Friday, March 21, 2014

Kavieen's March Experience of Kalpitiya

December to March its not as windy but its still an amazing vibe in Kalpitiya. Here's Kaiveen's take on the experience.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sessao Brisa: March 21 - 23 in Kalpitiya

Feel the vibes of Kalpitiya March 21 - 23 at Kitesurfing Lanka! Nigel would play. Just chilled out. Swim in the Ocean, see the Dolphins and Whales...



Event Page on Facebook

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Go Pro Kitesurfing Lanka

Kathrina Clow's view of Kitesurfing Lanka - Sri Lanka's Epic Kiting Company!
.
 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

SailLanka Voyage- A quest by Jeremy Bolling

They are sailing around Sri Lanka and made a stop at Kalpitiya! sailors had to say.
.
Rob’s experience today

“An early start as the forecast predicted storms in the afternoon. After a knock on the door at 6 it was time to leave the paradise of Bay Reef Resort. Just time for a quick breakfast of Mars Bars and bananas we were ready to leave. A steady breeze from the North East made the perfect start. The winds were shifting all morning and trying to push us off shore. We decided to tack back to land hugging the shore all the way around. Once the wind shifted to North West it was a little choppy away from shore but with Jeremy at the helm any sailor would have felt comfortable. As we rounded the headland we were met by the owner of Kitesurfing Lanka flying along side us on his kite board. The beaching point was in sight and we beached at yet another idyllic setting in Kalpitiya.”
.

Now over to Jeremy 

“As mentioned by Rob, with the sweet taste of Mars Bars in the mouth at 6:30 in the morning ,we came to the beach & started sailing off at 7:10. To try & get to Kalpitiya 11nm away before the high winds & rough seas predicted for the afternoon. We sailed on a wind shift between NE & NW and came into Kalpitiya in about 10kts of wind & an increase in the sea chop. From out at sea we reached into shore towards our new navigational device which is the sun reflecting off the iPad screen. No need to switch it on and load the ‘app for that.’ We had a welcome greeting from our friend Dilsiri of Kitesurfing Lanka who came along flying with his kite out to meet us.
.
.




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dog Care Kalpitiya

In Sri Lanka we have many dogs. Where we Kitesurf you can see them chasing after the riders or just frequenting hotels in search for food. 
.
There is no system to sterilize them to control the population. Many will be killed or severely beaten in a way to ward them. 
.
Crackers was a dog now cared for. Running a hotel, I was in no position to adopt her. She had a nice temperament. 
.
We search for an organization to try find a solution. It was thanks to KSL guest Marcel and Christel who really pushed us to look for something for her. Then came Natalia who was able to work with the Hope Foundation and finally rescue Crackers!
.
See the story;



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Julian Bolling's Interview - He also Kitesurfs

