Sri Lanka discovers new surfing hero | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka discovers new surfing hero

Lesitha Prabath conquers the waves
Lesitha Prabath conquers the waves

Lesitha Prabath was crowned national surfing champion of Sri Lanka in Arugam Bay after two days of battling his rivals at the inaugural National Surfing Championship Series 2018.



Lesitha Prabath on the podium with his trophy 

The local 27 year-old from the Arugam Bay Surf Club had to overcome windy conditions and head high sets of waves but convinced the judges by showcasing strong skills of speed, power, flow and a solid aerial. An aerial means the surfer flies through the air above the wave to land again and carry on the ride.

This gave him the leading points above his fellow competitors Praneeth Sadaruwan (2nd place) Asanka Sanjeewa (3rd place) and Nadeen Sampath (4th place).

Tim Jones, International Surfing Association advisor to the SFSL commented on the outstanding skills of the new national champion: “Lesitha probably is the most experienced when it comes to contests. He has got solid, strong skills. He is also one of the few competitors that has an air game. In the finals, his understanding of being safe in his surfing when he needed to and taking chances and risks in his surfing when it demanded he did so, was excellent.”

The three round championship was organized by the recently formed Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka.

In January 2018, Lesitha had already applied his winning formula at the start of the popular series in Hikkaduwa.

Although Lesitha only made it into the semi-finals at the second competition in Kabalana in March, he pushed hard to succeed at his home-break.

For Lesitha it was a special moment in his life and a historical one for the whole nation. “Of course it was my dream to become the National Surfing Champion of Sri Lanka. I trained for it. Whenever I had free time I came to Main Point.“

Hiran Ukwatte, first president of the SFSL explained: “Surfing as a sport has only very recently been introduced by the International Olympic Committee to the Olympic Games. It will feature in the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

“In Sri Lanka, surfing was only considered a tourism development activity, enough to get the tourists to visit the country. But when this Olympic moment came it laid the ground to have a National level event for the first time in history.” 

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