At 18, she is taking to the waves on her surfboard and crushing conservative taboos as she goes
Nasima was forced from her family home at the age of nine, after her parents kicked her out for refusing to earn money as a prostitute. Homeless, she found an adoptive family at the sur ng club in her hometown of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where she learned to surf on one of the world’s longest uninterrupted sandy coastlines. Local taboos about women swimming meant that Nasima was often the only woman in the water. She endured jeers from men and boys who called her a ‘whore’. She started winning sur ng competitions, using her prize money to support herself while also selling curios and seashells for extra income. Still conforming to some cultural customs around modesty, Nasima surfs wearing the traditional baggy trousers and long shirt of Bangladeshi women. Her out ts billow in the waves and undoubtedly weigh her down compared to her male counterparts, but she still manages to out-surf them. Her story caught the eye of California-based documentary lmmaker Heather Kessinger, who travelled to Bangladesh to capture Nasima in action. In The Most Fearless, Heather documents Nasima’s life on and off the beach. In the lm, Nasima also talks about her husband’s disapproval of her career she got married at 16 . Nasima s refusal to give up her passion has forged new paths for girls from the conservative community. Not content with only sur ng, Nasima also quali ed as Bangladesh’s rst female lifeguard and is an inspiration for girls in her town. The Cox’s Bazar Surf Club has had eight girls between the ages of 10 and 13 join in the last year – all of whom also feature in the lm.
Nasima Akter and fellow surfer Kamrul Hasan