Hero. He also Kitesurf's. My best friend was the son of a ‘bothal paththarakaraya’ Julian Bolling by Mevan Peiris Julian Bolling –Sri Lankas highest achieving, most decorated and might we add most celebrated albeit his achievement being swept through the tides of time- as is the norm, individual sportsman, believes that , , the country is drowning rather than swimming its way to success in sport. Bolling certainly needs no introduction. The only Sri Lankan to participate in three consecutive Olympic Games (Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992) he has most definitely surpassed any athlete in Sri Lankan history. 
.
 “I openly say this – we’re trying to host the Asian Youth Games with a budget of USD 300 million and we’re trying to bid for the Commonwealth Games. But last year the Sri Lankan swimmers and water polo players were the only teams in all of Asia to pay for their own tickets to participate at the Asian Championships. Don’t you see that there’s something wrong here?” The lack of proper support and infrastructure for local athletes together with the lack of development programmes for athletes out of Colombo is another problem that needs to be addressed, he said. He points out that there is no hostel built for athletes to stay in when they come to Colombo for meets. “Our local coaches are not recognized and trained, our top athletes lack the necessary investment and athletes at the grass-root level have to stay in temples or vacant school classrooms when they come to Colombo. We’re just going in the wrong direction”. To achieve better results, more has to be spent on the athlete and less on ceremonial procedures, he said. “Next year, the athletes who had to scrape the barrel in order to fund themselves will not participate. This has resulted in our national team having the highest turnover rate (80 percent)! No sport in the world can give you results under these circumstances. I mean take cricket for example – can you produce a Jayasuriya every four years?” The man that is BolLing Born into a family very much into sports, Bolling is the son of the Tara Bolling, swimming star of the 50’s and grandson of F.C. De Saram, who apart from being a prominent politician was also a national cricket captain and a coach to both Royal College and S. Thomas’ College. “I grew up in a competitive sporting family atmosphere” says Julian and adds that competition did not always mean ‘win at any cost’. 
.
 Coming from a family of both Royalists and Thomians, he recalls when school rivalry was at a fever pitch within the family. “My grandfather played cricket for Royal and coached there as well, but his last coaching stint was at St. Thomas where he also enrolled his son.” The story goes that when Dijan De Saram (F.C.’s son) came out to bat for St. Thomas’ College during a big match, the Royalists managed to get him out in the very first ball. Ironically, his father was the coach for Royal College at the time. “F.C. De Saram was a character of his own and I would say that he was a combined representative of both schools,” says Julian when speaking about his grandfather. Julian’s own father Ralph Bolling, a planter by profession, played cricket for St. Joseph’s College in 1952. “We didn’t see much of our dad as he was at the estates. My mom was the breadwinner of the family. She was a swimming coach and she introduced me to swimming. It was always a part of our lives since we were children but it was not something that was forced on us.” he said. Julian explains how different the relationship with his father was. “I came home after a meet one day. I had broken 11 national records that day and my dad only got to know when he got home. He took me on his motorcycle (which was a treat in itself) to Raheema’s, which was our ‘spot’ back in the day, and bought me a Necto! Treats didn’t come too often for us, and for me, that was probably the best treat I have had during my childhood.” he recalls. 
.
 The Bolling household, Julian says never overly celebrates success or achievement. The best example would be of Julian’s mother, when she was the defending champion of the two-mile sea swim. Tara had to go for her event in Mount Lavinia alone and bring the trophy she won in the bus because Mr. and Mrs. De Saram did not agree on her swimming outfit! Julian vividly remembers the 1979 Indo-Sri Lanka – Bangladesh Triangular meet as all three Bolling brothers represented the country that year. David (Julian’s second brother) and Julian took part in the same event – the 1500m Free Style, where David won gold and Julian took the silver. “David was a super swimmer but he preferred long distance. He also had a few shoulder injuries quite early in his career and he prematurely gave up competitive swimming.” Julian says. Julian’s early mentors were his mother, as she was a swimming coach, and Mr. E.G.A. Wilson whom he describes as “the man who made it all happen for me”. Wilson gave Julian a reason and the passion to swim. “There are two key roles in any sport at school level, the coach and the master in charge. It is for this reason I would like to thank Mr. Mohammed and Mr. Wilson.” As he sees it today The interest in competitive swimming, Julian says, has clearly increased in Sri Lanka. The schools meet in 2013 will feature over 3,800 swimmers whereas in Julian’s time there would have been a total of 600 competitive swimmers in the entire country. “In our time you could count the number of pools we had. However with time, especially in the 90’s where there was a ‘craze for pools’ and increase in investment, we now have sufficient infrastructure. What we don’t have are enough coaches. 
.
