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Nasima Akter was kicked out of her parent’s home at seven years old, but still managed to stay on her feet — a skill that has translated nicely to the sport she embraced a few years ago in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.


Now eighteen years old, Akter is a pioneering surfer in a country that frowns on women swimming in public, much less riding the waves. Battling local perceptions and a disapproving husband, she became the most talented surfer from a small group of girls that practiced along one of the world’s longest stretches of beach.

''Before I started surfing, I was working on the beach to sell the things and other ornaments made out of shells, which comes from the sea. But when I see some people surfing, I think it will really feel good and why don't I try and be a surfer like them.''

— Nasima Akter, on discovering surfing


Akter’s story has been chronicled by documentarian Heather Kessinger in an upcoming film entitled The Most Fearless: an Unexpected Surf Story. The Kickstarter funded project captured the past three years of surf star’s struggle to stick with the sport in the face of cultural opposition.

Bangladeshi surfer girl Nasima Akter


Nasima Akter: Bangladesh's first female surfer and lifeguard

''Nasima is a star. She has come from nothing and she has figured out how to do as well as she can. She has a light about her that is amazing.''

— Heather Kessinger, on Nasima Akter

Akter, having developed strong swimming skills from countless hours spent in the ocean, established another first for her country of 157 million — she became it’s first (and only) trained female lifeguard.