Frequently asked questions
Why Choose Freedom?
We are really proud and excited to share with you the unique experience of staying and surfing with Freedom. We have created a slice of Sri Lankan life to show you the life we love to live. Being a locally run and owned business we support our local Sri Lankan community with everything that we do from our Surf lessons to our homely Surf Villa, weekly beach clean ups and all other tours and experiences we offer. We pride our Surf Camp experience on being completely flexible with how you want to structure your holiday time so you can surf when you want, eat when you want and sleep when you want - pure Freedom!
What packages do you offer?
SURF COURSE PACKAGE - The Surf Course Package is our most popular package and offers a thorough surfing experience for beginner & intermediate surfers. The course follows a structured teaching programme and our instructors will go into detail about the theory behind catching waves. You will get 2 surf lessons a day that you can either take as 2 separate lessons - 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon (recommended!) or you can choose to combine them and take a 2 hour lesson either morning or afternoon and you can alternate each day. You also get unlimited board hire included so you can practise in between lessons which is key to making maximum progress. Also included is your choice of room and a delicious breakfast.
SURF INTENSE PACKAGE - The Surf Intense Package is for those who want to learn or improve their surfing and make great progress in a short amount of time. For this you will get 2 surf lessons a day that you can either take as 2 separate lessons - 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon (recommended!) or you can choose to combine them and take a 2 hour lesson either morning or afternoon and you can alternate each day. Also included is your choice of room and a delicious breakfast.
SURF RELAX PACKAGE - The Surf Relax Package is for those who want to learn to surf at a slower pace and have time in the day to relax or travel around Weligama and the surrounding areas. For this you will get 1 surf lesson a day at the time you choose, your choice of room and a delicious breakfast.
FAMILY PACKAGE - The Family Package is a great option for families of 3, 4 or 5 who want to provide holiday fun for their children. You can choose 1 or 2 surf lessons a day and stay in our large AC family room that has one Super King sized bed and 1 Double bed, we also have a travel cot and highchair available, delicious breakfast is also available.
All of our packages are suitable for beginner & intermediate surfers and can be tailored to your needs.
You can choose one of our beautiful triple or double private rooms or a dorm bed at our Surf Villa. You can also choose how many days and nights you want to run the package for, as long as it is a minimum of 3 nights and we offer flexible check in so you can start your stay on any day. Choices choices choices….
Why are we special?
Not only will we ensure you have an unforgettable experience at Freedom you will leave as part of our family. We will go out of our way to make your stay as easy and as welcoming as possible, there is nothing we won’t try to help you with from money exchange, scooter rental, local tips for the best food, beaches and parties and arranging transportation and onward travel around Sri Lanka.
How are your prices so cheap?
We want to offer the most value for money for our customers - we keep our prices as low as possible without failing to offer the highest quality surf & stay experience. As we are locally owned and run we therefore find the best and most sustainable ways to provide our services. We have professional local staff whom we treat and pay very well so that they are loyal to us and you. We also invest in our staff and provide ISA (International Surfing Association) training for them. You will be taught privately or in groups of 2 people to 1 instructor. Our rooms are of high quality and our Villa is full of homely comforts in a peaceful setting - you don’t find many places in Sri Lanka offering what we do for this price.
What is included with my stay at Freedom?
Healthy breakfast: vegan and gluten free breakfast.
Free bicycles: explore the area around using our bikes.
Unlimited tea and coffee: help yourself to our Sri Lankan teas and coffee throught the day.
Water refill: save on plastic, bring your own bottle and refill it.
Soft drinks: we have a selection of cold drinks available in the fridge for you to buy, including Laa Dhalu locally made Kombucha.
Small shop: eco products including surf zinc and hand made souvenirs. Moonshadow natural soaps, organic teas and Freedom tops.
Communal lounge: relax in our communal space, comfy couches, music, television, high speed WiFi - make yourself at home.
Use of the kitchen: you can cook your own food in our communal kitchen.
High quality fresh linen: sleep like royalty in our high quality, laundered fresh linen bed sheets.
Friendly faces to ask any questions.
You will leave feeling like family.
Can i just book a surf lesson?
Absolutely, we are a surf school that runs surf only packages. you do not need to stay with us, although we think you’s be silly not to. We offer many surf only packages and surf lesson packages, which get cheaper the more you book.
How much is board hire?
We charge 250LKR per hour to rent a surfboard or 1500LKR for the full day (but often in high season we only do hourly board rental).
What surfboards do you have?