Royal was struggling for a while and I know the Thomians are struggling right now, but the bottom line is that we just don’t have enough coaches”. Since more students opt to learn to swim and not engage in competitive swimming, the demand for ‘learn to swim’ coaches have increased when compared to those specializing in competitive swimming, which has reduced the number of coaches. This however is not the only issue. Parents and coaches are guilty of excessive enthusiasm, which sometimes pushes the child beyond his or her limit. “It is the same for sports or studies, you overdo something and you’re going to get fed up. The main thing is to keep the candle burning,” Julian said. In this light Julian fully supports the decision by the Education Ministry to only give out certificates of qualification to swimmers in the Under 9, 11 and 13 categories once they complete their event within a pre specified time frame rather than awarding medals. 
.
 Not only a swimmer Julian Bolling is not just a superstar swimmer and coach, he is also a very passionate and cause driven individual who actively supports charity. One such prominent endeavour is the ‘Swim Lanka’ project. Sparked off by the combined interest of two British expatriates in Sri Lanka – Tony and Petronella Ballard right after the tsunami in 2004, Swim Lanka is a project which conducts learn to swim sessions for kids along the coastal areas. The project is not only a response to the observation that many people could have survived had they known to swim, it is also a mechanism to address and reduce the trauma of youngsters who were affected by it. “The best way to deal with the trauma is to go back to the roots of the tragedy which is the ocean. Therefore, I suggested that we make a small pool on the beach and do some learn to swim classes. We started this off in Tangalle and initially the kids showed a lot of fear, of the beach and the sea, but at the end of the five weeks, we felt their body language was saying ‘Hey we’re back home!’” This propelled over 30 similar pools being set up around the coastal belt and more learn to swim classes. “We couldn’t make swimmers out of them, but I’m quite certain that we got rid of their fear and trauma.” A devout Christian, Julian is also involved in several evangelical movements. ‘Sportsmen in Action’, an international Christian sports organisation, is another organization he supports. 
.
Following his parents’ footsteps, Julian is involved in many of the organization’s activities in Sri Lanka. Better times Julian doesn’t recall any hurdles on his path to the top of the country’s sporting sphere, except for an incident in 1992. During a tea party organised prior to the Olympic team’s departure that year, Sports Minister at the time, Nanda Mathew, announced that Julian Bolling will be the Captain of the Sri Lankan Olympic contingent to Barcelona. However, the papers next day carried that R. Karunananda was the captain. “This was surprising because it was my third consecutive Olympic games while the other athletes were participating for the first or second time. However, we decided not to protest or make a fuss about it and I just went to the Olympics.” Reminiscing his days at Royal College Julian says the most important feature was the cross section of different cultures and social backgrounds at the school. “My best friend in school was a guy called Ameen and his father used to be what we refer to as a bothal-paththara collector - he collected paper from the dustbins for a living. So where you came from was never an issue.” Recalling the ’83 riots, which occurred when he was in school, Julian says that most of his Tamil friends never returned to College. Representing your country at three Olympic Games is an enormous feat for any athlete in the world and the experience he gained plays a significant part in his life, today. However, Julian says that it is an incident that occurred when he took an athlete to the Paralympics in Sydney 2000, which will forever be ingrained in his memory. “I had the privilege of coaching him and accompanying him to the games, we missed out on a medal and he was placed fourth.” The incident occurred while they were travelling in the shuttle service within the Olympic City. “While going for the meet our guys were singing in the bus. No one else did that but I guess we were too crazy. On the way back however I remember the Chinese blind athletes also joined in with a song of their own and then this little Indian girl who was also a blind swimmer did a wonderful solo of a Hindi song! I seriously had goose bumps; no medal will ever give you that satisfaction”. “To me the Paralympics was a greater experience than the Olympics.” 
.
 Words of Advice: “Don’t look to man, men can disappoint you. Enjoy what you do. Appreciate competition – this is very important, if there are no other swimmers on the block you can’t swim your best.” Role Model in life: “Jesus is the ideal role model for me. He put others before himself. As a human being, this has a great impact on me.” Favourite Quotes: “If you want to go fast, go alone... If you want to go far, go together.” Your life theory: “I try to put God first, others second and then myself although sometimes I end up doing it the other way round. Life is going to be short lived and we must have a story to tell. It’s also about running with the baton and handing the baton to your successor, in whatever you do you must train the next in line to be better than you” 
.
Endorsement for the magazine: “I’m glad that you’re going down a path to try and capture those priceless stories in the Royal Thomian world. If you guys don’t do this a lot of it is going to be buried. Old boys of both schools need to be behind the two schools and support them to try and give the kids at College the same experience that you had or have an even better experience. I think this magazine can help to inspire people to do that and also to keep us in touch. Wish you all the best!”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CASE STUDY: Zero to Hero (CASEY ENGLAND)


