Iran Project – Les Ateliers Baume
It is a pleasure to introduce the Project that Damien, Tim and Nao, our Swiss friends from Les Ateliers Baume, realized with the We Ride in Iran community in the south of Iran the last September.
The project was all about sharing knowledge, skills and time, and we know it was a complete success.
Here is their testimony:
“I remember well the first time I heard about surfing in Iran. It was last winter on the way up to Dizin, a ski resort located a few hours north of Tehran. Sina Shamyani was driving his old and well travelled wonder bus, the light was transcending the large ridge of mountains in the back of Teheran. Intimidating yet inspiring oversized Iranian flags were slicing the air in a gentle way. Dreaming of empty waves while heading to the mountains for a snowboarding adventure is quite common in our sheltered corner of the world, but this time, Sina’s wise words mixed with the new landscapes turning my mind upside down lit up a sparkle that would only grow bigger. Baluchistan, Chabahar, Ramin, Abid, bigger waves close to Pakistani boarder, safe but stay with right people, friendly community…
We were introduced to the Iranian riding community thanks to our close friends Arnaud Cottet and Benoît Goncerut. In 2013 they created «We ride in Iran» a network between Iran and Switzerland gathering all boardsport actors. And since Tim and I started shaping our own surfboards in a shared farmhouse in Lausanne, Ben and Arnaud pushed us to go to Iran and share our passion with the young surfers there. And here begins the connection of swiss farm shapers and our designer Naomi with Baluchi-style surf community. We had nothing but this in common, our parents were not spending their free time riding waves at the beach nor were our ancestors. Still somehow, in a very simple and humble approach we shared unique moments talking, laughing and riding waves at Ramin beach. Opportunities through ocean and surf connecting people who are not meant to meet otherwise. Moments that creates strong bonds. We were absolutely not expecting such a high level of welcoming, kindness and curiosity. Beyond the language difficulty we all got along really well through smiles and «baluchi-farsinglish».
The journey began in fact in our shaping room. We oriented our shapes towards wider and longer boards that would best suit what we heard the waves were like on this Indian ocean coast line. Collaborating with «We ride in Iran» to communicate and give more visibility to the surfing scene down in Ramin was a real pleasure. In the end the boards proved functionality and the shaping process created a real interest in the local community. Surfers were very enthusiastic about having a «We ride in Iran» logo written in Farsi on the surfboards. They saw an opportunity to promote more of their own surfing related business: surfing lessons, board repairs, accommodations and guiding are all on-going projects led by the locals themselves under the charismatic supervision of Abid Fulladi.
This project would probably not have seen daylight without the tremendous work and implication of two amazing women who introduced surfing in Iran in 2010. Marion Poizeau (France) and Easkey Britton (Ireland) are two names pending on every surfer lips in Iran. Against all odds they became the godmothers of this man-dominated sport in an Islamic republic. Moreover they blew a spirit of freedom and opened new paths to encounters of all kinds.
Well beyond this surfboard shaping related project we started a trip on that would take us through outstanding desert landscapes and lead us into so many unexpected and heart-opening encounters. From the restaurant owner offering us the meal of the day to the owner of a travel agency shutting down her business to help us arrange a long taxi ride passing by amazing people willing to share a few words in English wondering about our presence in such remote places, all made us feel so comfortable that we almost totally forgot we were visiting a region that does not even appear on a touristic guide of Iran and that international embassies recommend avoiding. The truth is that we haven’t seen any signs of danger or violence everywhere we went. Instead we have met adorable people who stand very far away from beach boys clichés that one can find around the world. There are lots of other individuals from all over Iran who come down south whenever they can to spend time with this growing and loving surfing community. Away from the bustling cities they all find peace of mind by the ocean, once feared.
Spending time together, finding baluchi solutions to fix boards, learning Farsi and eating delicious food kept us from exploring more waves of the promising coastline. We enjoyed though some days of head high messy surf at «The spot» where strong rips make it difficult to catch that ride you are waiting for. But when it comes, just like at any other sketchy beach breaks, it truly refuels your body with the right energy. The harbor part of the bay was also host of a small left peeling wave, perfectly suited for longboard lovers and beginners.
In the end if you go to Iran for surfing, you might well discover much more.
We would like to thank «We ride in Iran» community for 24/7 arrangements. We also got a generous and very appreciated support of Entropy resins for the costumed surfboards, VO/MA Project for great surfing clothes giveaways and project communication help and Cloud-9 shop.”