A tourist in a black tshirt and a grey short, surfing on the waves of Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Surfing in Mirissa

‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, Sri Lanka is a beautiful island surrounded by the blue waters that kiss the pure golden sandy beaches all around! The shades of the soothing hot sun, the comfort of the central highlands with a beautiful diversity of the climate, a wide variety of delicious dishes and seafood to satisfy the taste buds of any, and many more! Simply, this little island of treasure has not what? But all! Yes, all that a holidaymaker long to have!  Indeed, it has made Sri Lanka a dream destination – a full holiday package with many places to visit, game, learn and have fun! Of course, surfing in Sri Lanka is a pleasure as such! And indeed, one of the best pass – time games full of fun, and really ‘a game of Kings’ as they call it!

Thus, we thought of providing you a full overview on surfing in Sri Lanka through this read.

What is Surfing?

Surfing is a water sport where you can glide with the help of a giant wave on the sea, facing it. The wave brings the surfer towards the shore, which is fun. This fantastic game with an abundance of adventure and excitement requires a surfboard to slide on the waves. Besides, there are a few other essential pieces of equipment required for the game.

Further, it is one of the favourite water sport of many locals and mostly foreign tourists worldwide who love the chemistry of activity, delight, blue waves, and the sunshine! Moreover, Sri Lanka has already become one of the favourite surfing destinations of surfers worldwide, and the history of surfing in Sri Lanka runs back to the 1960s.

What is the Best Coast in Sri Lanka for Surfing?

In general , the Southern, Southwestern, and the Eastern coasts of the beautiful island Sri Lanka are the most popular for surfing. Some of the best coasts in Sri Lanka for surfing are as follows.

  1. Arugam-bay
  2. Ahangama
  3. Weligama
  4. Hikkaduwa
  5. Midigama
  6. Mirissa
  7. Gurubebila
  8. Unawatuna

The general reason for their popularity for surfing is the nature of waves on the beaches there. The waves are not gigantic as in most of the other surfing destinations around the world. Indeed, this simply means that you can find the most surfer-friendly waves in Sri Lanka, where you can hold on for a long time in a single wave.

Moreover, you can find below, a detailed description of the above mentioned best surfing spots of Sri Lanka.

1. Arugam-bay, the Most Famous Spot to Surf in Sri Lanka

Indeed, Arugam-bay is one of the best and most popular destinations for surfing in Sri Lanka!

This beautiful beach with its palm fringe is in the Eastern province of the island. To be specific, it is located around 314 km away from the capital city of Colombo. Thus, the drive from Colombo to Arugam-bay is around 6-hours.

Moreover, Arugam-bay is a surfing hub in Sri Lanka, specially, a surfing spot for beginners, and also for intermediate surfers, and the most experienced surfers. It can be the reason why Arugam-bay has been a place for international surfing competitions as well. Arugam-bay is also a surfing destination to perform with the best surf-breaks, right hand, which is another reason for its popularity among the wind-surfers. Nevertheless, thousands of tourists visit here to enjoy the water-sports, and also to experience the splendid sunshine, and underwater photography.

The Best Time to Surf in Arugam-bay

The best time for surfing at Arugam-bay is the season between April and October. Further, within that period, the perfect time is in August and September months. The reason is, you can play on the best waves during this period, especially in the mornings, due to the behaviour of waves and wind onshore. Those are the perfect waves to have a fantastic surfing experience as they are bigger and break ideally creating the kind of waves a surfer wishes to meet!

Meanwhile, several other points around Arugam-bay, which are not much popular, can be reached within a short time, like 15 minutes by a tuk-tuk or a walk.

The Surfing Points in Arugam-Bay

All these points are unique for their geographical existence, making Sri Lanka one of the best surfing tourist attractions. You can find a glimpse about them in the below sections.

  • The Baby Point: The ‘Baby Point’ is ideal for beginners to surf due to the behaviour of the waves.
  • Elephant Rock Point: It is a point which is suitable for an early morning surf during the season to have a good surfing experience.
  • The Peanut Farm or the Whiskey Point: This place of surfing is the most crowded in Arugam-bay. It is famous especially among starters for its not very high waves which provide enough opportunity to practice.
  • Pottuvil Point: Pottuvil Point is the best for the end of the seasoned surf towards November. So if you visit Sri Lanka to surf towards November or even December, Pottuvil point is somewhere you could surf as expected.
  • Main Point / Okanda / Lighthouse: The is terrific for the experts but not for beginners for its sandy bottom.
  • Panama Point: Panama point is also really a lovely beach to surf, but try avoiding the crowded days. There are also two rocks in this surfing point, but they are not disturbing to have a great surfing experience.