We have a wide range of surfboards for beginner and intermediate surfers. We have high quality soft top foam boards ranging in size from 9ft-6ft (the smaller ones are great for children) You can start your surfing journey on these boards and get your balance easily before either working down in size or changing to a hard board. We have NSP hardboards that range in size form 8”6-6”8 for beginner and intermediate surfers. The boards are designed to help you catch green waves easily so you can really practice perfecting your technique.
Are your lessons private? Do you run group lessons?
We teach mostly private lessons - this means that you will be taught in your booking group, we don’t usually mix bookings together (unless you are happy to do this and would prefer to learn alongside someone else, and it works with timings). We define private lessons as one instructor to one student or one teacher to two students. We pay our instructors per person per lesson as they have to do more work for two people so our prices are the same. If you book as a group or pair of different abilities we can give the right amount of instructors to teach at the levels you need.
How does a surf lesson work? How long is it?
Our lessons are one hour long, and this is long and tiring enough for most people. As we teach privately our instructors work you really hard and you should expect to have no rest period during this hour. You will catch a wave, paddle back and get ready to catch the next wave almost straight away.
Depending on your level will depend on the structure of the lesson. Beginner lessons start with a thorough explanation on the sand of how the equipment works, safety and the pop up technique before heading not the water. All other lessons will give a brief outline and some practical warm up on the sand before heading into the water to put your newly learnt skills into practice. The instructors will guide you throughout the lesson giving constant feedback and tips on how you can improve.
Which season to go? What are the waves doing?
Sri Lanka is a great all year round destination with a tropical climate at 27-31ºC (80ºF).
The South Coast season is December-April, where we expect to have sunny blue skies with offshore wind and waves in the 2-6ft range. This is considered the high season and can get fairly crowded. We can arrange Surf Tours to the less known spots off the beaten track where there will be less crowds. This the best surf season.
During the summer season which is April-October, We can expect to get some really good swells with waves in the 2-8ft range. This is considered the low season where Weligama gets little to no crowd. This season is great for beginner surfers. We also expect the monsoon during this time so we have occasional rains and thunderstorms in morning or evening which means the surroundings are beautifully lush and green.
The shoulder seasons are October/November & April. During October the winds normally change with the swells in the 4-8ft range. It can be a great season with big swells and offshore winds. November and October are affected by occasional heavy rains. In April the bigger swells start to arrive again. April is not affected by the monsoon, and with few crowds and waves in the 2-8ft range, it can be a great time to surf.
For Surf & Sleep Packages
When you confirm and make your booking you will need to pay a 25% deposit - this is non refundable. If you would need to cancel your stay or change the date, and you let us know more than 25 days before your stay, then we will refund any additional payments you have made outside of the 25% deposit. If you cancel within 25 days of your stay we will not be able to refund you. If you cancel within 24 hours of your booking starting we will request full payment from you.
It is important that you have travel insurance to cover any amounts that you have paid to us in this case.
The most common reason for last-minute cancellations are personal injury or a death in the family, so we advise that you check your insurer will cover you in these instances.
If your stay at Freedom Surf School has to be cancelled by us but due to reasons beyond our control (like a natural disaster for example), Freedom Surf School is not liable for any refunds or travel costs so it’s also important that your travel insurance should cover “operator cancellations”, which most standard policies do.
For Surf Only Packages
When you confirm and make your booking you will need to pay a 25% deposit - this is non refundable. If you would need to cancel your surf package or change the date, and you let us know more than 7 days before your start date, then we will refund any additional payments you have made outside of the 25% deposit. If you cancel within 7 days of your stay we will not be able to refund you. If you cancel within 24 hours of your booking starting we will request full payment from you.
Are your surf lessons suitable for families? How old do children have to be?
Our Surf Instructors are trained and used to teaching families with young children. We think a surfing holiday with Freedom is a great family activity. You can choose to stay with us at our family friendly Surf Villa, or you can choose alternative accommodation and just book surf lessons with us. We have no minimum age for children and we have taught children from 3 years. We just request that they are confident in the water and that you are on hand to watch and help support the lesson for really young children. From 7 years up if your child can swim and you feel comfortable that they are confident in the water then we are happy to teach them without parental supervision. Most children are naturally excellent surfers as they have no fear!
How are you different to other surf camps?
At Freedom we do not follow any routine, you are free to schedule your day as you want. We have delicious breakfasts ready from 8am that you can take anytime after that. You schedule your surf lessons for when you want and the days are yours to be free. At the Surf Villa we are always full with a variety of different guess from different countries and of different ages, there is always someone around to chat to. But on the whole we are quite a chilled ‘surf camp’ where people come to relax and surf and not party. We occasionally arrange Villa outings for our guests and we are always on hand to give advice and recommendations of the area.
