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  • Writer's pictureKeira McGee

Ama: Shredding to Provide

This rough sketch of an Ama woman highlights an I N C R E D I B L E group of female free divers in Japan. Iconic within the diving community, it is suspected that Ama women have been diving for 2,000+ years to fish for abalone, oysters, and pearls. Ama culture is deeply rooted in the ocean, and their diving traditions continue to be passed down today.

Traditional Ama divers wore o n l y loincloths, despite frigid water temperatures. The use of masks and fins was not popular, as the extra gear made fishing easier and the Ama were careful not to overfish. Today, many modern Ama have adopted neoprene wetsuits and classic oval-shaped dive masks, but they continue to honor Ama tradition in ways that inspire others.

With a deep understanding and respect for the ocean, Ama divers practice sustainable fishing and are careful not to overfish local waters. While diving, this matriarchal group of providers push the physical and mental limitations of their bodies in order to support their communities.

Sadly, they have often been misrepresented and objectified throughout history, so it is important to honor the Ama’s physical abilities and beautiful, long-lasting traditions.

They are a group of badass women and deserve to be celebrated for their strength and resilience.

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