Sri Lanka is the destination on everyone’s radar, with its jaw-dropping landscapes, stunning architecture and exotic wildlife – everything from leopards to elephants. But there’s another reason to visit this unassuming island off the south coast of India, when the expansive beaches and blue waves can be appreciated at their fullest: surfing. Whether you’re trying the sport for the first time, eager to brush up your skills or you’re a dedicated surfer constantly searching for the best waves around the world, Sri Lanka has the beach for you (and a beautiful ones at that) all throughout the year. So, get that surfboard waxed as we show you where to surf in Sri Lanka.
The country is a year-round destination because of the seasonal patterns that mean when one coast is choppy, the other is calm. The rains take turns hitting from different directions, too. There will always be waves somewhere. In the south you’ll find perfection between November and May; on the east coast aim for April to October, when the waves are longer. The most famous areas are Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa in the southwest, Weligama in the south and Arugam Bay in the east.
Sri Lanka is world-famous for surfing and has breaks suitable for all levels, so you’ll be in seventh heaven whether you’re a hardcore surfer or you’ve not yet mastered standing on a board
WEATHER IN SRI LANKA
The weather in Sri Lanka is like you’d expect on a tropical island. Mostly hot and humid with some tropical thunderstorms rolling through here and there to cool things down a bit. For both the eastern and the southwest provinces, if you’re chasing the best surf your timing will coincide with the hotter and drier season. This means temperatures will likely be in the 86-104 degrees Fahrenheit range or 30-40 degrees Celsius. And it can often feel hotter than what your average weather app is telling you, so you might want to stick with surfing in the mornings and evenings as often as possible to avoid the brutal sun and heat.
TYPES OF SURF BREAKS
Sri Lanka has a variety of surf breaks to choose from and something for everyone. You will find sand bottom points, beach breaks, reef breaks and other interesting little set ups along the way.
For the most part, many of the breaks are fairly user-friendly, making Sri Lanka an excellent option for the beginner to intermediate surfer.
If you’re an advanced surfer seeking a bit more juice or some hollow barrels, you can find that too. However, don’t go expecting Indonesia type consistency, quality, and power.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
Once again, Sri Lanka is a great place to learn to surf or to hone your skills and advance into some more serious waves. With a variety of user-friendly waves and some really great surf instructors to help you progress, surfing in Sri Lanka caters to all levels of experience.
SEASON AND SWELL INFO
There are two main surf hubs in Sri Lanka– on the Southwest Coast around Ahangama and Weligama, and in the Eastern Province around Arugam Bay.
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.
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.