World surfs in Sri Lanka | Daily News


 

World surfs in Sri Lanka

‘So Sri Lanka Pro 2019’ in Arugam Bay from September 23 to 29:

The upcoming ‘So Sri Lanka Pro’ professional surfing event set for Arugam Bay, popular for its magnificent surf, has been extremely well received by professional surfers from all over the world.

The international professional surfing competition is to be heldin Arugam Bay from September 23 to 29.

With entries still coming in, already around 120 surfers from 24 countries such as Australia, Indonesia, France, Venezuela, Israel, the USA, Portugal, New Zealand, Mexico, Spain, Great Britain, Brazil, South Africa, Costa Rica, Argentina, Japan, Ireland, Chile, Belgium, Peru, India, the Maldives, Malaysia and Sri Lanka have entered the event.

“It is fantastic to see that contestants from many different nationalities have already entered into So Sri Lanka Pro,” said World Surf League (WSL) Contest Director for the event, Will Hayden-Smith. “The event is extremely important for all these surfers with essential qualification points aligned to the world rankings. With great waves also very likely to greet these surfers, they have shown their approval for the event with entries coming in from all over the world.”

Many of these surfers are well known within the world professional surfing ranks and many are serious contenders to represent their nations in the 2020 Japan Olympic Games, where surfing makes its Olympic debut.

One such surfer is the fast-emerging Rio Waida from Indonesia. The powerful youngster was placed third in the WSL World Junior Championships in 2018 and he is already identified as the future star of the sport.

“I am very excited to be coming to Sri Lanka for this great event,” said Waida. “I have heard great things about the waves in Sri Lanka and it is always fantastic for us to have the opportunity to compete in quality surf. I can’t wait!”

So Sri Lanka Pro 2019 will also play as a huge opportunity for some of the local surfers to take on the international professionals as wildcards in the event. This opportunity is something that has been made possible through the WSL and the Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka.

The world-famous tourist resort in Pottuvil, Arugam Bay is going to be a hive of activity as a series of events have been organised from September 23 till the end of the month. This world-qualified ranking event in surfing and World Tourism Day have been planned to be celebrated there.

The ranking event in surfing has been organised in conjunction with the Sri Lanka National Surf Federation under the guidance of the World Surf Federation and elaborate arrangements have been made to accord a warm welcome to surfers from various parts of the world.

The event for local surfers has been scheduled for September 23 and 24, where 32 surfers from various parts of the country have already submitted their entries while the world-qualified ranking event is to be worked out on September 25 and 29, where more than 130 surfers are expected to take part in this event.

A progress review meeting to finalise arrangements and to entrust assignments to respective organisations and personalities held at the Arugam Bay Tristar Hotel auditorium was presided over by District Secretary D.M.L. Bandaranayake with the participation of Additional District Secretary A.M. Latheef, Eastern Province Tourism Bureau Director General A.S.M. Faiz, Pottuvil Divisional Secretariat D.R. Thiraviaraj, Divisional Secretary M.A.C. Nazeel, Pottuvil Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman M.S.M. Waseeth, Chamber of Tourism and Industry President A.M. Jaufer, Arugam Bay Tourism Association Chairman M.H.A. Raheem and high-ranking officers of Tri Forces.

Lanka Sportreizen Chairman Thilak Weerasinghe and President of the Sri Lanka Surfing Federation Hiran Ukwatte briefed the arrangements being made for the event. Officials in charge of electricity, water supply or drinking water, hotel and accommodation for invitees, parking areas, security arrangements, temporary police posts, first aid services, transportation, volunteering, invitees and invitations, solid waste and garbage management, carnival site arrangement, beach cleaning, sanitary facilities, refreshments, media campaign, and promotion and publicity were also discussed at length.

Arugam Bay Tourism Association Chairman M.H.A. Raheem said that there are 226 hotels in Arugam Bay with a capacity of 3,000 rooms to accommodate more than 7,500 tourists from various parts of the world.

“If necessary, additional accommodation facilities too could be arranged. Bookings have already been made and some of the competitors have already arrived and are practising. This is a good sign,” he said.

“So Sri Lanka Pro 2019 will also play as a huge opportunity for some of the local surfers to take on the international professionals as wildcards in the event. This opportunity is something that has been made possible through the WSL and the Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka. It will be amazing to have the WSL come back to Sri Lanka,” said Sri Lankan Surfing Federation President Hiran Ukwatte.

“We cannot wait to witness a world-class event and watch the positive effect it will have on surf sports in our country and on surf tourism to the area. Arugam Bay is a world-class wave with some fantastic local surfers such as D.A. Lakshitha from Weligama, Praneeth Sandaruwan and Lesitha Prabath from Arugam Bay to name a few. These surfers are looking forward to the opportunity to compete with surfers from all over the world,” he said.

“They will have the opportunity to compete with wildcards in the So Sri Lanka Pro event, which will be an incredible experience for them. At present, the three top surfers of Sri Lanka are competing at the2019 ISA World Surfing GamesinMiyazaki, Japan, which is an Olympic qualifying event. Finally, the tireless efforts of the Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka have made this event happen and I truly believe the event will make the Federation grow in many ways and become an integral part of sport development in this country,” Ukwatte said.

“Meanwhile, beaches are also being cleaned by the Arugam Bay Development Forum (ADF). Members of the ADF, Tri Forces personnel and the public too are participating in shramadana. A large number of foreigners too are voluntarily engaged in this task,” ADF President Hajith said.

Arrangements are also afoot to celebrate World Tourism day on September 27 in Arugam Bay with colourful and cultural events. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and Tourism Bureau of Eastern Province together with the Chamber of Tourism and Industry of Sri Lanka have drawn up all programmes.

Eastern Province Tourism Bureau Director General A.S.M. Fayis told the Daily News that the highlight of the day would be the sail and cruise ship from which one could watch whales and dolphins.

Foreigners and locals are allowed to board the ship for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Meanwhile, Chamber of Tourism and Industry President A.M. Jaufer has made all arrangements to give away the awards and certificates to the winners who won the art competition on the theme ‘Creating employment opportunities in tourism’; an Eco Tourism Award will also be presented.

At the same time, the National Youth Services Council has planned a few cultural events with the objective of strengthening communal amity, inter-communal harmony and co-existence.


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