Surfing in Sri Lanka: A Tropical Paradise with Consistent Waves and Beautiful Beaches
Sri Lanka is fast becoming one of the most popular surf destinations in the world, with its warm waters, consistent waves, and beautiful beaches. Located on the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is a tropical paradise that offers something for surfers of all levels, from beginner breaks to challenging reef breaks.
Surf spots Sri Lanka
The south and east coasts of Sri Lanka are home to the best surf spots, with Arugam Bay and Hikkaduwa being particularly popular among surfers. These areas offer a range of wave types, from long, mellow point breaks to punchy beach breaks.
Check the full list of surf spots of Sri Lanka
|Arugam Bay||Right||Point-break||All surfers|
|Coral Garden||Right and left||Reef-rocky||Pros or kamikaze only…|
|Dalawella||Right and left||Reef-coral||Experienced surfers|
|Devils rock||Left||Reef-rocky||Experienced surfers|
|Dewata, Galle||Right and left||Point-break||All surfers|
|Dewella (Unawatuna)||Right and left||Reef-coral||All surfers|
|Elephant rock||Right||Point-break||All surfers|
|Gaza Strip||Left||Reef-rocky||Experienced surfers|
|GD’s||Right and left||Beach-break||All surfers|
|Hikkaduwa||Right and left||Reef-coral||All surfers|
|kingfisher||Right and left||Beach-break||Experienced surfers|
|Koggala Lefts||Left||Reef-coral||Experienced surfers|
|LAMANA POINT||Right and left||Reef-coral||Experienced surfers|
|Local’s Point||Right and left||Reef-coral||Experienced surfers|
|Main Point||Right||Reef-coral||Experienced surfers|
|Midigama Left (market)||Left||Point-break||All surfers|
|Midigama Right||Right||Reef-rocky||Experienced surfers|
|Peanuts Farm||Right||Point-break||All surfers|
|Plantations||Right and left||Reef-rocky||Experienced surfers|
|Pottuvil Point||Right||Point-break||All surfers|
|Rockside Induruwa||Right and left||Reef-rocky||All surfers|
|south beach||Right and left||Reef-rocky||All surfers|
|Thalpe||Right and left||Reef-rocky||All surfers|
|Thalyadi||Right and left||Reef-coral||All surfers|
|The Rock||Right||Point-break||All surfers|
|Weligama||Right and left||Beach-break||All surfers|
|Whiskey Point||Right||Point-break||All surfers|
|Lazy Left||Left||Reef-rocky||All surfers|
|Peanuts Farm||Right||Point-break||All surfers|
Check also the Google Map:
Check our fully detailed Arugam Bay Surf Guide
The good and the bad about surfing in Sri Lanka
In addition, there are enjoyable waves, favorable offshore winds during the monsoon season, and affordable travel options. The surfing season on the west-east coast (Hikkaduwa, Midigama, etc.) spans from November to March, while on the east coast (Arugam Bay), it is from May to September.
However, there are some drawbacks, including unpredictable swells and winds, pollution, localism, and the lingering impact of a major civil war, which is no longer confined to the Northern provinces. It is important to seek reliable travel advice before planning your trip.
Sri Lanka surf video
Best time to visit Sri Lanka for surfing
The best time to visit Sri Lanka for surfing is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. This is when the waves are the most consistent and the weather is the most pleasant. However, it is possible to surf in Sri Lanka year-round, with the west and southwest coasts offering more sheltered conditions during the wet season.
Overall, Sri Lanka is an excellent destination for surfers looking for warm waters, good waves, and a laid-back atmosphere. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, you are sure to find something to suit your abilities and interests in this beautiful country.
The Sri Lankan surf season in a table
|Best Surfing Season||++||+||++||++||++||+|
What to do when you don’t go surfing
Here are a few examples of interesting and adventurous activities to do in Sri Lanka if you are not surfing:
- Hiking and trekking: Sri Lanka is home to many beautiful trails that offer breathtaking views of the countryside. Some popular destinations for hiking and trekking include Adam’s Peak, Knuckles Mountain Range, and Horton Plains National Park.
