SURFING IN SRI LANKA: CULTURE AND HISTORY
When the word Sri Lanka comes to your mind, you are immediately reminded of the sea. The island is located in South Asia with stunning beaches and a lavish atmosphere for the perfect vacation you have dreamt of.
Surfing in Lanka dates back to the early 1960s though it wasn’t until the end of the civil war in 2009 that it became a tourist attraction of the country. In 1964, an American surfer, Rusty Miller on his trip around the world came across the island of Sri Lanka. Rusty, with his friend Patrick Goddard, met with a renowned diver Mike Wilson. The three of them would later go on a trip to surf along the west coast of the island in Sri Lanka, which was then known as Ceylon. The experience left Rusty astonished.
Aussie Surf Community
Later in the 1970s, a small batch of Australian surfers on their search for alternatives to the surfing heaven, Bali, found their way to Sri Lanka. Dave Fisher and Bruce Weller visited Hikkaduwa in 1973 and married the two sisters from the village. Their trips became more often which caused a buzz in the Aussie surf community leading a small group of Australians, Italians, and French to the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka.
War of 1983
The reputation of Sri Lanka would have been much better if it wasn’t for the war in 1983. Some of the fans continued to visit the island shore to enjoy the waves of the ocean along the coast of the island.
The First Surfing Competition
In 1993, the first surfing competition of Sri Lanka was held at Hikkaduwa. The event was organized by Channa Nawarathna with a group of Americans supporting to showcase the local talent. The event was won by a local, Mambo. Later on, Mambo with his Japanese friend Haru Fukushima opened up a beach bar and surf shop.
World Surf League
After the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009, Arugam Bay , Hikkaduwa and Weligama would go on to become the first two popular surf destinations of Sri Lanka . The turning point which caused the increased hike of surfers and tourists was the qualifying event of the first major World Surf League which was held in Arugam Bay. It was the chance for locals to interact with foreigners and learn more about the art of surfing.
Furthermore, the Surf Federation of Sri Lanka was created in 2017, encouraging the locals to join this sport. It was not late that the International Olympic Community finally recognized surfing as a sport and included it in the 2019 Olympics. In 2018, Lanka held its first National Surf Contest, from where the participants took on to participate in the World Surf Games held in Japan.
The surf culture of Sri Lanka has taken a huge toll since the beginning of it, in the 60s. You can find surf schools, shops, and surf camps along the coast of the island. Despite the losses, because of the Civil War, the culture of surfing in Sri Lanka has improved in the country ever since and will continue to be promising in the future too.
If you ever feel like going to a surf camp in Sri Lanka and experience surfing across the island shores, allow us to be of service to you to make your experience memorable. For more details, visit our home page and contact us.
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