The opening day of the 2019 So Sri Lanka Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3000 has seen a truly international field take on semi-clean two-to-three foot waves at Arugam Bay to complete Round 1.
Competitors from South Africa, India, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Sweeden, Portugal and of course Sri Lanka did battle in the opening heats of competition with representatives from all countries fairing well.
Sri Lankan standout Parasurman Aatha Kavinthiran (SRL) was the best of locals in Round 1, taking out his heat with a two-wave combination of 11.34 (out of a possible 20). Aatha Kavinthiran was here last time WSL ran an event in his homeland and he is over the moon to have the QS back in town.
"I'm so happy to have this great event here in Sri Lanka," Aatha Kavinthiran said. "It's not only a great recognition of the waves we have here but it gives the local surf community an opportunity to see professional surfers up close and learn from them. I can't wait to surf in my next heat and hope to do Sri Lanka proud."
Gold Coast larrikin Mitch Parkinson (AUS) has been enjoying his first stay in Sri Lanka, a place with maybe more righthand point breaks than his home on the east coast of Australia. Fortunately for Parkinson, he'll continue to enjoy the fruits of Arugam Bay after he progressed through his Round 1 heat and into the second round.
"The waves were epic out there this morning," Parkinson said. "I love surfing long pointbreaks so this is a dream for me -- I feel intense happiness right now. The last few days have been so fun, I've been riding a bunch of different boards from my shaper Gen 4 Surfboards at a few different points. This is like a dream holiday more than a contest."
After almost 10 year's away from the Qualifying Series, Clinton Gravett (ZAF) saw an opportunity to come to Sri Lanka from Thailand where he now resides to test a few new boards. It seemed that the fresh sleds went pretty well with Gravett posting the highest heat total of the opening day, a two-wave combination of 15.24 for an epic display of backhand surfing.
"It's been a while since I've surfed so I'm so stoked to be in the water," Gravett said. "I have pretty low expectations so I'll be happy to get a few waves and if I make a few heats it's a bonus. It's great to be here in Sri Lanka it's a beautiful place with great people and really fun waves."
Portugal's Pedro Coelho (PRT) Indonesia's Tipi Jabrik (IDN), Sweeden's Kian Martin (SWE), India's Sanjay Selvmani (IND), Malaysia's Muhannad Didaqt Musaddiq (MYS), and Sri Lankan duo Waduke Sanjey, Suranga Pradeep were some of the other names to progress into Round 2.
Tune in tomorrow as some of the events higher seeds hit the water in Round 2.