Growing up around Kitulgala, Sameera was no stranger to the adventures that are connected to the famous river. From a young age, Sameera and his brother Ravi took to exploring the wild rapids of the river whenever they had free time. But what started out as childhood curiosity and a hobby soon became a passion as they discovered a new and extreme way to conquer the rapids: riverboarding.
One day, I saw a video of this guy jumping down a waterfall into the rapids and then swimming forward with a board underneath. I’d never seen anything like that before and the extremeness of diving face first into roaring rapids was what first caught my attention. The more I got to know about the sport and the strength it takes to battle through rapids with a board, I was hooked. The guy in the video is a Chilean boarder named Jose, who I always give thanks to as my inspiration, and who has become a good friend over time.
It’s not exactly rocket science – but I would say that you need a lot of courage if you’re going to do this sport. Falling face first intro rapids, with just the board to support you is not easy. It’s dangerous and scary at first but that’s a big part of the thrill as well. And you must have a good knowledge and understanding of the river you’re going into; how the rapids and the currents work. The sudden flips can be scary and you have to be prepared to hold on to the board and get back on it. Unlike rafting, which is a team sport, here you’re by yourself and you have to be able to manage anything that comes your way.