- White-water rafting: The Kelani River, which runs through the rainforests of central Sri Lanka, is a popular destination for white-water rafting. The river offers a range of rapids that are suitable for beginners and experienced rafters alike.
- Scuba diving and snorkeling: Sri Lanka’s clear, warm waters are home to a diverse array of marine life, including coral reefs, shipwrecks, and colorful tropical fish. Popular destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling include Hikkaduwa, Mirissa, and Unawatuna.
- Wildlife watching: Sri Lanka is home to many species of wildlife, including elephants, leopards, sloth bears, and a variety of bird species. Popular destinations for wildlife watching include Yala National Park, Udawalawe National Park, and Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
- Cultural experiences: Sri Lanka is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and there are many opportunities to learn about and experience the local culture. Some popular cultural activities include visiting temples, attending a traditional dance performance, or taking a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Sri Lankan dishes.
And here are a few more ideas for things to do in Ella and Colombo, Sri Lanka:
- Ella Rock: This popular hike offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and tea plantations. The trail can be strenuous in places, but the views from the top are worth it.
- Nine Arches Bridge: This iconic bridge is a short distance from Ella and offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The bridge is often crowded, but it is still worth a visit for the views and for the opportunity to take some Instagram-worthy photos.
- Tea plantations: Ella is located in the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country, and there are many tea plantations in the area that offer tours and tastings. This is a great opportunity to learn about the history and production of Sri Lankan tea and to sample some of the country’s finest teas.
- Galle Face Green: This popular seaside promenade is a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the sea breeze. The area is also home to many food stalls, so it is a good place to grab a snack or a drink.
- Gangaramaya Temple: This Buddhist temple is located in the heart of Colombo and is known for its ornate architecture and beautiful gardens. The temple is also home to a museum with a collection of Buddhist artifacts and artworks.
- Old Town: The Old Town area of Colombo is home to many historic buildings, including the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, which has been converted into a shopping and dining destination. The area is also home to many small street food stalls, so it is a good place to try some local specialties.
And don’t forget this for your surf trip to Sri Lanka
Below you”ll see items that you may want to consider adding to your packing list:
- Leash: A leash is an essential piece of equipment that keeps you connected to your surfboard. Make sure to bring a leash that is the appropriate size for your board and your level of surfing.
- Surf wax: Surf wax helps to increase the grip on your surfboard and is essential for a good surf session. Make sure to bring enough wax for the duration of your trip.
- Sunscreen: It is important to protect your skin from the sun when you are surfing, especially in tropical destinations like Sri Lanka. Make sure to bring a high-SPF sunscreen and apply it liberally before you hit the water.
- Rash guard: A rash guard is a type of shirt that is designed to protect your skin from the sun and the board. Rash guards are also useful for keeping you warm in colder water.
- Surfboard bag: A surfboard bag is a good investment if you are planning to travel with your surfboard. A bag will protect your board from damage during transport and make it easier to carry around.
- Surf repair kit: A surf repair kit is a good thing to have on hand in case your surfboard sustains any damage while you are on your trip. A repair kit should include items like a fiberglass repair kit, sandpaper, and a small fin key.
Travel tips for surfers
Here are a few travel tips for surfers visiting Sri Lanka:
- As said, the best time to visit Sri Lanka for surfing is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. This is when the waves are the most consistent and the weather is the most pleasant.
- The south and east coasts of Sri Lanka are home to the best surf spots, with Arugam Bay and Hikkaduwa being particularly popular among surfers.
- If you are planning to surf in Sri Lanka, it is a good idea to bring your own surfboard. While there are a few surf shops in the country that rent out boards, the selection may be limited and the prices may be higher than what you are used to.
- Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, as the sun in Sri Lanka can be intense. It is also a good idea to bring a rash guard or surf shirt to protect your skin from the sun and the board.
- Be mindful of the local culture and customs when you are surfing in Sri Lanka. Respect the waves and the other surfers in the water, and be considerate of the local community.