So, what else do you need? Plan your next surfing trip to Arugam-Bay to enjoy the terrific waves of the hottest surfing spot of Sri Lanka!

2. Ahangama in the South-West Coast

Ahangama is another famous surfing destination located on the South-West coast of Sri Lanka. It is in between the surfing spots called Weligama and Unawatuna. Ahangama is a beautiful beach, a relatively long beach for surfers to receive a good surfing experience and some relaxation on the beach under Southern Sri Lanka’s sunshine.

The speciality here is the dunes underwater, making it an ideal destination for beginners and learners to surf. The shore has a few rocky places, which is excellent for the intermediates and the experts to enjoy.

Another plus point of Ahangama to choose it as your surfing destination is the surf camps of a good standard and other accommodation which are so pretty welcoming. You can select the accommodation and other facilities as you prefer at any level.

Besides the sight of surfers enjoying the friendly waves to the maximum is indeed impressive. Moreover, another beautiful sight to spot is the fishermen fishing on fishing poles in Ahangama, which is a frequent sight in this area.

3. Weligama on the South-West Coast

Weligama is a sandy beach break, as the name Weligama (Sandy-Village) depicts. As Ahangama, Weligama is also a surfing destination with friendly waves for learners, or mostly for the other surfers who need to improve their surfing skills by experimenting with movements. The waves here are small in size with a high thickness.

Also, Weligama has several surf schools and camps to assist you with the surfing journey. They offer many other facilities such as accommodation and food of your choice and even Yoga lessons to make your surfing experience full of fun, relaxing, and comfortable. And why not? The generous hospitality of Sri Lankan out there will surely make our visit more fantastic.

4. Hikkaduwa in South, Another Wonderful Place to Surf in Sri Lanka

Located on the coasts of Sri Lanka’s South-west, Hikkaduwa is also known as ‘Hikka.’ It is another perfect and popular destination for surfing. It is more attractive, especially for experienced surfers. The waves are as tall as 6 feet sometimes, which makes Hikkaduwa an adventure-filled spot! As in Arugam-Bay, Hikka also has many surf points that are not second to each other in their features.

  • Bennys: It is a place for experienced surfers and especially for the left-hand surf breakers.
  • Beach Break: Suitable for beginners and surfers of any level.  It is considered one of the safest points.
  • Main Reef: The main reef in Hikkaduwa is prominently suitable for both left and right breaks and is a safe point for surfers of all levels.
  • North Jetty: The best for left-hand breakers, long waves.

A significant feature in the waves of Hikkaduwa is, it is perfect for the long borders. Besides, Hikkaduwa is generally a crowded place for surfing and especially with the other tourists who come to enjoy the sunshine and the relaxing sensation of the beaches in Sri Lanka. Hikkaduwa is also a place where accommodation in many types are available for tourists, including hotels of different star levels. It is also famous for nightlife in Sri Lanka as well.

5. Midigama

Midigama is located closer to Weligama and has three fine surfing points namely, Lazy Left, Right, and Rams Right.

  • Lazy Left: It is a fantastic experience to surf here during afternoons, which brings out great waves perfect to surf by the adventurous riders.
  • Right: The other surf point at Midigama is ‘the right.’ It is famous as a shallow reef for surf breaks.
  • Rams Right: The next is rams right, which is also suitable for surfers with more experience and surfing talent. There are also barrels at this point, and you can expect short breaks In here, which are relatively tight.

6. Mirissa

After Arugam-Bay, the next most popular surfing hotspot in Sri Lanka is Mirissa. It is very famous among foreign tourists for many reasons. One is the waves of Mirissa beach, which are ideal for any surfer level, and the other is the urchins in there. This popularity has made Mirissa typically an over-crowded place. As a result, there is plenty of accommodation and nightlife programmes. Mirissa is one of the cities which support Sri Lanka’s tourism industry in big amounts.

7. Gurubebila

Gurubebila is a surfing village between Miigama and Weligama. It is a calm area and there are two surf points in Gurubebila. They are namely, Coconut and Plantations.

  • Coconut: This is an excellent surfing point for left and even right breakers. The most recommended time to surf out here is at the sunrise or the sunset as the waves’ behavior during the tide is friendly and ideal for experienced surfers. Coconuts is not a point for beginners and learners. On a fine day, the waves can go beyond 6 feet with a significant period of swell.
  • Plantations: Plantations are the other point of surfing at Gurubebila. It is the best point for intermediate surfers, as there are plenty of swelling waves. However, it is not a place for beginners and learners in this part of the beach. Point plantations are excellent for right breaks but not bad for lefts as well.

