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Insight into Surfing in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the most reliable surfing destinations in the Indian Ocean. Add to that the friendly locals, palm-fringed beaches and rich cultural heritage, you have an easily accessible tropical surfing paradise!

For the surf adventurer traveling to Sri Lanka, our advice is to base your stay in a location/village that fits your style (are you looking for peace and quiet or the beach party scene?) and then try out a few different nearby spots. I found that when one surf spot had bad conditions, just a few kilometres down the road was another surf spot with great conditions.

There are plenty of surf camps in Sri Lanka where beginners can learn the basics and intermediates can amp up their skills. All the while, experienced surfers will have a blast exploring the uncrowded line-ups and off-the-radar breaks on the southern coast of the island.

Why should you go surfing in Sri Lanka?

The country has different seasonal patterns on each side of the island; when one coast is choppy, the other is calm. The rains take turns hitting the coast from different directions, making Sri Lanka a year round surf option. The main surfing season for the south is from November to May – that’s when the waves are utter perfection. The best season on the east coast is from April to October, when the waves are longer. Here’s what you need to know: there will always be waves somewhere.

The main patches for surfing are the southwest, south and east coasts. The most famous areas are Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa in the southwest, Weligama in the south and Arugam Bay in the east.

Surfing in the Southern Province:

Between November and April, the west coast receives morning offshore winds, which produce some ultra-clean waves. This is also the dry season in Sri Lanka, with low chances of precipitation and plenty of sunshine.

The south coast benefits from whatever swells hit the west and east coast, which means that the surf spots on the southern tip of the island rarely go flat. Furthermore, the south coast of Sri Lanka is blessed with 330+ days of sunshine per year and water temperatures that average around 81ºF (27ºC) all year.

Here are the best surf spots in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka:


The surfing capital of Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, Hikkaduwa is a small town in the Galle District. This is the most developed surf town on the island – there are cafes and bars on the strip, surf schools, and rental shops, while the colourful coral attracts divers and snorkelers.

Regardless of the season, the waves at Hikkaduwa rarely go flat. The A-frame break is ideal for beginners, as it breaks over sand-filled reefs. Those looking for bigger waves will not be disappointed either, as the break can handle large swells too.

Recommended for: Beginners and intermediate surfers


Unawatuna one of the most visited beaches in Sri Lanka is home to a left-hand reef break that is more suitable for experienced surfers as well as a shallow beach break with a sandy bottom for beginners. The waves here rarely exceed 4ft (1.2m), and a longboard would be the best option here.

On the south coast of the island, only 5km (3mi) south of Galle, Unawatuna is an excellent destination for a family surf vacation. The beach also offers great snorkelling sites, dive schools, and kitesurfing opportunities.

These are the best surf spots around Unawatuna:

Unawatuna Beach Break – Unawatuna has great beginner waves right on the beach but the man-made reef that protects the temple messes with the natural order of the waves.

Dalawella Reef – About 120 meters from the main beach, Dalawella is a left breaker over a reef with coral, rocks and urchins.

Bonavista Bay – A good learner’s wave between 3 ft and 5 ft with the right swell. On the north part of the temple peninsula.

Kabalana Beach Break – Kabalana is great for beginner’s right at the shore with frothy small waves but the main point has a rip current and there are no lifeguards.

South Beach – Just a bit north of Kabalana is South Beach with a good longboard wave. Tends to get blown out in the afternoons though.

Recommended for: All levels


Surfing in Midigama Beach offers a variety of beach and reef breaks that are good for all surf abilities.  These two popular breaks at Midigama are as mellow as they sound and, therefore, excellent for beginners and intermediate surfers. However, when big swells kick in, they offer something for advanced riders too.

There are a few spots along the beach (Lazy Left, Right and Rams Right).

Lazy Left and Lazy Right sit opposite of each other in the bay at Midigama. Both are gentle point breaks, are longboard friendly, and work best at low tide. The left-hander offers some long rides of up to 500 meters (1,600 ft) on its good days. The Lazy Left is better in the afternoons and a favourite with goofy riders. The Right is close to the road and has a shallow reef break. Here you will also find some cool kitesurfing conditions in the bay.

Rams Right is for more advanced surfers, with some barrels and short and tight breaks. This powerful A-frame wave breaks over a shallow and sharp coral, has a fast take-off, and offers quite a long ride.

Recommended for: All levels


Weligama is a surf spot for beginners. , Weligama is a go-to surf spot all year round. Located in the Matara District in southern Sri Lanka, it’s considered the best beginner beach on the island and can be surfed even when it’s small.

The wave is super mellow and usually smaller.  If you want to learn how to surf, this is a great place to go.  The beach is quite long and beautiful terrific for walking with lots of food options right on the beach. Being such a popular spot, it can get crowded at times. If you wish to escape the crowds, head down the beach in the direction of Mirissa where the surf gets slightly bigger.

Here are the best surf spots around Weligama.

Fisherman Weligama – Being hidden and not-so-familiar fisherman Weligama offers great waves throughout the year. The paddle out to the Point is relatively long but totally worth the effort. This is a right-hand point break that provides one of the highest quality waves in the area during the summer months (the weak season) or during big swells at the main season.

Weligama Beach Break – A long stretch of beach that offers great waves for beginners throughout the year. The tear shaped bay allows you to choose the most convenient spot for paddling out depending on the swell size and your level competence. Even during the summer months (June – September), Weligama offers excellent waves for surfers.

Recommended for: Beginners and intermediate surfers


In the Southern Province, couple of kilometres east of Weligama, Mirissa is a picturesque bay with a mellow right-hand reef break that is suitable for all levels.

