Kalu Sliders

  • Dhillon Shukla

Along the coastal communities of southern Sri Lanka, there is a fast-growing subculture of surfers who have remained somewhat undiscovered. Capturing the eclectic communities of Weligama Bay and its neighbouring Midigama and Mirissa beaches, this project illustrates how California’s slider culture has reached an unexpected pocket of Asia. Here, inhabitants embrace the archetypal 'surfer's uniform' of Hawaiian shirts and sun-bleached wavy hair. Young couples eschewing city life for a laid back lifestyle, local families spending quality time in the surf, and pre-teens emulating their older peers; these are some of the people who make up the community. For many in this 7-mile stretch, their first memories of the water are the three giant waves which hit during the 2004 tsunami, in which two-thirds of people lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones. 14 years on, these coastal communities have been rebuilt and the inhabitants also continue to repair their relationships with the ocean. Boldly identifying with Western inspirations while embracing their uniqueness, they dub themselves ‘Kalu Sliders’ - Sinhalese for black surfers. As seen on HUCK Magazine.