I just enjoyed it.” Now a sponsored athlete and running her own surf school with Tushar, she’s frequently in the international spotlight for challenging the traditional path expected of Indian women – consisting of education, marriage, pregnancy – and choosing the road less travelled. She stands out, literally, with a deeply tanned complexion in a country where “everyone glorifies fair skin”. Refusing to be offended by the criticism levelled at her, she laughs at it. “Surfing saved me,” she says. “It changed our lives completely.”

(Huck)