A lovely surf town offering two surf spot, one at each side of the bay. A right hander point break at the western end of the bay and left hander at its eastern end. The waves in Mirissa break on a reef that can be shallow in some parts, so it is advisable to have a booties if you are not experienced in those kind of conditions.

Still considered a hidden gem, crowds are not a problem at Mirissa. The area also offers whale-watching opportunities and the chance to surf with dolphins. Mirissa has shopping, food, entertainment, and a nice sugar sand beach that your non-surfing companions will love.

One word of caution about this area is that it is all reef break and the reef can get quite shallow.  So don’t let the wave push you all the way in, better to bail out before the wave crashes and your tumbling into a sea urchin!  Travel with all the supplies you would want if you did get cut on the reef because it could happen.

Recommended for: All levels

Surfing in the Eastern Province

Between May and October, the east coast gets constant swell, especially around Arugam Bay. Traveling during these months will keep you dry and away from the monsoon season, while at the same time guaranteeing consistent surfing conditions.

A few of the breaks in this area are Arugam Bay, Pottuvil Point, Whiskey Point, Peanut Farm, Elephant Rock, and Okanda.

Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay on the east coast is often compared to Kuta in Bali. The tuna fishing port and the seven quaint villages in the moon-shaped bay have a laid-back vibe and are perhaps the most traveler and surfer-friendly places on the island.

The main right-hand point break in the bay delivers consistently small peelers, and is suitable for all levels between April and October. Considered the best wave in Sri Lanka, it breaks over a reef and offers several fast sections and some incredibly long rides, just perfect for longboarding.

Recommended for: All levels

Elephant Rock

Located 4 km (2.5 miles) south of the main break at Arugam Bay, Elephant Rock can be a technical wave; when it’s working that is. This right-hand point break has two sections – one for beginners and one for more advanced surfers. Despite the considerable number of surf schools, this one remains a far less crowded surf spot on the east coast.

Recommended for: All levels


South of Arugam Bay, this small hamlet in the Eastern Province is home to a right-hand point break that is more suitable for experienced surfers. The main break at Okanda is completely exposed, which makes it technical and wild. Steep and fast waves with occasional barrelling sections hit the shore.

Beginners can still have fun at Okanda, as the large rocks to the north of the bay provide some protection and make way for a shallow sandy bay with more mellow waves.

Recommended for: Experienced surfers

Pottuvil Point

North of Arugam Bay, Pottuvil is a right point break, small but hollow, that is more suitable for experienced surfers. This is one of the best right-handers in the island but, unfortunately, it tends to only work in August and September, when it offers incredibly long rides of over 800 meters (0.5 miles). There are multiple take-off points, which means that crowds are rarely an issue.

Recommended for: Experienced surfers

Peanut Farm Beach

A semi-secret surf spot within easy reach from Arugam Bay, Peanut Farm Beach is home to a right-hand point break with two sections: Main Point and Baby Point.

Main Point is a technical wave with a fast take-off and barrelling sections and, therefore, recommended for more experienced surfers. Baby Point is mellower and more suitable for beginners. If you’re lucky, you might see these two connect and catch a long and exciting ride that simply cannot get any better!

Recommended for: All levels

Where to stay:

As with the waves in Sri Lanka, so goes the shelter– there’s something for everyone. From budget accommodation to luxury, you can find it in Sri Lanka.

In the lower budget range (less than $75 USD per night) you can find some decent guesthouses and hostels. You can even find accommodation than $10-$20 USD per night if that’s what you’re looking for. These places will be very basic and you typically won’t get air conditioning at this price.

In the mid-range ($75-$150 per night) there are a lot of great options (many with air conditioning and breakfast included), with new hotels sprouting up regularly. From surf camps to private villas, there are some nice places if you book in advance for the peak season.

In the luxury realm (over $150 per night) you’ll be in for a treat. This is always a nice option if you can swing it. For those of you with a little extra jingle, Sri Lanka has some really incredible hotels and surf retreats on offer. Many luxury options will include extras like breakfast, unlimited filtered water, coffee, snacks and so on. Or if you’re staying at an all-inclusive retreat, most everything will be included in your stay.

Getting to the Surf Hub:

Hiring a tuk-tuk driver is the easiest way to get to the surf in most cases and also part of the fun of surfing Sri Lanka. Most hotels and resorts will be more than happy to help you sort it out. Or you can always chat and negotiate prices with local drivers yourself.


Sri Lankan food is not expensive and their curries are delicious!

When traveling to the island for the first time, many people expect to eat Indian food or “a sort of Indian food”. While there are indeed many South Indian influences, the spices and cooking techniques are different. Sri Lankan cuisine has a unique flavor of its own.

Rice and curry is the national dish, while coconut is a staple ingredient. A truckload of savory spices are added to each meal, from green chilies and turmeric to cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, saffron, and many more. And being an island, Sri Lankans sure know how to cook their seafood.

A cheap local restaurant will cost about Rupees 300/- (Less than US$ 2) for a rice and curry meal. A meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost around Rupees 1,000 (Less than US$ 6-7). At a high-end restaurant a meal will cost you around Rupees 3000 ($10 – $20 USD).

Note: If you’re planning to visit either of the surf provinces in their monsoon season, it’s considered to be “off-season” and will be significantly slower with fewer eating and sleeping options available. Many hotels and restaurants completely close up shop.

Although the monsoon season definitely brings more rain and storms, keep in mind that the weather forecasts are not very accurate for the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. The forecasts may likely show thunderstorms all day every day, but the reality could be a quick rain in the early morning or afternoon.

Sri Lanka is an awesome surf destination with waves for every level of surfer. Questions, comments, or recommendations? Please let us know in the comments below!

Compiled by: Ajith Weerasekera

1 Response
  1. Valeria Cerniglia

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    דירות דיסקרטיות Doreen Meluso

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