Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interviewsonweb

Dilsiri Welikala is one of the top adventure sports persons in Sri Lanka, whose passion for sports has taken him to all corners of the island. Whether water-sporting in the north, east coast, south or west coast, or biking in the mountains, he thrives in the adrenalin rush. Sri Lanka’s first IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) certified instructor and writer to Travel Lanka magazine, Dilsiri spoke of his love for sport and gave advice to avid sportsmen and women.
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What is your passion in life?
Adventure sports, particularly water sports, is my greatest passion. Anything to do with rivers and the sea gives me a great high. I not only kitesurf, dive and surf, but also hit the rivers to kayak and even snorkel in Sinharaja and Kithulgala.
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What made you take up Kitesurfing?
It was a natural progression. I started bodyboarding when in school. Then was introduced to diving the world of extreme sport. When I heard about a kite camp way back in 2008 I collect all the money I had and went for it. I was hooked and life was never the same.
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Where do you Kitesurf and which is your favourite place and why?
I have kitesurfed all over Sri Lanka. It is paradise. We were the first people to kitesurf in Jaffna and quite recently I was the first to kitesurfing on the Adams Bridge in the Palk Strait. Sri Lanka is a special place for the sport, every location I kitesurfed gave me a new thrill, a new experience. Jaffna was pretty raw, Mannar was a discovery, Arugam Bay and Okanda heavenly, the South Coast, Mirissa and even Mount Lavinia and Kalpitiya just breathtaking! Its epic Kiting in Sri Lanka.I have kitesurfed all over Sri Lanka. It is paradise.
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What technicalities should you learn in Kitesurfing? Is it safe?
Kitesurfing is an extreme sport and you must learn through proper certified instructors. The International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) is a world renown organization that offers structures lessons. I would recommend that you learn through IKO accredited instructors. In Sri Lanka there are a few Instructors. I became Sri Lanka’s first IKO instructor and now teach during the weekends.
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Who have you met in your Kitesurfing sessions?
Tons! From countries like the Andaman Islands to Reunion Islands, Japanese Indians to Indo Dutch nationals. Mixed, varied and fun. People who quit their regular jobs to pursue following the wind to those whose entire families are kiting buffs!
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What other sports do you do?
Biking, Surfing, Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Surfing, Bodyboarding, Diving…gone are the days when I played boring sports like Rugby, Hockey and Soccer (smile).
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How do you balance sport, work and personal life?
Working at MAS is pretty cool. The culture supports my way of life. I usually do all the sports during weekends and balance it off quite well. I am a follower of Jesus and have not forgotten the need to have a balance spiritually as well. Sports like surfing and kiting actually help make one more spiritual and you are with nature and closer to creation!
I am now on a mission to use the sport of surfing to change communities for the better. I am working with the local ‘beach boys’ – my brothers in Mount Lavinia and teach them how surfing can be used to generate a good income. If you want to be part of it buzz me.
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How does sport help you in life?
Sports have thought me many things; Leadership, teamwork and understanding team dynamics, working towards a goal, courage, how to celebrate victory and accept defeat and the list goes on.
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Sports also taught me how to change lives. Sports; be it just a simple walk to a hill or a paddle on a boat, opens the eyes of people to the rich world we have around us. Their lives become a bit more colourful.
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What advice do you have for Sri Lankans who wish to do serious sporting as a hobby?
Just go for it. Have a dream and pursue it. However remember in Sri Lanka unless you play cricket, the other sports don’t have it easy even if you go to the highest of levels. So I would recommend that you get qualified in a profession. Do your studies, do your degrees or diploma’s. If you can manage a day job whilst doing sport that’s the best way forward in Sri Lanka. At least until all sports are recognized.
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What advice do you have for visitors to Sri Lanka on sporting holidays?
It’s epic in Sri Lanka. It’s an all year round destination for sports. However remember quality cost money. So don’t sacrifice quality for a few rupees. I think our lives are more important than that.