Surfing in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an island country that lately has been on every surfers radar. Located in South Asia this island is separated from India subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka as it’s officially known has waves for all levels of surfers ranging from mellow beginners white wash to hollow barrels breaking on top of shallow reefs. The country has three main surf areas: south, east and southwest coast and each one of them works in a different time of the year meaning there will always be waves somewhere in the island. With its friendly people, stunning landscapes, delicious food, interesting architecture and exotic wildlife, Sri Lanka has become one of the most trendy surf destinations among the international surfing community.
Climate in Sri Lanka
The climate in Sri Lanka is tropical with hot and humid weather throughout the whole year. The country is ruled by the monsoons with some occasionally tropical thunderstorms. There are different climate patterns for each side of the island. The best time to surf on the south coast is from November to May. The main surf season on the east coast is from April to October. The water temperature in Sri Lanka is always warm ranging around 28°C (82°F). So no need to pack your wetsuit, just a rash guard will be enough to provide some protection from the sun.
The main patches for surfing are the southwest, south and east coasts. All areas have popular surf breaks as well as some secret spots. The waves in Sri Lanka are known for being long and friendly. Okanda Is located on the east coast and has waves that can be ridden for 60 seconds if your legs don’t start burning before that.
Best surf spots in Sri Lanka
The most famous surf areas in Sri Lanka are Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa in the southwest, Weligama in the south and Arugam Bay in the east. This is where you’ll find a variety of beach and reef breaks like Rams Right, The Rock, Lazy Lefts, Weligama, Plantations, Mirissa Point, Arugam Bay, Pottuvil Point, Whiskey Point, Peanut Farm, Elephant Rock, and Okanda.
Meal price range
Rice and curry -the national dish- starts at $1 USD. Mid-rang meals start at $20 USD. Dining & drinking at high-end restaurants can cost anywhere from $100-190 USD
You’ll be able to find rental shops or surf schools to rent from at most of the biggest surf spots. Boards start at $2 USD per hour or $5 USD a day.
Prepaid SIM cards
Mobitel or Dialog are a good choice. SIM cards can easily be purchased from the airport. Prepaid packages start at around $6 USD.
Buses are the country's main mode of transport. They cover most towns, are cheap but are often crowded. Only a few routes have air-con.
Train network is improving and serves major towns and can be more comfortable than buses.
Taxis can easily be found in all of the larger cities and towns.
It is very common to hire a car and driver because you must obtain a temporary Sri Lankan driving license to legally drive a car. You can find taxi drivers who will happily become your chauffeur for a day or more in all the main tourist centres. Expect to pay around $60 USD a day, excluding fuel.
$0.84 USD a liter.
Types of risks
Top surf breaks tend to get crowded.
How to prepare
Citizens from 48 countries, including EU, US, and Australia, can enter Sri Lanka without a visa for up to 6 months.
Although it's not mandatory, it’s recommended that you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, Tdap, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella.
Things to know
Language & Currency
Sinhala and Tamil are the two official languages of Sri Lanka. English is widely spoken as well.
Sri Lankan Rupee is the currency.
Best time to go
In the Southern Province, the best conditions can be found during the dry season, between November and April.
In the Eastern Province, the main surfing season runs from May through September. This is the dry season on the east coast.
Checking Surf forecast
Checking the forecast about a week before your trip is always a good idea. Understanding what the waves will be like and knowing what gear to pack is essential. You can check the forecast for the waves here.
Do I need pack a pharmacy kit
You should bring a basic kit. Including ear drops, eye drops, bandaids, ear plugs, gaze, alcohol, mosquito repellent and broad spectrum antibiotic ointment.
World Nomads has great travel insurance packages that are not super expensive and they cover surfing.
Dial 118/119 for the police. Dial 110 for an ambulance
Check surf pictures of Sri Lanka at #surfsrilanka.