- Finally, don’t forget to take some time to explore the rest of the country while you are there. Sri Lanka is home to many beautiful beaches, temples, national parks, and other attractions that are well worth a visit.
Entry guidelines for traveling to Sri Lanka (e.g. Visa)
Also good to be aware of: the Entry Guidelines for Convenient Travel to Sri Lanka. Familiarize yourself with the following information to ensure a smooth travel experience.
- Your passport must remain valid for at least six months beyond your departure date.
- You have the option of obtaining a Visa on Arrival or arranging an e-visa through the official website www.eta.gov.lk.
- Regarding Covid-19 protocols, there are no restrictions, vaccination certificates, or mandatory negative PCR tests.
- Complete the arrival card online before your departure.
For further details regarding arrival cards and online visa applications for Sri Lanka, please refer to the provided link.
As indicated on the ETA webpage, all ETA holders are required to present the following:
- Proof of a round trip ticket upon arrival in Sri Lanka.
- Evidence of adequate financial resources to cover your expenses throughout your stay. (Possession of a credit/visa card is sufficient)
What vaccines do you need to travel to Sri Lanka?
To clarify, as of the current moment, Sri Lanka doesn’t require any mandatory vaccination certificates for entry.
It’s always advisable, however, to ensure your fundamental vaccines (that are typically given in childhood) are up-to-date, such as MMR, DTP, chickenpox, polio, and others, as per your home country’s vaccination schedule.
- It’s also worth considering getting a Hepatitis A vaccine for trips to Asia, including Sri Lanka.
- For those undertaking riskier or extended stays, other vaccines to consider include Hepatitis B, Rabies, Typhoid, and Japanese Encephalitis.
Conclusion: Embark on an Unforgettable Surfing Journey in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka offers surfing opportunities along the entire south coast. Numerous locations catch the swells and offer quality waves of up to 3 feet. For the best surfing experience, it is advisable to visit during the peak season in January and February. Sri Lanka is average in various aspects, including the surf, the people, and the overall atmosphere. While some days in the water can be good, it is worth noting that the area tends to be crowded. Local surfers are skilled, but over time, they have become increasingly hostile towards foreigners each season.
Sri Lanka, with its warm waters, consistent swells, and breathtaking landscapes, is an idyllic destination for surfers seeking an unforgettable experience. From the world-class surf spots like Arugam Bay to the vibrant cultural tapestry that permeates the country, Sri Lanka offers a unique and captivating surfing adventure.
By respecting the local surf culture, being mindful of etiquette, and embracing the warm hospitality of the Sri Lankan people, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime. So, grab your board, ride the waves, and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of surfing in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Surf FAQ’s
What are some popular surf spots in Sri Lanka?
Some popular surf spots in Sri Lanka include Arugam Bay, Hikkaduwa, and Midigama. These areas offer a variety of wave types suitable for surfers of different levels.
When is the best time to visit Sri Lanka for surfing?
The best time to visit Sri Lanka for surfing is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. This period offers the most consistent waves and pleasant weather conditions.
Are there any negative aspects to consider when surfing in Sri Lanka?
Yes, there are some negative aspects to consider when surfing in Sri Lanka. These include unpredictable swells and winds, pollution, localism in certain areas, and the lingering impact of the civil war. It's important to seek reliable travel advice before planning your trip.
What are the positive aspects of surfing in Sri Lanka?
Surfing in Sri Lanka has several positive aspects, including enjoyable waves, favorable offshore winds during the monsoon season, and affordable travel options. The country offers warm waters and caters to surfers of all levels.
What are some recommended activities to do in Sri Lanka when not surfing?
When not surfing in Sri Lanka, you can engage in activities such as hiking and trekking in destinations like Adam's Peak and Knuckles Mountain Range, white-water rafting in the Kelani River, scuba diving and snorkeling in Hikkaduwa and Mirissa, and wildlife watching in Yala National Park. Additionally, exploring the country's cultural heritage by visiting temples and attending traditional performances is highly recommended.