What is skateboarding like in a Third World country that is only known for its top surfing spots?
Hi Luenzo. I just watched ‘The reality of our Life’ on your youtube channel. The video is very well done. Also, you seem to be a keen Mountain Bike rider too.
Yes, I was mountain bike rider and doing stunts around Srilanka also we do have a team for this.
What is your relationship with skateboard?
I think that every skater in Srilanka has other relationships with the board. Some of them are just skaters. Some are also surfers. We are from the south coast, so most of us are into surfing too.
There is very little information I was able to find about Skateboarding in Sri Lanka. When did it all start?
Actually, I cannot say exactly when it was started. But our team SOD started beginning of 2014.
I came across a park in a tiny fisher village called Midigama where Belgium and Brazilian surf tourists initated, funded and built it in 2014. Are there any other official spots available in the meantime?
Yeah. Apart from Midigama bowl. There are few places now like the one in Hiriketiya called verse collective, in Galle which is tiny ramp outside Shack Beach Café. Also, there is a ramp in Waligama called Soul Temple.
The mini ramp at Verse collective has tree sticking out. This must be one sacred tree.
You can call it sacred tree coz it’s unique for kind of place. They build it and did not want to cut it off.
‘First of all, there are not good places to skate and people can’t find the skate equipment around the island even if we had lots of money.’
How big is the skate community in Sri Lanka?
Literally, there are not so big communities in Srilanka. We know few groups in south and west but they are small.
You are part of ‘SkatersOnDown’ Insta. What are your trying to achieve?
We are trying to build up skate community for the future and the next generation. Also, we need to bring skateboarding into the local mentality. The biggest achievement that we had so far is building the first skate school and the biggest skate park in Srilanka, helping the local kids who love and are interested in skateboarding but cannot afford it themselves.
I found another one called ‘SkateSriLanka? What are they up to?
It’s just where you can buy skateboards around Srilanka.
Where can you buy boards? Is there a skateshop?
Only on SkateSrilanka. There are the only ones that sell skateboards on the island. However it is too expensive for local people to afford it.
Are there any local brands within the skate industry?
What are some of the challenges skateboarding faces in Sri Lanka today?
First of all, there are not good places to skate and people can’t find the skate equipment around the island even if we had lots of money.
What are some of the challenges people in Sri Lanka face every day?
The biggest challenge as usual is like in any other Third World Country that is facing economic problems. Also local people’s mindset is that skateboarding is a crazy idea. The new generation badly needs it though, so it is a day by day process.
‘The biggest achievement that we had so far is building the first skate school and the biggest skate park in Srilanka, helping the local kids who love and are interested in skateboarding but cannot afford it themselves.’
Are there sill aftermaths from the civil war that ended 15 years ago or the most recent terrorist attacks?
There are no problems with it whether for skating or generally. It is almost peaceful.
Last question. If you could interview a person, who would it be and why? What would you ask?
The Srilankan president and the sports minister. My questions would be:
1. Why is there no support for skateboarding? Reason?
2. Don’t you think can we make international level out for riders that are born here?
3. Can we have an official skatepark with the maintenance by the government?