Australian surfer at home in Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Australian surfer at home in Sri Lanka

6 October, 2019
Champion Australian surfer Mitchel Parkinson in action during the final   Pix: Sulochana Gamage
Champion Australian surfer Mitchel Parkinson in action during the final Pix: Sulochana Gamage

Australian Mitch Parkinson produced an outstanding performance to emerge champion surfer and covert the Trophy at the So-Sri Lanka Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3000 in Arugam Bay last Sunday.

He came up with a superlative display in the final against Indonesia’s Oney Anwar.

Sri Lanka too had the opportunity of fielding 16 surfers on the wildcard basis to compete along with all foreign competitors from 26 countries who were seeking to make their way to the World Surf League 2019.

“The intention of Sri Lanka Surfing Association to enter the local surfers was for them to get exposure through this competition,” said an official of the Association.

Out of these 16 surfers only three locals made their way to the third round and it was Lakshitha Madushan of Weligama Surf Club who became the best Sri Lankan surfer to receive an award.

Parkinson who reached the final had to face stiff competition during the quarters and semi-finals against his countryman Callum Robson and Brazil’s Victor Bernado respectively.

Meanwhile, the finalist from Indonesia Oney Anwar had to face tough competition from France’s Paul Cesar in the semi-final before confronting Parkinson.

The final was evenly contested up to the halfway mark and it was Parkinson with two ten pointers went ahead to take a firm lead and maintained it until the end. This was witnessed by thousands of surfing fans.

Parkinson carried away the coveted Trophy and US$ 15,000 while Anwar had a Trophy plus US $ 7,500.

“Oney and I have known each other since we were kids and are great mates.

All week we were joking with each other just saying ‘I’ll see you in the final’ and then it happened and we couldn’t believe it. Sri Lanka is so awesome, I just love it here and I’m definitely coming back with my girlfriend. I’m so over the moon,” said Parkinson.

“I went to high school in Palm Beach in Gold Coast and grew up competing with Mitch all the time so to be in a final of a WSL event in Sri Lanka with him is so cool. I just came here to enjoy this place and have fun so making it to the final was just a bonus,” said Anwar.

The event was the brainchild of one of the leading promoters in the island Lanka Sportsreizen headed by Thilak Weerasinghe who had the support from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau which sponsored the event.

Minister of Tourism and Religious Affairs John Amaratunge who graced the occasion as chief guest said that conducting events of this nature specially along coastal areas which has lot of attraction for tourists was a sure way to bring more and more foreigners to the country.