8. Unawatuna

Unawatuna is again a destination that is very popular among surfers. It is prominent as the best for family surfing. Apart from surfing, you can enjoy many other beach-related activities such as sunbathing, beach baths, etc., during your vacation at beautiful Sri Lanka. Thus, this unique feature of Unawatuna attracts thousands of tourists yearly there. It is a beach with great waves to surf but with less swell.

Surfing Points in Unawatuna

There are five different points of surfing in Unawatuna.

  • Unawatuna Beach Break : Perfect for beginners in surfing, and you meet the waves closer to the beach. There is also a reef that is made artificially.
  • South Beach: The long-board waves are prominent in South beach. You can ask a local for the South beach’s directions who will give you exact directions from the place where you are. There is a tendency of a little more wind in the evenings on this beach.
  • Bonavista Bay : Bonavista Bay is another surfing point in Sri Lanka, which is suitable for learners or beginners in surfing. The waves are as high as 3-5 feet. The swell in the lock is perfect here.
  • Kabalana Beach Break: Kabalana has small waves, which makes it suitable for beginners. You also meet the waves right at the shore. However, there is a risky fact here as there is a rip current closer to that point about which you need to be aware and protect yourself when surfing.
  • Dalawella Reef: Dalawella is a point that is stunning underwater with a beautiful coral reef, urchins, and rocks underneath. It is a left breaker’s point.

Also, you can find enough and more surf schools in Unawatuna (discussed later in this read) to get the opportunity to learn surfing in Sri Lanka. The coaches also educate you all about Unawatuna’s waves and the shore and how you could take the best use out of your surfing trip to Unawatuna.

Perfect Weather to Surf in Sri Lanka!

Sri Lanka is a tropical country and an island rich in sunshine during most of the period in a year. It is one reason why this beautiful island is attractive to the tourists of the whole world. It is a blessing indeed! Usually, the temperature rises as hot as 30-40 degrees of Celsius with the humidity here. Especially at Eastern and Southeastern coasts, there is windy weather, which is the best and perfect for surfing. However, to avoid too much sun on you while surfing, the most suitable is to choose mornings and evenings. Even the surfing schools offer the choice to the clients to select their preferred time of the day. Besides, based on the surf point you choose, your guide or the instructor advises on the best time to put on your surf clothes, pick your board, and head to the shores.

Due to the sun’s heat, the waves’ temperature at those surfing spots is around 27-29 degrees Celcius, which means you need to prepare with appropriate surf clothing for your surfing in the fantastic beaches of Sri Lanka.

Moreover, the areas which are best for surfing receive rain during the different time periods of the year. And the waves of the beaches are different according to the other day to day weather conditions. However, to avoid rain and surf in perfect weather on the South coasts of Sri Lanka, the best time is between November to May. For an ideal surfing experience on the Eastern shores, you should choose between April and October. Make sure to avoid the rainy seasons as there might be sudden downpours of rain and storms disturbing your surfing experience.

All About Surf Schools in Sri Lanka

By now you clearly know that Sri Lanka is a top destination for surfing, and thousands of tourists arrive here for surfing yearly, selecting the best times. Among them, some people come to learn surfing. They include first time surfers, experienced surfers, or the surfers who come to sharpen their talents. Thus, there are several surf schools in Sri Lanka at the coastal belts famous for surf-coaching. Those schools cater to the diverse requirements of the surfers at any level.

Surfing schools in Sri Lanka are located at a close distance to the surfing spots. They offer a variety of other services too to make your surfing experience worthwhile. That includes meal services, accommodation, short trips during breaks, yoga lessons at times. Above all, they guarantee the fun-filled but methodical and profound surf lessons. The coaches are generally talented and understanding. They deliver Sri Lankan warmth in their relationship with the learners. Thus, it is a pleasant experience learning in Sri Lanka for a surfer.

Best Surf Schools in Sri Lanka

Here is a list of some best surf schools in Sri Lanka, along with their locations.

  • Surf School Sri Lanka –Kathaluwa, Ahangama in the South
  • Surf’ N’ Lanka –Weligama in the South of Sri Lanka.
  • Safa surf camp –Arugambay, Pottuvil
  • Right story surf school –Weligama
  • Arugam-Bay surf school – Arugam bay
  • Star-rest surf camp –Arugam bay
  • Boardwise surf school – Unawatuna
  • Hippie surf school and camp – Unawatuna
  • Surf and Yoga camp  – Mirissa

Most of these institutes are ISA (International Surfing Association) certified, which means there is a standard of what they teach, and it is reliable. The price per course in these institutes is varied based on the number of days you can spare for the training and the level you are at that moment. Some schools offer courses restricted to a minimum of 3-5 days, and some schools offer courses on an hourly basis. However, you can always discuss adjusting lessons with the surf school and the surf coach according to your schedule.