Our surf lessons also follow different structures to other surf camps:
1. We teach or private lessons, one to one or if you are 2 people you will have 1 teacher, therefore the learning is more in depth and focuses on your needs - not big group lessons where you get an occasional push.
2. We are flexible with timings of lessons to suit you and your holiday commitments and you can change your lesson time from day to day.
3. We focus on teaching you how to become an independent surfer so that you no longer need us which means you will learn how to paddle, take a board and catch waves safely by yourself and not become reliant on a teacher pushing you and shouting ‘get up’.
4. We focus of telling you what you are doing wrong so you can learn from your mistakes - getting a clap when you stand up is nice but what does it mean?
What is surf guiding? Who is it for?
Surf Guiding is where our instructors take you to different surf spots along the south coast and they will guide you on how to: paddle out safely; where to sit in the water; when to start paddling; where to catch the waves so as you avoid any injuries from the rocks or reef. Surf Guiding is for intermediate and advanced surfers only. We say that you have to be able to turn and control the board with confidence. If you haven't surfed with us before we ask that you take 1 lesson in Weligama with us so that our instructors can assess your level and know which other spots are safe for you to surf. In everything that we do safety comes first.
I am a beginner can I book a surf tour?
Yes absolutely, our surf tour takes you to a beautiful beach where there are waves for beginner and intermediate surfers. Please note we require a maximum of 2 people to book.
Can I book the photographer without taking a surf lesson?
Yes you can. We can arrange the photographer for you for an hour or 2 depending what you prefer and you can rent the surf board with out a lesson. You will get your photos on a USB for you to take home. Price for 1 hour 6000LKR for photographer, surfboard rental 250LKR per hour.
How many nights is a package? What day is check in?
All of our packages are a minimum of 3 nights and have flexible check-in days so you can arrive any day of the week, as long as we have availability.
Whats the best way to travel to Freedom?
The international airport on Sri Lanka is COLOMBO (CMB). From you have a few options for traveling to Weligama:
1. Taxi which is a direct transfer and takes 2 hours 13,000LKR (easiest and most comfortable)
2. Train from Colombo Fort, approx 3.5 hour in total, approx 1000LKR - you will have to take the bus from the airport to Colombo Fort and then check the train times - http://slr.malindaprasad.com/index.php?from=FOT&to=WLM.
3. Highway Bus - local bus to Colombo Fort then take the highway bus to Matara then a local bus to Weligama, approx 3.5 hour, approx 700LKR
4. Local Bus - bus to to Colombo Fort then take the local bus to Weligama, approx 5 hours, approx 500LKR
Do you arrange airport transfers?
Yes, we can arrange transfers for you. Freedom is located in Weligama. Pronounced: Well-ee-gama. We work with good reliable drivers who have fully insured and serviced vehicles. We can arrange transportation from the airport or from anywhere else on the island. An airport transfer costs13000LKR one way for an air-conditioned vehicle for 1-4 persons, it includes a driver, highway charges, parking/entry tickets to the airport and all other fee’s. Driving from Colombo Airport to Freedom takes about 2 hours, depending on traffic. If you are more than 4 people and have surfboards we can arrange a van for 15500LKR one way, the van can take up to 7 people with luggage.
Do I need a visa to visit Sri Lanka?
You have to get a VISA to enter Sri Lanka. This is an easy process that you can do online before you travel. Please use this government
official website only. You will get a 30 day visa. Your passport needs to have two free pages and must be valid for 6 months after your trip. If you want to stay longer than 30 days you can extend your visa for up to 3 months at the Immigration office in Colombo or use their pick up and drop off service once you are in Weligama.
What should I bring with me to a surf lesson?
You should bring your swimmers, shorts for guys and a one piece swimming costume for girls, are what we recommended, a bikini is fine but just make sure it is a secure one so you don’t loose any parts and expose yourself while you are surfing. We provide rash guards (surfing tops) for you to use and we have long and short sleeved ones in different colours. We suggest that first time surfers wear leggings to avoid board rash but this is not essential.
You should also bring eco friendly sunscreen or zinc to protect your face from sunburn - we sell great Sri Lankan made natural zinc if you need it.
You should also bring a water bottle to refill water. The surf school is also next to a restaurant should you need food and drinks throughout the day.
How can I pay?
To confirm a booking we require a 25% deposit within 72 hours via our online system using a debit or credit card or bank transfer.
If the deposit is not paid within 72 hours from getting the payment link the booking will automatically be cancelled and the spot released for others to book.
The balance of the booking can be made before you arrive through your customer portal via card or bank transfer, or you can pay in cash when you arrive.
When are your beach cleans? Can I help if I am not staying or surfing with Freedom?
Every Friday at 10am and yes please everyone is welcome to help regardless of where you are staying or surfing.