On my travels of Europe I saw many things, but one that kept getting my attention and that of my partner Scott, was seeing people in the sea with a kite strapped to their waist and a board at their feet gliding through the water with ease. It looked difficult but so much fun…so when we were looking together for other places to travel, he mentioned this to me again, and i was happy to go along with him. When we came across a website offering to teach this sport on the island of Sri Lanka, he looked so excited, we had to give it a try. . When we arrived we met Dilsiri, a man who spoke of kite surfing with such passion, he excited me. This man was so much in love with the sport, he put the rush before important events in his life, including a wedding and a funeral, this was what he wanted to share with us, his commitment to it and his broad smile as he described the feeling of flying above the lagoon was statement enough of his love for the sport. He had found his calling in life, he was living his dream and he wanted to share it with us. He explained that this sport will ruin our lives, because once you try it, there’s no going back, its like a drug and you always want more. He promised us from our zero experience he could turn us into champions, and I believed him. . So we watched as the pro’s took to the water, they made it look so easy and exciting, we were eager to have a go. The first few days we learned on a training kite, both of us nervous, but our instructor Mischi Walter, a kite surfing pro! The first instructor in Sri lanka with 14 years experience was so patient and encouraging, he had total belief in us, he taught us the set up, kite control, safety, body dragging, up wind body dragging, (which I learned the hard way, by the way, quite an experience being dragged backwards up the lagoon at greed speed, out of control, passing the pro’s tutting at me and then the walk of shame back again, but that’s another story) with a 12 square meter kite we started to learn, I wont lie to you, it wasn’t easy, falling in, getting back up, over and over again. Your whole body aching in pain, but each time I faltered, I was picked up and convinced to keep going. Scott took to it like a duck to water and put me to shame, he was trying out new moves with such confidence. But with the help and encouragement of Dilsiri, Mischi and Scott (and hearing tips from others passing through) simple correction of my posture and I was off! . Before one week was through, they had me up on that board and even had me switching and turning with easy relaxed movements. I finally saw first hand what these guys were talking about. I found myself flying, gliding, having the courage to try jumps. So relaxed in the water I was singing out loud, and even let out the odd ‘woohoo!’ as I began to master it. With in two weeks, I was inspired by them, i put all my fears to one side and put my trust in them fully. Scott was so encouraging, he desperately wanted me to try, none of them let me down, with constant encouragement and praise. . I know now in such a short time what these kiters are so excited about, it’s the most exhilarating, breath-taking, exciting form of sport and i was hooked. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn, it really is the most incredible feeling to let yourself go and become one with the kits and the wind. . The buzz doesn’t stop there, it carries on even out of the water as we sat by camp fires sharing their stories and the places they’ve been, the way they describe there experiences and how they feel up in the air, just captivates you. They all speak with such passion and drive, with the biggest smiles on their faces as they recall there experiences, it’s truly inspirational.and all speak of this place here, Kitesurfing-Lanka being the best ‘playground’ of all. I feel extremely lucky to have shared this and learn from such lovely people, its hard not to love the sport being here.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Up in the air

