This past weekend in Arugam Bay saw the culmination of the very first Sri Lankan national surf content series. It was the third and final contest of the series and it was to determine the first ever national surfing champion of Sri Lanka. The best surfers from around the islands coast were pooled together and they contested at some of the best surf breaks the country has to offer.
The first competition was held at Hikkaduwa in January, with awesome conditions. Photos by talented and dedicated surf photographer, Max Gifted:
Arugam Bay local, Lesitha Prabath took the win and for good reason. He knew how to pick the waves and got himself some barrel time as pictured above. Lakshita 'Lucky' Madushan from Weligama came in a close second.
The second competition took place at The Rock, Kabalana and saw Lakshitha come off his second place and take the win withe emphatic style. This made for a heated exchange of points between Lakshitha and Lesitha which would make for a great contest at Arugam Bay for the final competition to determine the overall champion and first ever Sri Lankan national surfing champion.
The third and final competition took place at Main Point, Arugam Bay. This being one of Sri Lanka's prime surf-breaks, we all knew it would deliver some good competitive conditions. This was to be a huge event and many sponsors from the area, including us at The Spice Trail, were more than happy to jump on the train and help out where possible.
With the morning sun, rising over the ocean, a slight breeze welcomed the first heat of the finals.
The first day of competition saw the wind growing fierce after midday. Luckily the swell was strong so this did not have a massive effect on the consistent right-hand, reefy point of Arugam Bay.
The second day saw better wind conditions and a surf-crazy hoard of people began to gather on the sandy shores. After some hotly contested Quarter and Semi-Finals, we had our finalists:
Everybody had been surfing their hearts out and the Final was set to start at 12:05pm. Following image by the master: Soul Snaps (@soulsnapss)
There was a massive buzz around the Finals and the Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka did an amazing job putting the event together. The commentators kept the crowd going while every high-risk maneuver performed by the athletes saw the crowd grow louder. As the surfers ran back up the point the crowd cheered more and more as the clock ticked down.
After a hot score battle, the final heat was over and the judges began the scoring process. The prize-giving ceremony was set for 14;30pm and we all gathered around the stage on beach to see who would have earned the title of Sri Lanka's national surfing champion.
After all the necessary thanks-givings and participatory awards. The suspense had risen.
Asanka Sanjeewa took third place with a gracious smile and soon after, Praneeth Sanduruwan was announced as 2nd best.
With a huge cheer from the hoard and a ceremonious crowd-surf to the front, Lesitha Prabath was awarded with first place in the final competition. and a huge smile did not leave his face as he knew what this meant.
By doing so he had become the First-ever National Surfing Champion of Sri Lanka after taking first place twice in the three-event series. He had earned it and he knew it:
This was a momentous occasion for surfing in Sri Lanka as this could mean an opportunity for our local surfers and athletes alike a chance to represent their country in the Olympic games, which has decided to include surfing in its program.
We would like to congratulate our new surfing Champion and Arugam Bay local, Lesitha Prabath. We wish you all the best for all the up-coming opportunities that are yet to come.
A huge Thank-You and congratulations must go out to the Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka for making this happen and all the sponsors involved for the huge effort and sense of community while working towards making this event happen on the scale that it did.
Until next time, see you in the line-up, The Spice Trail Team.