Muslim women are catchin’ waves and making a splash while doing so. Cassie Williams’ piece in the Huffington Post highlighted efforts being made to expose Muslim females to the sport of surfing as well as their growing role in the sport. Kate Sikorski, an MFA candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, recently ran a class to teach Muslim women how to surf in California and featured images of Muslim women surfing in her exhibit “Blackies to Seal and Everywhere in Between,” referencing the different surf spots in North OC.
Said Sikorski: “I’m interested in women who are socially brave, and who just put themselves out there even if they trip and fall, they’re going to do it anyway because it makes their lives more rich.”
Part of her motivation was to soften the image of Muslims from the typical images seen in the media. “I feel that people are still kind of angry and afraid of Muslims right now,” she said. “I guess the best way to portray Muslims to be what they most often are in Orange County is to put them in non-threatening situations like surfing, which is super nonviolent; it’s women having fun.”
The burkini is a full body swimsuit made out of breathable material that is designed to allow women who follow religiously mandated rules of modesty to enjoy water while honoring their religious beliefs. Previous to the burkini, there was no comfortable option for women who covered and wanted to enjoy the water. For some time now, however, the burkini has been accepted and can even be found in the dictionary. So next time you see a colorfully adorned woman on the beach surfing or at your local pool – don’t be alarmed and don’t believe the hype – she’s probably the coolest, hippest and trendiest girl in the spot in her new yellow polka-dotted burkini.