Surfingin Sri Lanka
With perfect tropical beaches for fun in the sun, the island of Sri Lanka has become a hotspot for travellers looking to experience some exhilarating water sports. Surfing in Sri Lanka is just one of those popular experiences, since the beaches in the country offer environments that suit all levels of surfers.
The pristine strips of beach located in the Southwestern, Southern and Eastern coasts are known to be the more popular destinations for surfing in Sri Lanka. The difficulty of the waves, however, do vary in certain hamlets. The Southwestern and Southern coastal towns of Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatuna, Ahangama and Hikkaduwa are ideal for the beginner, as the waves often break in the shallow sands. However, the Eastern coast, namely Arugam Bay, is better suited for intermediate or professional surfers, since the swells are much larger and break at the coral reefs.
TYPES OF SURF BREAKS
Sri Lanka is a great place for surfers ranging from beginner to advanced. You will find sand bottom points, beach breaks, reef breaks and much more on the island. Many of these breaks are rather user-friendly, making it the perfect destination for those who are just beginning their surf journey.
SURFING SEASONS IN SRI LANKA
The ideal season for surfing varies according to destination, due to the changes in tide. The Southwestern and Southern coastal beaches are ideal for surfing between November and April. The East coast season for surfing runs from May to October.
THE BEST TIME FOR SURFING IN SRI LANKA
November to April – Surfing in the Southern Coast
The Southern coast of Sri Lanka is easily the place to be, if you are looking to catch some great waves. The best part is that the activity is not centred in one town, which makes it accessible to many. Whether you are a total beginner or a pro looking for a challenge, there is always a place for you in the region.
Hikkaduwa is just one of the places in the South where you can have a good surf experience, in addition to a great overall beach experience. You don’t have to be a professional or an advanced surfer, as many reef breaks here cater to surfers of all skills.
Where to go for Surfing in Hikkaduwa
The most notable spots for surfing here are Benny’s, the Main Reef, and the North Jetty. All are easily accessible and don’t require great skill on the board. If you are a beginner and looking for some assistance, the surf shops and surf schools along the coast in Hikkaduwa offer lessons and board rentals.
Situated close to the heritage city of Galle, Unawatuna has become a go-to destination for thrill-seeking travellers who want to make the most of their beach experience.
What makes Unawatuna perfect for surfing are the many surf spots that are just perfect for all levels of surfers during the season. It is the ideal location for the beginner surfer, although there are a few places that do require some skill.
Where to go for Surfing in Unawatuna
Some of the popular surf spots in Unawatuna are the Unawatuna Beach Break, the Dalawella Reef, Bonavista Bay, and the Kabalana Beach Break.
Further south of Unawatuna is the beach town of Weligama. It is a stark contrast to Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa, as it is rather laid-back. Surfing happens to be one of the more popular water sports in Weligama, since the conditions are ideal for the beginner surfer.
The waves here are small and harmless compared to other popular surfing spots, as the tides are predictable, and the short waves always collapse at the sand-bottomed shore.
The best part is that you don’t need to have your own board to start your surfing journey. You can easily rent a board from one of the stalls at the shoreline. If you want, you can get a crash course on surfing from an instructor too.
Where to go for Surfing in Weligama
Some of the well-known surf spots are the Weligama Beach Break, Midigama, and Gurubebila (Coconut Point and Plantation Point).
Mirissa has quickly become one of the must-visit beach destinations for tourists, especially those who are enthusiastic about surfing. The sand-bottomed wave breaks are safe for the beginner and allow intermediate surfers to hone their skills. The ideal times to experience the waves are in the early morning and the late afternoon.
Where to go for Surfing in Mirissa
The best surf spots here are the Point Reef Break and the Main Beach Break. If you are an intermediate level surfer, there is a good chance you could enter yourself in a competition too. Surfboards can easily be rented. Moreover, you can hire a surf instructor to teach you the basics of the sport.
May to October – Surfing in the Eastern Coast
The surfing season in the Southern coast does not last all year long. Fret not, the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka is a great alternative!
Arugam Bay is a historic settlement that is now dominated by surf tourism. The curvature of the bay, combined with the tides and the reefs, make it perfect to ride 2-metre-high waves out in the bay area. Several international surfing competitions are hosted here, which means it is more suited for advanced surfers.
The ideal time to go surfing during the season is in the morning period, as the wind generally swings on-shore after about noon during this season.
Assuming that you are a pro surfer, you most probably have your own board, however, if you do not, you can easily rent or buy one here. Don’t worry surf lessons can be arranged as well, if you are still in the early stages of grasping the sport.
Where to go for Surfing in Arugam Bay
The areas that are popular among the surfing community here are the Main Point, Pottuvil Point, and Crocodile Rock.
Engaging in this activity is relatively easy, even if you are a beginner, as equipment and surf locations are easily accessible.
Regardless of wherever you intend to go, the Southern coast or the Eastern coast, always study the weather beforehand, since there is a chance that it can change, even during the season. If you are a beginner, you can easily rent out a surfboard for a nominal fee right by the shore. The cost of renting can differ, however, it would often be charged by the hour. Similarly, the hiring of instructors will cost an additional fee and can differ as well.
Remember to pack all your board shorts and bikinis as the year-round water temperature in Sri Lanka ranges from about 80-84 degrees Fahrenheit (27-29 degrees Celsius). If you intend to make the most of the tropical sunshine, it would be advisable to occasionally wear a rash guard for protection.
❂ Useful Tips
- When renting a board, always make sure the board has a leash and is usable.
- Keep in mind that tides and weather conditions can change without notice, therefore be cautious when going surfing.
- Whether you are a professional, intermediate, or beginner, always follow safety precautions set by the authorities.