August 20th, 2009
A light hearted note!
My beloved Abay!
An invasion of the surfing pre-madonnas from the UK into my adoptive village in Sri Lanka. Oh how they brought carnage to the line up!! Scared off all the travelling surfers – some of which just bolted to their cabanas and only surfaced once the sponsored surfers and their entourage had left! Oh how i received such verbal onslaught from these travelling surfers.
Having travelled on the Thursday, as part of the first group, I made my escape at the Bandaranaike Airport on the Friday afternoon. I left the exclusive group to wallow in living the high life at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, Colombo, for a night. I knew where my high life would be! In Abay with my adopted family, eating rice n curry. I frantically travelled through the monsoon rainstorms to my home, our final destination, Arugam Bay, reaching there long before my driver intended! Now Sri Lankans drive fast and chaotically, but I was on a mission! When the driver went to get water, I grabbed my opportunity and jumped into the drivers seat, informing him on his return that he was in the back, I was driving! Three hours and numerous security checks later we were in Abay.
My planned quiet surf a few hours later, was not as quiet as intended! The verbal onslaught from the travelling surfers a constant reminder of the week to come! They were somewhat aggrieved! Apparently it was my fault that they wouldn’t be getting waves, as I had the audacity to encourage the UK Pro Surf Tour to come to Arugam Bay for a surfing competition! Me!!
I smiled the Sri Lankan smile and replied ‘it’s not about you and your wants’, ‘it’s about the needs of the community, and how they may benefit from it, and be able to feed their families as a result of the circus coming to town!!’
Arugam Bay is my home now, I am Sri Lankan! And I have been determined to help the community get back on it’s feet since the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the devastating affects of the civil war.
So I won’t get as many waves for a week! So I surf a 9′ 5” Gulf Stream log! So I am a long boarder! Somebody has to be, don’t they? But Abay is my home break! It doesn’t mean I won’t surf the Main Point! I’ll compete with the pro boys for a wave, seek sympathy, smile, complain of old age, and hopefully snag a wave or three! I’ll enjoy what they and the tour bring to the village and especially what they bring to the local surf boys. I have watched Asanka, Krishantha, Milan, Santa. Praneeth, Siril, Ata, Babu grow up, from boys to men. They had a ball and learnt a lot. And perhaps, the pro boys learnt a thing or two as well!
It was fun having the opportunity to show off my adopted home, to show so many that it was safe to travel to Arugam Bay and that the waves are consistent, fun and world class! The community needs surfers to return, to bring their friends and families, and to embrace an area so devastated by both the tsunami and the affects of the civil war.
And on a special note! It allowed me to make so many new and talented friends with huge caring hearts. Who showed empathy towards my beloved community.
Special memories will be of Potti Point one evening. Having a chill surf with the sun going down. Josh loving the rock on the take off! Foolish youth! Tony snapping away at surfers jumping off rocks! Lloydy ‘have you seen my picture in the paper’ Lloyd and Aaron snagging a few waves, and me, well, just loving it – sharing my home with new friends.
And I was blessed! Truly blessed! It allowed me to venture off to other point breaks with my good friend and fellow North Devon surfer, Nick ‘Lloydy’ Lloyd.
A surfer who has as big a heart as me, although a somewhat larger belly than me! A man who has fallen in love with Pineapple curry and Tapioca Chips! A real surfing gent and who scored some fun waves whilst experiencing the real Sri Lanka! War torn and Tsunami destroyed areas further north, security blocked areas further south, but true Sri Lankan style. On a mission for waves with our joking, dancing Tuk Tuk driver Tissa.
2010 – bring it on!
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