Christian Surfers UK

Simply On A Mission

Christian Surfers UK

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

8th July 2010

After 3 days of solid travelling (broken up by a night in a 5 star hptel!) we finally arrive in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka, a small village that has seen great change in the past five years and by all accounts is going to see far more in the future. Myself and Phil travelled out with the UK Pro Surf Tour team for the Champion of Champions surf contest, myself as part of the judging team and Phil was there to documentthe change in Arugum Bay and itís people since he first went there in the months after the 2004 tsunami.After spending so long on the road, the dawning the following morning was a given, we set the alarm for 5am and were rewarded with a fun 2-3ft session and a beautiful scene. It was great to be back in this place that really found a place in my heat on the previous years trip.The contest started the next day with the locals competing for ten places in the main event. It was amazing to see how much the standard of surfing has improved in just one year, these guys have got the place wired. It soon became clear that the locals were going to pose a real challenge to the travelling UK surfs. The contest ran through to the semi finals in clean 2-4ft waves that stayed offshore the whole time. This meant I got in a fun and rare un-crowded session after the contest, as people had gone elsewhere due to the contest being on. The main event took place over the next three days, with the local surfers joining the top UK surfers competing for the champion of champions title. This year also included a womenís category with eight women competing, something of a novelty in Sri Lanka. The conditions were quite changeable over the three days, which caught a few of the travelling surfers out and was taken advantage of by the locals, with several knocking out their UK competitors in the early rounds. At the quarter final stage the heats went to man on man, following the ASP formatand adding a greater element of tactics to the heats. The final came down to a matchup between Alan Stokes and Reubin Pearce who had travelled to Sri Lanka together two weeks before the contest, the extra time out there clearly paying off. It was a tense final as the waves had decreased through the morning and time between sets had increased. In the end it was Alan Stokes who came out on top who had clearly been the best surfer throughout the contest, scoring the highest scoring wave (9.5) in the semi final. The womens final was an all Welsh afair, between Gwen Spurlock and Beth Mason. It was a really close final but Bethís more powerful surfing gave her the victory. The Local final was also held on the final day and was won by Asanka, who lives right on the point, for the forth year running. Second was Santharuwan, who impressed throughout thecontest. Milan and Kavinthiran took third and forth.   Outside of the contest myself and Phil meet up with the families who Phil had worked with in the months after the 2004 Tsunami. Phil had brought a load of photos he took at the time. It was amazing to see the difference and to see the locals look through them and recall their memories. It made the trip even more special for me to be able to connect with these local families. We also went to the Surfing the Nations base in Arugam Bay and spent some time with the guys staying there, Andy had been there for two years. It has been a tough time for them and it great to be able to encourage them. Phil and I were staying with a local family Phil had helped after the Tsunami, who have got some cabanas right on the beach. It was also where many of the local surfers hang out, so it was brilliant spending time with them and getting to know some of them. They told us all about the surf club they have started in Arugam Bay and the Sri Lankan Surf Federation they are forming, encouraging surf clubs to form all over Sri Lanka.We were also shown the plot of land they have been given by one of the surferís Gran, ĎAunteí as she is called. Itís right on the beach and they hope to build a club house as a place to store boards, hang out and train lifeguards. It was amazing to see their passion for surfing and using it to have a positive impact on their community. Travelling with some of the top surfers in the UK, myself and Phil were aware of the opportunity we had to be a Christian presence in this mobile mini community of surfers. In the time we were there we had the chance to pray with one of the surfers, who had injured his knee and was unable to compete. We were also able to talk with and gave a bible to one of the surfers, who was calling out for God to come into his life. On the last day we also had a chance to meet up with three Sri Lankan surfers who are hoping to start Christian Surfers Sri Lanka.Overall it was an amazing trip to a place that has so much going on and so much change in the air. We had many positive experiences and it was great to develop more links with the local community.  David
   

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