Kalpitiya has drawn all manner of visitors to its pristine coast and quaint center throughout its vibrant history. Today, the large battalion of kitesurfers who frequently assemble here from a multitude of nations are as normal as the strong wind which intermittently, yet briefly, lifts them from a graceful glide along the water’s surface and releases them into the vastness of thin air.

On the day we arrive there are roughly 10 of them gathered at the central kitesurfing spot on the lagoon. With an eclectic blend of accents to match their multi-coloured kites, each of them is either engrossed in their spray-filled ride or making preparations for it. This particular group is attached to Kitesurfing Lanka, which is run jointly by Dilsiri Welikala and French national Leo Moret. Dilsiri was ensnared by Kalpitiya’s winds back in 2007 and since then has been a passionate proponent for both the sport and the region.

“Back then it was a weekend thing, there was no real industry. There were people testing kites when I came in but in terms of locals, I can say that I was probably one of the first to come in,” Dilsiri explains. In fact Dilsiri was so certain the sport would flourish that he left his job and came down to Kalpitiya, helping co-found Kitesurfing Lanka, which accommodates and offers lessons to those who wish to embrace the sport.

“We can do well at major competitions because kitesurfing is a lot about skill, and we can develop that with the conditions we have here,” he says.
Mischi Walter from Switzerland is the man who taught Dilsiri most of what he knows about the sport. Out of the group gathered near the water, Mischi is undisputedly the most laid-back. But then without a moment’s notice, “No, No, it doesn’t work that way,” he shouts jovially to a kitesurfer in a way that makes him seem strangely like a Sacha Baron Cohen caricature.

That sudden interruption during our interview best reflects the comical and stark contrast between Mischi’s generally easygoing nature and steadfast commitment toward kitesurfing. A Slovenian from Mischi’s coterie on the beach (who unsurprisingly adopted a Swahili name about the wind) told me that during the war, the Swiss national would be steering his kite across the water when mystified rebels would open fire in his general direction.

I never got the opportunity to verify these stories but watching Mischi go about his business, such tales are hard to debunk. He says that he first came to Kalpitiya in 2006 to visit family friends and was then smitten by the area’s perfect kite surfing conditions. From that point he has become somewhat of a permanent fixture at Kalpitiya and is credited with introducing the sport to a raft of eager students from across the globe.

Dilsiri says that Mischi and he are trying to organise the sport in the area as often people will just stray on to the beach and lagoon without proper approval or guidance and just start sailing with their kites. The sport is also giving back to the community. Previously, the monsoon season left Kalpitiya’s fishing community grounded without a continuous source of income. But with the arrival of kitesurfing to the region, locals are now drawing revenue off the sport by offering boat and rescue services. This symbiosis mirrors the relationship which exists between kite surfers and the wind which fuels their motion. And if it follows a similar course, then the surrounding community and the sport are sure to rise as spectacularly as kite surfing’s fun-loving and diverse practitioners. For more information log on to https://www.facebook.com/KitesurfingSriLanka



Up in the air

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Casey & Scot Zero to Hero Experience in Sri Lanka

I came to sri lanka in December a newbie to the kitesurfing scene and started to learn on boxing day, at first I was nervous starting a new sport but so excited at the same time,  with Dilsiri, Mishi and Miram input and intense lessons I was up on the board on my third day, I had all there best tips and they have pushed me since the day I have got here! With the great conditions of wind 6 days out of 7 and  huge flat lagoon that's not overcrowded I have progressed each day. On day 5 I learnt the technique of riding upwind and downwind correctly  by carving my board  to the direction I want to go and having the right body position.  Day 8 I learnt 2 different ways of turning which made my experience so much better, I was then able to keep riding all day without falling in the water time after time.  I was then on day 10 riding toe side  and by day 16 I am now starting jumping!! Thank Dilsiri for truly giving me the kitesurfing bug I eat sleep and breath kiting! I will be back very soon!




Friday, January 31, 2014

Kitesurfing in the North East Monsoon

Sri Lanka is the windiest place in the world. We now have wind even from December until end February. February continues to be my favourite time of year for kiting. Dolphins, Diving in the morning, a bit of Kayaking and SUP and then KITE KITE KITE to an amazing sun downer.