International Surfing Association Surf Safety Days Begin!
With the heady news that surfing’s to be part of the 2020 Olympic Games, the word ‘opportunity’ comes to mind, but it’s worth looking at the other side of the surfing world where opportunities to train and achieve rarely come along.
In Sri Lanka, one of the loveliest countries in Asia, surfing is growing at a rapid pace, not only in its booming surf tourism sector but also with local surfers taking advantage of the amazing conditions that the island’s 1,340 km coastline offers.
Under the direction of the International Surf Association course presenter Tim Jones, the ISA has been able to team up with the online global platform for action sports RideWithLocal and the highly respected Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka to offer courses and training to local surfers and surfing instructors
At the end of July the first of their “Surf Safety Days” was launched at the famous Arugam Bay. These events, which are free to attend, are designed help to develop general surf rescue skills and awareness. They are being toured around Sri Lanka by the ISA team.
We caught up with Tim to get his feedback on the first day….
“We were just blown away with not only the impact that the training had on all who attended but the attitude that everyone brought to the beach. Smiles all the time but also super attention to what was being taught too. We had Fawas Lafeer from SAFA surf camp doing lots of the ground work to get things moving but also dealing with translations for the more technical aspects of the training. That was vital. Krishantha Ariyasena made sure we had Arugam Bay Surf Club members in attendance and in the 2 days that we ran the course, 48 people attended.
We had a solid team too with Dan Jones ISA instructor and Dr Carole Soussian from France and Sam from the UK. We taught basic signals, board rescue pickups, casualty care and first aid. Everyone got to learn CPR on the dummies provided by the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka.
It’s super exciting because the sponsorship through RideWithLocal means that we know can now move on to provide ISA Level 1 courses for surfers here: Something we know they normally could not afford even though there is so much interest and hunger for progression here.”
Tim is backing Sri Lankan surfing and has committed to help develop a structured coaching programme here in Sri Lanka. He and RideWithLocal owner Greg Menshikh have been given the go ahead by the national Minister for Sport, the Honourable Dayasiri Jayasekara, to develop the sport and a National Surf Association in Sri Lanka.
With the support of the Minister for Sport and the commitment and enthusiasm of the local surf community, progress is sure to come with a smile!
Photos courtesy of RideWithLocal.