Donated surfboards finally reach surfers in Sri Lanka

The Arugam BaySurfers

Paddle4Relief (P4R) Founder, Tim Tanton, with the help of representatives from both Arugam Bay Surf Club and West Coast Surf Club, have finally managed to get the donated shipment of surfboards cleared from Sri Lankan Customs!
The 36 boards were sent out by the Braunton charity in February, but were delayed at customs. Tim, was in Sri Lanka for a prolonged period of three months trying to free the shipment from the countrya??s border, which he said only seemed possible through financial contributions.
a??It was a very stressful time because being a charity we run on minimal costs and in the end it led to me paying A?750 out of my own pocket.a??
Quite an expensive donation but well worth it when one sees the joy of the youngsters as their eyes light up and they have the chance to learn to surf.The boards are crucial to Sri Lankan surfing communities to give talented surfers the opportunity to improve and for the the little ones to learn. The majority of the surfboards have now been distributed around the island. More will be handed out on Tima??s next visit to a few more obscure places that he was unable to get to this time.
The trip has been exhausting and traumatic. Emotions have run high, and tears have been shed. Frustration has been evident, both from Tim, himself, and the surfers of Sri Lanka. They have been upset that their fellow countrymen have caused so much disruption both through bureaucratic nonsense, corruption and jealousy.
What one could describe as a nightmare, it has been a success. One can see from the photos, whether it is Geeva, a young female Sri Lankan teenager learning to surf, or Asanka, Sri Lankaa??s Number one surfer, or Chumphikha who doesna??t surf but enjoys the vibe, that all the blood, sweat and tears are worth it.

Geeva . . . . . loves learning to surf

Tim said that developing the deprived countrya??s natural asset of great surfing conditions is an obvious way of building a sustainable economy for those providing surfing lessons and equipment hire.
The surfers in Arugam Bay are now able to use the soft top surfboards to run surf lessons for both tourists and for the younger children in the community. This enables them to earn a salary and to give back something to their community. They are now fortunate to have an office to use as a base, and where they can take bookings for lessons, store surfboards and inform tourists of where and when to surf.

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Chumphikha . . . . . . loves the vibe

We, Paddle4Relief, have been instrumental in empowering the young surfers of Arugam Bay to realise the potential of their sport and in taking responsibility for their environment, their playground. They have previously realised the need to carry out Beach Cleans, and they are presently involved in establishing a working committee with other organisations and officers within the community to develop a sustainable programme where they can protect their environment.

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Asanka . . . . . Sri Lanka's Number 1 surfer

The support from the North Devon Community, the Sri Lanka Surfing Community, Christian Surfers UK, Surf Relief UK, Tiki Surf International, Fluid Juice, Constantine Surf, Croyde Surf Life Saving Club and the team of friends that support Tim at Paddle4Relief have made this possible. Special thanks must go to Phil Williams of Christian Surfers UK for his continued committment to the surfers in Sri Lanka and his ability to provide both spiritual and financial support.
It is still hard to put the experience into words. Tim explained that he been at a very low ebb on number of occasions throughout the episode and yet he says
a??there is the enormous satisfaction that we stuck by our committment and came out the other sidea??
Realisation is that it did cost a lot more money than expected. Money that the charity, P4R, didna??t have. So somehow P4R need to raise more at this years event in August to rebalance the accounts. It has taken a lot of energy but it has brought something to others that money cannot buy . . . . . . . . . it has given them opportunity, hope, enjoyment and realisation that they are not alone. That complete strangers from around the world, care, care enough to help, to sacrifice, and hopefully this humanity will continue with them, through their lives.

The Arugam Bay Surf Club & their own office

Now the focus is on getting a Surf Instructor out to Sri Lanka to enable the young surfers to gain a recognised Surf Instructors Qualification.
The quest is never ending it seems. So the plan is to recharge the batteries and gather everyone together to continue the quest.
So, if anyone, or any business, would like to help in any way what so ever then please contact
Or, if there is a qualified Surf Instructor that can head out to Sri Lanka and train the young surfers to achieve a recognised Surf Instructors Qualification then please contact Tim. There is funding for a flight ticket, transfers, accommodation and possibly meals for such a person.
We desperately need funding for this years event on Sunday August 21st. We need sponsors for the event t-shirts and hoodies. We are also looking for prizes for the Paddle Race and Fancy Dress Surf Competition, let alone the raffle and tombola.
Many thanks again to all those that have supported and continue to support P4R.

Entry Filed under: 2011 P4R, Arugam Bay Surf Club, Sri Lanka 2011


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