India’s first female professional surfer, Ishita Malaviya, recently came to California to visit friends, hang with the folks at Brown Girl Surf, and attend the San Diego Surf Film Festival. She’s featured in Beyond the Surface, a doc about surfing, yoga, and ecology in India. It swept the festival awards — Best Feature, Best Cinematography, Emerging Filmmakers, and Spirit of the Fest.
Ishita and her partner Tushar Pathiyan founded the Shaka Surf Club in Manipal, Karnataka, to offer lessons and promote a subcontinental surfing vibe.
They spent a few days in Pacifica and Santa Cruz getting used to the cold water (no wetsuits needed in India) and hanging out with surfer/social entrepreneur/executive coach Farhana Huq and surfer/multimedia artist/author/environmental educator Mira Manickam.
Preston Merchant is working on “Indiaworld,” a photography book about the global Indian diaspora. He divides his time between New York and the San Francisco Bay Area and teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @PrestonMerchant.