A practical guide to the best surfing spots in Sri Lanka
Do you like combining surfing and kitesurfing? Then you are lucky because in Sri Lanka you can find a blend of wind and excellent waves. Sri Lanka is not only a unique kitesurfing destination but also it is also one of the best-surfing destinations in the world. Furthermore, its unique surfing spots are still little known, and that is why many surfers are now focusing on this beautiful country. Here you can discover surf spots as impressive as in Australia or Indonesia, and less crowded. If you are one of those kiters who also like surfing, then Sri Lanka it suits 100% to you. In this post, we walk along the entire coast of the island to find the best surfing spots in the area.
But first, let´s check when is the best time to surf in Sri Lanka. The country experiences two significant monsoon periods in the year: from May to September in the southwest and the mountains, and from October to March on the east coast.
We will therefore favour the period from November to April to go surfing in the southwest; the best time to surf in Sri Lanka for those who live in Europe and wish to seek the sun when winter begins to set in.
There are consistent tube waves and above all, a constant offshore wind. The coast between Hikkaduwa and Arugam Bay, from southwest to southwest, is full of excellent surfing spots, from magical pointbreaks to more technical reef breaks.
The best places to surf in Sri Lanka: east or south?
Well exposed to the swells of South Antarctica but located north of the Equator, Sri Lanka regularly receives clean waves but rarely above 2.5m.
The North-East monsoon rages between November and March: don’t panic, it rains in the North East, but it is dry in the South West, around Hikkaduwa, where the wind is permanently Off Shore. You can catch the biggest waves there, but most spots are saturated.
From April to October, we go to the east side. It’s the southwest monsoon (especially May June), so it’s humid with the onshore wind in the afternoon. Most reefs (dead coral or rock) do not have the edge of Indonesia, but there is still a way to get damaged; also, a pair of slippers is not a bad idea. The tides vary by less than a meter, but that has a lot of influence because the bottom is flat. The mouths give some excellent waves as long as you accept the risk of poisoning when the sewage discharge flows directly into the water. Overall, the quality of the waves is not excellent, but the terribly exotic conditions make surfing devilishly cool.
Be careful though because we can’t find anything on site.
The direction of dominant swells: In the west, the best waves are from November to March and from April to October for the east.
In 10 years Sri Lanka has become a top-rated destination for surfers Both the spots and the locals welcome you warmly.
The top surfing spots HIKKADUWA, THE ESSENTIAL Located a hundred kilometres from Colombo on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, the Hikkaduwa surf spot is undoubtedly the most famous in the territory. You will discover a vast seaside resort lively day and night, popular with surfers from all over the world. Hikkaduwa Beach stretches for several kilometres. There you will find several breaks for different levels: North Jetty and its powerful waves for experienced surfers, Man Reef and its perfect swell for beginner surfers… A must!
TANGALLA, THE OFF-TRAIL SPOT Do you dream of a surf spot as technical as it is desert? We have what you need! Located on the southwest coast almost 200 kilometres from Colombo, the small town of Tangalla is home to one of our favourite beaches on the island: Amanwella. Its name, which means “quiet beach”, already gives you a glimpse of what awaits you there: a little-known break with regular, high and strong waves. Swimming here is not recommended so that you will have the ocean all to yourself! A must for surfing off the beaten track in Sri Lanka!
MIRISSA, SURF IN A DREAM BACKGROUND Mirissa is in itself a small phenomenon in Sri Lanka. Renowned for being the city where we party the most, there are countless activities, restaurants and also a golden sandy beach as far as the eye can see. Your best chances of having a good session are early in the morning or at sunset. You will still have to fight a bit with the locals who have the right level, but by moving away a few kilometres, there is a good chance that you will find a quieter spot. Mirissa isn’t the most impressive of Sri Lankan surf spots, but for us, it is one of the most beautiful. You will find in the region breaks for all levels, bordered by great beaches and real coconut forests. This is one of our favourite places to surf in Sri Lanka as the surroundings are breathtaking.
AHANGAMA Probably if you look in other guides about which are the best places to surf in Sri Lanka you will not find Ahangama among them. And it better keep it that way! Located between Unawatuna and Mirissa, Ahangama Beach offers perfect conditions for those who are looking to get started in the world of surfing in Sri Lanka. Despite not being as popular as Arugam Bay or Hikkaduwa, this incredible spot is the best choice if you want to start surfing in Sri Lanka.
