ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will host a men’s qualifying series competition of the World Surf League at Arugam Bay with over a 125 surfers from 30 countries will take part, boosting the island’s positioning as a safe destination for surfers and tourists, officials said.
It is the second time the global body of professional surfers is holding the event in Sri Lanka.
The surfing completion is one of several events Sri Lanka is holding to mark World Tourism Day, as the country looks to boost its image as a safe destination and recover from the effects of a downturn after Easter Sunday events.
“This is an event that will help us tap into key Western markets,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chief Gomes said. “There will be competitors from the USA, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia.”
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said over 135 participants from around 30 countries will be in the competition.
WSL events have a large online following according to the WSL in addition to coverage from the surfing press and other media.
The WSL had made a security assessment in the wake of Easter Sunday blasts and were satisfied with the status.
“They sent their own consultant who performed a security audit of the entire country,” he said. “He also spent time at the Eastern regions as well and had discussion with the military and police.
“They concluded that Sri Lanka was safe and decided to hold the event in Arugam Bay.”
Arugam Bay has right hand point break waves, which were admired by adventurers global surfers who trekked to the area during the island’s long running civil war.
“Sri Lanka is an incredibly beautiful country with an abundance of waves on offer for surfers of all levels so we are stoked to be heading back,” said WSL Asia Event Director Steve Robertson said in a statement..
“With world-class surf and solid qualifying points on offer at the So Sri Lanka Pro, we’re expecting a great international field to attend this year’s event. The event will be broadcast across all WSL channels and will show surf fans around the world just how incredible the surf in Sri Lanka really is.”
Australian Julian Wilson is the defending champion who participated in the last competition at Arugam Bay as a wild card. (Colombo/Sept11/2019)