Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Kite Gang Talks!

Kite Surfing
.
Keshini Hapugoda might be Sri Lanka’s first female kite surfer. The 28-year-old IT consultant loves to surf and dive, and kite surfing is her latest passion. A few weekends with an instructor in Negombo have helped her learn the basics of kite surfing and while she’s sticking to the shallows now, she’s hoping to head into deeper water soon.
.
Dilsiri Welikala is already comfortable out at sea. “It’s an amazing feeling, harnessing the power of the wind to propel yourself along,” he says. He talks of skimming along the water for hours at a time and of chance encounters with pods of dolphins. Though he needs a little help getting his 10 square metre kite up, once that’s done and the lines and harness are secured, he’s good to go.
.
“Your kite becomes like an airplane wing,” says Dilsiri, explaining that he controls the direction of his kite by changing the angle of his board. Kite surfers are slaves to the winds and will drive many hours to catch the right kind. As a result, this group has been all over the island, from Puttalam to Arugam Bay.
.
Despite the commute, there are few things Julian Bolling enjoys more than kite surfing. The champion swimmer says that after years of tame laps in a pool, he loves the adrenalin rush the sport provides. The forty-three year old bought his first second-hand kite for Rs.10, 000 a few years ago. Today, if you choose to buy instead of rent new equipment, it could leave you poorer by as much as 100,000. Still it seems worth it when you pull off your first “jump”. Recently, with a 25 knot wind filling his kite, Julian jumped a few feet in the air himself.
.
Dilsiri who has jumped as high as 20 feet describes the sensation as akin to flying. But emphasis on safety is a must. Tangled lines and strong currents have claimed the lives of several enthusiasts over the years. “You need to take precautions,” says Keshini emphatically. Their group, around 20 people strong and from many different nationalities is one of the big draws for Keshini – she says she’s come to rely on the friendly tips and enthusiastic cheering every time she clambers onto her board.
.
Find out more at www.kitesurfsrilanka.blogspot.com
.

3 comments:

Kirigalpoththa said...

Agree - safety is a must!

Anonymous said...

It's weird the way you write about yourself as if you were not Dilsiri.

Dilsiri Welikala said...

Haha anonymous, its was Smriti who wrote the article. Do I sense a touch of j here :) awwwwwwwwwww