Lakshitha Madushan, AKA Lucky, is one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet. His big toothy smile warms the soul and his happy-go-lucky take on life is beautifully refreshing.
He is also only 17 and undoubtedly one of the best surfers I’ve seen in the whole country. Not as in good for a Sri Lankan, but really good for a 17 year old, with a style way above his years. I met him alongside his sidekick Savindu and mentor Shaggy, for a little chat about the surf industry in Sri Lanka, or lack thereof.
WL – Hey Lucky, thanks for doing this interview brother. So how long have you been surfing?
L – I’ve been surfing since I was about 8 or 9. Love it ha ha.
WL – Wow that’s young, why did you get into surfing and not fishing like everyone else?
L – There was no people surfing here, just Upul surfing here, every day. Upul and Shaggy are the best surfers here, I wanted to be like Upul so just started surfing Weligama beach every day like him.
WL – Yeah Upul and Shaggy are legends and they rip. You do too, how often do you surf?
L – 3 times a day or something.
WL – 3 times a day, every day, that’s a lot of time in the water, do you do anything else?
L – Cricket. Yeah just surf and play cricket ha ha. Oh and surf guiding for Green Rooms Weligama with Shaggy. Fucking surf guiding ha ha. We start like 6:30, finish guiding, half hour rest, more guiding, half hour rest, you know sometimes 6 times a day.
WL – That’s a lot of work. How much do you get paid for that?
L – I’m just starting so not a lot but Shaggy get’s 50,000, so very good money.
WL – 50,000 a month? (£250) That’s only from November to April though right?
L – Yeah, in the off season I will just surf some waves that only work in big storms. I just check every day and sometimes get it good. Shaggy goes to Arugam to work. Me and Upul just surfing.
WL – Nice lifestyle though mate. What would your dream job be?
L – To be a professional surfer. That is what I want and why I am surfing all day.
WL – Are there any professional surfers in Sri Lanka?
L – Not one.
WL – Why not?
L – No sponsors. No body sponsors Sri Lankan surfers, no surfboards, no boardshorts, no wax, nothing.
WL – So do you rely on gifts of travelers?
L – Yes. Wax costs more than what I get paid for one day. Fucking crazy. Also a lot of Sri Lankan surfers surf like robots you know, blap, blap, blap ha ha. The waves here aren’t very powerful so you have to generate speed and sometimes that can look bad you know, so maybe that’s the reason as well, maybe companies think we are all surfing like robots ha ha ha.
WL – Yeah I know what you mean, but the level of surfing has gone up a lot since I first came here. What actually inspires you to surf?
L – Ahhhh easy, Gabriel Medina. I just watch him all night, so good. Oh and Dane Reynolds. Both the best. I want to surf like them.
WL – That’s cool, so a competition beast and one of the best free-surfers in the world are your inspirations. Do you do competitions yourself?
L – Yes? I’ve done three competitions, came third and second in them. It’s fun.
WL – Nice one, is that the juniors?
L – No this is Open. Men’s open, not too bad. I win the junior competition.
WL – Really?
L – Yes I am the best junior surfer in Sri Lanka but it doesn’t mean anything. I mean, I get surfboards off you, off some guy called Harry Timson who I’ve never met! Who is Harry Timson? I mean thank you Harry, I love your surfboards, very nice Fourth Surfboard right now, Luke Hart 5’8 very good but I’ve never met Harry Timson you know and you come here with his old board or something, I then surf til it’s dead, if I snap I have to wait to go on Rachel’s board, fucking crazy.
WL – Is that common in Sri Lanka then, to share surfboards?
L – Yes, me, Shaggy and Upul are sharing Rachel’s (UK Surf Coach working a season) twin fin right now ha ha ha. Shaped by a guy called Lewis Clinton whoever he is. Nice board mate, you got any more? Ha ha ha.
WL – Ha yeah it is a nice board. So where’s your favourite place to surf in Sri Lanka?
L – Weligama Beach! I’m local.
WL – That’s the most average wave, why do you like it so much?
L – I don’t get to surf the other waves unless I’m guiding or something, no money for tuk tuk you know so I just surf here, or maybe I’m guiding and surf Kabalana or something. Take someone up there and get to surf heavy waves whilst they get smashed ha ha ha. Good guiding yeah ha ha ha.
WL – Ha ha ok mate I’ll try and bring some boards with me until you’re sponsored, but let’s say this dream of become a professional surfer doesn’t work out for you, what else would you like to do?
L – I want to turn my house into like a surf shop and make surfboards! I want to learn how to fix boards, then shape, but you know nobody shapes in Sri Lanka so nobody to teach me. I could be the first one. Lucky Surfboards!
WL – Yes Lucky! That is a great plan let’s do it! Calling all UK shapers, Harty? Lewis? Fancy an apprentice willing to work his ass off, whilst helping shape the Sri Lankan surf industry? Let’s talk! If not Lucky, I’ll bring two of Harry’s boards in November ha ha.
Cheers for your time brother.
L – No worries, let’s go surf. Shotgun Rachel’s board! Ha ha ha.
On a serious note, if there are any shapers out there who would like to take Lucky under their wing, please email Max@tickettoridegroup.com, it would change this kids life and you could help be a part of a much needed surf industry.
If you fancy an authentic Sri Lanka surf trip, check out the Ticket to Ride Trip 2017.