A Guide to the Best Water Sports in Sri Lanka

Surfing in Midigama | Courtesy of Surf South Sri Lanka
Surfing in Midigama | Courtesy of Surf South Sri Lanka
Photo of Orana Velarde
Sri Lanka Hub Writer19 January 2018

Since Sri Lanka is an island, it’s no stranger to water sports. Visitors can get a sense of adventure at both the ocean and inland on rivers and waterfalls. Water sport lovers can explore sunken ships surrounded by coral and tropical fish or surf over waves with a kite. There are different seasons in all parts of the island, creating special spots for sports in specific locations. The west is great for kitesurfing while the south is ideal for surfing. Keep reading to discover the amazing array of water sports in Sri Lanka.

Scuba diving

There are great spots for scuba diving all around the island. With a range of natural reefs and sunken ships, there are options for all levels of divers. From dive stations that provide easy dives to others that offer full PADI certifications, there is a lot to choose from. The most famous area for diving is in the south, in Hikkaduwa. Two additional popular favourites include Bulldog Reef in Kalpitiya and Gorgonian Gardens in Colombo. Contact Poseidon Diving for more information regarding the best time of year for each dive site and to organize a diving excursion.

Scuba diving in Sri Lanka / Courtesy of Poseidon Diving


Surfers love Sri Lanka for its long waves that hit against its western and southern shores. The Indian Ocean offers great waves along Sri Lanka’s shores for surfers that enjoy relaxing and having fun. Swells grow as high as eight feet in high season and areas, such as Hikkaduwa, never really flatten out. There are waves to be surfed any time of year in Sri Lanka. Newbies of all ages can learn at the lowest swells with fun boards and have a great time! Surf South Sri Lanka is your best bet when coming to the island for some waves.


Kitesurfing is the kind of sport you need to try. If you are a seasoned kitesurfer and travel with your gear, there are a few places where to catch the wind and fly. If you are still a beginner and want to learn more while in Sri Lanka, then your best bet is with Kitesurfing Lanka in Kalpitiya. Their team has IKO certified instructors that will not only make sure you are learning safely but will also rent the equipment for you. They also offer a week-long kitesurfing cruise, which sounds like paradise for kitesurf lovers.

Kitesurfing in Kalpitiya | Courtesy of Surf South Sri Lanka


There is no shortage of rivers, lakes and rainwater tanks in Sri Lanka. All of these are perfectly safe and fun for kayaking! Paddle down a river and see wildlife along the shore, explore rainwater tanks and maybe meet a wild elephant. The Kalu Ganga is a great option for kayakers as they can paddle downriver seeing the change in flora and fauna as the river nears the ocean.

Kayaking down the Kalu Ganga | Courtesy of Sri Lanka Expeditions

Whitewater rafting

The best river for whitewater rafting is the Kelani River. The section of the river that makes for great rapids is five kilometres long and has about five major and four minor rapids. Anyone over 10 years old can whitewater raft with the proper safety equipment and with a professional experienced team of river guides.

Whitewater rafting in the Sri Lankan hill country | Courtesy of Kitulgala Adventures


Another interesting water sport that you can try in Sri Lanka is canyoning, which includes confidence jumps and stream slides. This includes a team of professionals that tell you when it’s safe to go while providing you with the right equipment. Canyoning can be lots of fun if done right.

Water stream sliding | Courtesy of Kitulgala Adventures

River expeditions

Apart from kayaking whitewater rafting, confidence jumps and stream slides, visitors can go on a river expedition. These are two to three-day adventures by boat along the river and camping riverside. There is no better way to experience Sri Lankan wildlife than on a river cruise. The boat doesn’t make any noise, unlike a jeep, and you can truly immerse yourself in the surroundings. Contact Kitulgala Adventures for more information about river expeditions.

River expeditions in Sri Lanka | Courtesy of Kitulgala Adventures

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