Cost of Surfing in Sri Lanka

These courses’ rough prices vary from USD 18 to USD 1320, a wide range as the classes offer different facilities. They also train basic things and skills for learners. The coaches would teach basic things such as ‘how to stand on the surfboard’ and  even the skills such as ‘how to perform tricks on the surfboard.’

Further, the cost of surfing for about 45 minutes, in a place like Arugam-bay would be USD 20 approximately. The prices highly vary owing to the facilities they offer, and their packages.

What is the Essential Equipment Required for Surfing?

The essential items for surfing are very few for a basic surfer. However, various other surfing gadgets are available on the market. All of them help you to receive a perfect experience if you are really into this water sport. Nevertheless, it is always better to be equipped with surf equipment and gadgets to make your surfing experience safer, worthwhile, memorable, and fantastic.

The Essentials:

  • The surfboard: Of course, the number one in surfing. It is the magic mat that takes you through the adventurous ride through the gigantic waves!
  • The surfboard bag: The cover helps easy carriage of the surfboard while walking and prevents damage to its fragile nature during transportation and storage.
  • The leash:  It is a belt that connects the surfboard to you. The leash is essential to prevent long detachment between you and the board, specially when you are going to slip down from the board while surfing, which is often at the beginning.
  • The fin: The fin is a ‘fin of a fish’ like attachment that is connected underneath the surfboard. Its function is to aid the balance and speed of the ride through the waves with pressure.
  • The traction pad or surf wax: These traction pads are of two types. Both help the surfer avoid slipping away quickly from the board and provide grip to the legs.
  • The wet suit: Surfing is a game done under the hot sun and in the cold water. Thus, there is a requirement for some proper protection over the skin. The wet suits come in a unique material called neoprene. It allows the surfer to stay moist throughout the sport. Further, it helps him or her to remain in the water for a long time without discomfort.

Other Gadgets:

Clothes recommended for a surfer

  • Surf boots/Hood/Gloves: These help surf in cold climates. In Sri Lanka, surfing is mostly done under the hot sun, whereas surf boots/hoods and gloves are not required essentially.
  • Board shorts: Board shorts are a pair of shorts to wear while surfing. They provide space for easy movement on the surfboard during the game. Generally, board shorts come in stretchy materials and with fewer stitches.
  • Surf Poncho: Surf Ponchos are assisting in changing the wet clothes after surfing. They are a kind of bathrobe. They are indeed not only the best for surfers but for anyone to change wet clothes after a water sport. Surf ponchos come in towelling materials mainly to wipe off the water while changing.

Skincare During Surfing

Besides the fun side of surfing, there is a risky fact about surfing for an extended period. Being under the hot sun for a long period can cause skin rashes and other skin interruptions. The sunscreen provides you with skin protection during the game. Thus, it is always a must-have item while backpacking in Sri Lanka,  even while safaris, cycling, or sunbathing.

Other Better-to-haves

The following will also help you experience a better surf.

  • Surf earplugs: They are also known as ‘surfer’s ears.’ These earplugs help the surfer get rid of the ear blocks that occur while surfing in the cold waters. Thus, it is a must-have gadget that helps to have a safe and comfortable surfing experience.
  • Surf watch: A surf watch is a gadget that is of immense use for a surfer. It counts and provides essential information such as wave height, speed, duration wind speed, wind direction, and tides, etc. The best factor is that all this vital information is available to receive from the watch at any surf spot worldwide. It is briefly a computer on the wrist. Moreover, a surf watch is ideal for planning your movements while sporting in the waves.
  • Waterproof surf camera: Surfing is a game of Kings! So who does not want to capture the adventurous moves while in the water? Especially while surfing in the blue waters of Sri Lanka? So here you go! You have the chance to catch all you need while surfing! The surf cameras are, of course, waterproof and easily portable. It also allows you to post-analyse your improvements and mistakes while surfing. 
  • Wet/dry bag: It is also one of the useful items as the surf poncho, which is helpful after any water sport. A wet/dry bag allows you to carry the wet clothes, towels, and other wet items at the end of the activity without hassle.

Some of these items, especially the surf boards and the leashes can also be purchased from the stores that are in Sri Lanka.

The Bottom Line

After all, let us finally remind you again that Sri Lanka is an all-in-one holiday package for any traveller. Exploring into the country’s graceful history, experiencing the different facets of the culture and traditions of the Island, and enjoying the blue waves of the golden sandy beaches top up the perfect experience. 

So go on, pack your surfboard and plan your next trip to Sri Lanka to enjoy surfing on the best beaches of this island of amazement. Have a great time on the perfect waves on the Lankan beaches. It is an adventure, it is an amazement, and full of enjoyment while being pampered at the Sri Lankan hospitality at its best of the Sri Lankan souls throughout.

Happy surfing, everyone!