Red Bull Ride My Wave 2019 creates a thriving surfing culture in Sri Lanka

This December, Sri Lanka geared up for the 4th edition of Red Bull Ride My Wave, held along the sandy shores of one of Sri Lanka’s best beaches on the Southern Coast, Hikkaduwa. On the 7th and 8th of December, surfers of every skill level competed in this professional surfing competition, managed and judged by the Surfing Federation Sri Lanka. The competition was open to both local and international surfers, challenging anyone who had the passion to take on Sri Lanka’s waves.

Red Bull has repeatedly proven their commitment towards developing sports across the globe, and they have certainly had a strong influence here in Sri Lanka. Ride My Wave has been no exception, with past events being held along the East and South Coasts, opening the doors to a sport that is slowly but steadily growing in popularity within the island. Past winners include the East Coast Team (2014), Asanka (2015), Lucky D.A. (2016), and Mattia Poirier (2018).

Red Bull Ride My Wave was launched with the aim of fostering the sport, helping local tourism, and promoting the bond of surf culture with its own twist. After a spectacular 2-day event this December, it is undeniable that Red Bull has once more achieved their goal. The event was packed with fun-filled activities and with an atmosphere of feverish excitement as people of all ages, both local and international, joined together to take on Sri Lanka’s waves or simply join in on the fun by cheering on Sri Lanka’s surfing enthusiasts. In fact, this year’s event was completely plastic-free, as Red Bull demonstrated their commitment towards the environment by minimizing pollution.

True to the spirit of creating surfing history in Sri Lanka, Ride My Wave has provided a platform for enthusiastic female surfers as well. Female surfers took on the waves this year, breaking barriers in what has largely been a male-dominated sport. Indeed, Red Bull Ride My Wave has succeeded in helping create a thriving surfing culture within Sri Lanka, attracting more potential surfing enthusiasts than ever before.

Nikita Robb emerged as the winner of the Women’s Category, with Nicole Jansen and Sarah Sagve securing 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Lakshitha Madushan emerged victorious from the Men’s Category, followed by Nadeen Sampath and David Soloman in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. As such, Lakshitha Madushan and Nikita Robb were crowned King and Queen of the Wave 2019. The 2-day event was filled with fierce competition with 100 participants from around the world. The judging criteria was incredibly high, where participants were scored on a 0.1 – 10 scale, expertly judged by a panel led by Head Judge Lahiru Wijesekera, an ISA International Level 1 Judge, with the event being supported by the highly experienced Contest Director G.P.G. Sandika Thushara, winner of Sri Lanka’s 1st ever National Surfing Championship.

With 30 heats held on each day, the competition consisted of four rounds, which then gave way to the quarter finals, semifinals, and finals. Participants were judged on their ability to perform radical controlled maneuvers in the critical sections of a wave with speed, power, and flow. Innovative/Progressive surfing as well as the Combination and Variety of Repertoire (of MAJOR maneuvers) were further taken into consideration when rewarding points for a surfer’s performance.

Red Bull Ride My Wave 2019 was immensely successful event in bringing together surfing communities and enthusiasts across the country on the Southern Coast, working to firmly establish surfing as a sport in Sri Lanka.