Africa

Published 5:42 AM ET, Mon September 5, 2016
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Kadiatu Kamara, known as KK, is the only female surfer in Sierra Leone. Living in Bureh, south of the capital Freetown, the coastal village has one of the only surf breaks in the country. Daniel Ali/Louis Leeson
At 19-years-old she has become the focus of new documentary short "A Million Waves" by British filmmakers Daniel Ali and Louis Leeson, capturing her life and passion for surfing. Daniel Ali/Louis Leeson
Born into civil war and living through the Ebola epidemic that ravaged Sierra Leone, KK found respite in the ocean during a period when schools were closed down. Daniel Ali/Louis Leeson
Bureh Beach Surf Club was started by NGO worker Shane O'Connor and is run today by locals. Nineteen members share communal surfboards and teach children as young as five to surf. Daniel Ali/Louis Leeson
Ali and Leeson, when interviewing KK, said the young surfer provided a variety of reasons why she was the only woman to jump on a board. KK said that some of the girls couldn't swim, or some of them were scared of the sea. Ali says that gender stereotypes could also play a part. Daniel Ali/Louis Leeson
KK's father died in 2014 (from a non-Ebola related cause), meaning along with her studies she supports her family, helping to sell groceries and making hats and tote bags to tout to Bureh's few tourists. Daniel Ali/Louis Leeson
The small surf community at Bureh Beach is only now reclaiming its status as a burgeoning travel destination. Plans for an international surf competition -- which had been put on ice due to the Ebola outbreak -- could resume, says Ali. Daniel Ali/Louis Leeson
"[Locals] see the direct relation between what the surfers are doing and investment and footfall," says Ali. "There definitely is a sense of pride in that this is their village and it's pretty unique what's going on there." Daniel Ali/Louis Leeson