MIDIGAMA, THE CONVIVIAL SPOT Do you want to take advantage of your circuit in Sri Lanka to learn surfing or improve your skills in a warm and authentic atmosphere? Then Midigama is your favourite surfing destination. Far from the hordes of tourists, this small fishing village has recently attracted a few surfers who came to rub shoulders with its tubular waves. The place is truly magical and conducive to healing. This is one of the few places where you can surf while admiring the famous stilt fishermen!
UNAWATUNA BAY Unawatuna Surf Point is located 5 km south of Galle town. This man-made reef in 2013 to protect the temple opposite has changed the wave but retained its potential. If the spot does not work, do not hesitate to ask the local schools who will know where to take you nearby. The spot itself is not overcrowded, probably because the reef, corals and sea urchins deter surfers who do not have an advanced level.
WELIGAMA Weligama is the perfect spot to quietly work on your technique. The bay offers consistent surf and calm waves, perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers. The place has become a must-see for backpackers and travelers. On every street corner new restaurants and cafes are popping up every month.
If you head to Weligama for surfing, you should pay a visit to our friends from Freedom surf school. These guys will welcome you with open arms. Find out the best surfing in Weligama with the best vibes! They also provide the best surfing instruction on the island.
Jungle Beach, Weligama Between November and April, this isolated spot works wonderfully for all intermediate to advanced surfers. There are about 500 meters of oar to reach this technical reefbreak. The very quiet beach is perfect for resting and relaxing if you never feel like getting into the water, unless you prefer snorkeling.
Hiriketiya Often nicknamed “the secret beach”, Hiri is gradually becoming the most prominent bay in Sri Lanka. It’s the perfect place to hang out, snorkel, and ride quiet waves sheltered from the wind.
ARUGAM BAY, AUSTRALIA IN SRI LANKA Located on the east coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay was originally a small, quiet fishing village. In recent years, many Australian surfers come to take advantage of the beauty of the place to surf in a dream environment. Here, it is not uncommon to see the waves reaching over four meters in height. So if you dream of a surfing holiday in Sri Lanka in a peaceful Australian-style town, Arugam Bay is your surfing. destination
Between walks, fishing, surfing and other activities, you will be amazed by the landscape and the discoveries you can make there. The journey can seem tiring. But, when you arrive, you will forget everything, and you can relax on a paradisiacal beach.
Like other localities of Ampara, this village was also affected by the 2004 tsunami. However, this bay, with its harmonious contours, still retains all its charm and offers pleasant moments for surfers.
Whether you are an advanced surfer or an amateur, the waves of the sea are in store for you to relax. For beginners, there are beautiful spots that promote surfing. It is the same for intermediates and experienced surfers. This is one of the reasons this beach is often invaded by locals, as well as foreigners.
Elephant Rock Located 4 km south of Arugam Bay, Elephant Rock has a perfect wave. This break has two sections: one for beginners and one for more advanced surfers. Despite the considerable number of surf schools near Arugam Bay, this surfing spot is not really crowded
Okanda South of Arugam Bay, this small village is best suited for experienced surfers. The main breakout at Okanda is fully exposed, making it technical and wild. However, beginners can still have fun in Okanda, as the large rocks to the north of the bay provide some protection and give way to a shallow sandy bay with gentler waves.
Pottuvil Point North of Arugam Bay, Pottuvil Point is also a more suitable break for experienced surfers. Pottuvil Point offers some of the best waves on the island, but sadly it only usually works in August and September when it offers incredibly long rides of more than 800 meters (0.5 miles).
Peanut farm A semi-secret surf spot easily accessible from Arugam Bay, Peanut Farm is a breaking point with two sections: Main Point and Baby Point. Main Point is a technical wave recommended for more experienced surfers. Baby Point is the next, softer and more suitable for beginners. If you’re lucky, you might see these two connect and find each other for a long and exciting journey.
The options to move around the spots It takes between 12 and 14 hours of flight from Europe to reach the capital of the country, Colombo, and 400 euros minimum for a return trip during November with a reputable company like Qatar Airways or Etihad
On arrival, you have many choices to move around the surfing places. To go southwest, you can either take the rail line to the recently renovated Galle and Matara (a feast for the eyes), hire a car with driver, or take the bus through a private company. In any case, it will take around 3 and 6 hours to reach your drop-off point.
Once there, you will enjoy to the max! With an average of 27 ° C, both in the air and in the water, the climate is idyllic. And once on your board, no fear, there are no particular dangers in the water, no shark attacks.
In addition to the spots that we have mentioned above, there are other less famous places that hide acceptable waves too. If you don’t like being on a wave surrounded by a lot of people, this is the best option. With your own transport, you can alternate and surf every day in a different place
See the published blog post here.