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Surfing | © Shalom Jacobovitz / WikiCommons
Surfing | © Shalom Jacobovitz / WikiCommons

The Top Tips for Planning the Perfect Surfing Holiday to Sri Lanka

Picture of Jayani Senanayake
Updated: 24 April 2017

A tiny island surrounded by the ocean, Sri Lanka is home to many beaches. With sun-kissed shores bordered by turquoise waters, the island is no doubt a surfer’s paradise. However, before planning a surf trip to Sri Lanka, there are certain things that every surfer should know.

When to go

The best thing about Sri Lanka is that there isn’t really an “off season.” Arugam Bay on the east coast is ideal for surfing from May through September, while Hikkaduwa on the south coast has some good waves from November through April. In between these two seasons, surfers can find waves almost anywhere if they are attentive and willing to listen to the knowledge of a local or two.

Anyone can surf here

Sri Lanka has many places where adventure seekers can surf, making it an ideal location for both novices and professionals. If you are completely new to surfing, Weligama is the place to go. It is a safe spot with a beach break that serves as an ideal training space, and the best time to visit is from October to early April. Keep in mind that when renting a longboard—the longer, the better! Also, not many places rent longboards, so when you find one, be sure to grab it.

Unawatuna is all sand and rock and is a popular place that is great for skillful surfers. Devil Rock and Kingfisher are also highly recommended for those surfers who have some experience.

Now, if you are looking for somewhere that both beginners and those with experience can enjoy, Arugam Bay is one option—it is a point break right; the nearby Whisky Point and Elephant Rock also have similar types of breaks and are safe enough even for beginners to try. Arugam Bay is also a spot where numerous surf contests take place, so it tends to get a little crowded during certain times of the year.

Hikkaduwa and Mirissa offer reef breaks, but they are also popular with newbies and professionals alike. Hikkaduwa is at the very heart of the surfing community on the south coast and is a wonderful place to hang out if you are looking for a beach holiday.

How to avoid the crowds

Who says you have to share the water with 70 other people? Sri Lanka is full of secret spots where a surfer can practice their sport in peace, so do some research and find out which places work best for you. Another tip to avoid the crowds is for you to come to the island between November and April when there are fewer people. Head for the south where you can experience three- to five-foot waves during this time. Even if the ocean is calm (which is very rare), you will find plenty of other things to do in the area!

Get around Sri Lanka on a budget

The best way to save some money during your surfing trip to Sri Lanka is to seek accommodation in crowded places like Mirissa and Hikkaduwa, which offer lodging options close to surfing spots. This way, you can completely avoid the hassle of transport while also making some new friends along the way.

For traveling small distances, the versatile Sri Lankan tuk-tuk can be a lifesaver.

Where to stay

Sri Lanka has many accommodation options to choose from, both in and around the surfing areas, with prices ranging from $10 to $200 per night; it just depends on what you are looking for in terms of accommodation. Whether you are simply searching for a place to crash for the night or seeking the complete royal treatment of indulgent spa sessions and plenty of pampering, the options are many.

If you are traveling on a budget and are heading toward Arugam Bay, Ranga’s Beach Hut is an excellent choice. If you are looking for a more family-friendly mid-range hotel, Gloria Grand in Unawatuna is an ideal spot. Do you want to get preened and pampered? Head south, and consider Amangalla, located within the Galle Dutch Fort, for a truly luxurious experience by the sea.

What to bring

Some good sunscreen, a standard board, first aid kit, disinfectants, Band-Aids®, antibiotics and a good mosquito repellent should be on your list of things to bring. Also, bring along some Vitamin C, which is great against infections, and calcium and magnesium to keep your spirit up while surfing.

All set? Let’s go surfing!