Whether you’re looking for a mellow, longboard wave or a fast, barreling shortboard break, Sri Lanka has something to offer. With its warm waters and consistent waves, it’s no wonder why so many surfers flock to this tropical paradise.
Sri Lanka has become a popular destination for world-class surfers to take a break and catch some waves. Sri Lanka’s surf culture is thriving, with locals and tourists alike taking advantage of the country’s diverse range of waves. It’s also a great place to learn, with plenty of experienced instructors from around the world offering lessons for all levels.
Here are our top pics to catch some iconic waves, and make the most of your holiday
Arugam Bay is the surf town of choice from May to October, as it gets blessed by regular groundswells and sun-filled days. Arugam Bay has developed into a thriving resort town over the years, and is littered with restaurants, cafes, beach bars and lounges.
What to expect: Closest to Arugam Bay town, the waves offer a right-hander cruisy ride of up to 150m (492ft) on the best days. To the south of the town offers surfing for beginners, and even has some great waves for the pros.
Weligama is the ideal surf spot if you’re really keen on learning to surf the right way! Why? Because Weligama is situated on a horseshoe bay that is approximately 4.5 miles long – offering safety and great lapping beach breaks.
What to expect: The centre of Weligama fronts the best waves of all, with good primary and secondary swells. Not to worry though – to keep those lessons exciting keep a watch out for those weather forecasts that read a big period, as we sometimes get 7ft waves down in Weligama!
Plan your surf tour to Mirissa during November and March as it offers some pretty fast right-hander that flow over a shallow rock reef – for advanced surfers. As the waves roll into the fishing breakwater in the next bay, it creates a crumbly left-hander with an easy paddle channel, which is ideal for intermediates and up.
What to expect: Mirissa tends to become pretty crowded during the surf season, with additional tourists visiting for whale and dolphin watching tours and staying for the sun, sand and fun.
Hikkaduwa is one of the most developed of all the surf towns in the south of Sri Lanka that offers breaks for all levels – but is disguised as a party destination known for its plethora of bars, pubs and beach clubs.
What to expect: The bigger swells go up to 10ft, occasionally getting hollow, and offering open faces to carve with turns from bottom to top. There’s also the beach break at Narigama, which is a learner’s paradise.
Unawatuna is a quaint resort town spotted with lovely little coves and sandy stretches. Home to a strip of beach shacks, beach-side bars, and plenty of holiday options set to the backdrop of coconut palms and sun-kissed beaches.
What to expect: Considered a mellow beach that offers surfing for beginners combined with a few faster reefs for intermediaries. Beginner-friendly spots are tucked into the inside of Unawatuna Bay nearer to Galle, with a few reefs and some more exposed stretches of shore to Weligama. As the waves unfold they offer nice rippable point breaks and some enjoyable lefts.
Midigama is littered with palm trees that hang low, lining the beaches that welcome the warm lap of ocean-clear water. Located on the Southwest Coast, Midigama is also famous for its deep-water reef and calm beachside culture.
What to expect: This is the land of right-and-left reef points, and is the home to a rare expert break over unforgiving coral gardens. The deep-water reef with left and right sections, coupled with a tricky paddle out, but a fun shoulder for cutting back and turning; as well as some of the finest longboard waves.
Kabalana Beach had put Ahangama on the map as the go-to for forgiving left and right waves. As you spend more time in Kalabalana, you’ll eventually come across plenty of secret surf spots. Two worth knowing before you head to Kabalana are Marshmallow – a very mellow deep reef for all levels – and Sticks – a more challenging spot for intermediates.
What to expect: For the pros – a steep A-frame wave that’s hollow on big days and sectioned on calmer days, and for the beginners – sand-bottomed beach breaks.
Surfing is the primary draw for many to Pottuvil Point. A great place for sunbathers and those looking for spiritual rejuvenation, you find tourists enjoying the simpler things of life here. There are rocky formations towards the point itself, and the long sandy beach is wonderful for walking and watching sunsets.
Behind the beach is the beautiful Pottuvil Lagoon where you can take a boat ride safari. This area of wetlands and mangroves is home to elephants, crocodiles, water buffalo and a variety of birdlife. You can also visit the Muhudu Maha Vihara Buddhist temple nearby, which dates back over 2,000 years.
What to expect: A long right-hand point break and easier waves than in Arugam Bay.
The southwest coast of the country is the best place to surf from November to April, with Hikkaduwa serving as the primary surf location at this time of year. The best region of the nation from May to October is on the east coast, with Arugam Bay serving as the primary surfing locale.
Every surf town and point has a plethora of surfing schools and individual instructors that hail from Sri Lanka, as well as from around the world. These instructors provide lessons for both experienced and novice surfers, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to learn and enjoy the sport. With their help, visitors can quickly become familiar with the local waves and make the most of their time in the area. Every surf shop and surf schooloffers surfboard rentals.
Choose from international hotel chains that boast luxury and comfort, private luxury boutique escapes, or one of the many hostels that attract tourists from across the globe. Opt for a more budget-friendly trip by booking an Airbnb or guest house run by area locals. Whatever your preference, -Sri Lanka’s beaches offer a plethora of accommodations to choose from.
Experience the beauty and culture of Sri Lanka while you catch some unbelievable waves and paddle out to an incredible sunset. Sri Lanka welcomes you to enjoy the best of island living, from delicious local cuisine to vibrant nightlife, and an immersive cultural experience – make Sri Lanka your surfer’s paradise this season.
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