All About Surfing in Sri Lanka – A Complete Guide

October 29, 2020

All About Surfing in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is, indeed, an increasingly popular destination for surfing enthusiasts and with good reason. Hence, this article will tell all about surfing in Sri Lanka. We shall cover the following aspects

  • The History of Surfing in Sri Lanka
  • Quick Info about Sri Lanka’s weather, water temperature, and more
  • Where to surf
  • Surfing in Sri Lanka – Good or Bad?
  • Best Time To Surf in Sri Lanka

And, the list goes on. We have a lot more in store for you! So, don’t stop reading midway because this post is quite elaborate and is filled with important information regarding surfing in Sri Lanka. Let’s begin!

After several chaotic years between civil war and natural disasters, Sri Lanka has been rebuilt to become today a flagship destination for all travellers looking for scenery, warmth and surfing.

Majority of the travellers believe that Sri Lanka is all about the coconut trees and seafood. While that’s true, there are so many more things that makes Sri Lanka the perfect destination. Whether it is a honeymoon tour or an adventure-filled trip, the island nation offers something or the other to the tourists.

More than two million tourists are now heading for the island that was called Ceylon, in the heart of the Indian Ocean. With year-round surfing between the east and west coasts, tropical warmth, rich cultural life and a welcoming population, Sri Lanka has it all.

History of Surfing in Sri Lanka

As soon as you type “surf” and “Sri Lanka” in any search engine, you will quickly come across the information that surfing was brought back by the Australians, several decades ago. They settled mainly in Arugam Bay, where spots for all levels are featured.

Sri Lanka has become famous for surfers, as it is possible to surf there all year; from April to November in Arugam Bay, and from October to March in the southern beaches. Still, you can find places, like Weligama, where the climate is almost the same all year round.

Quick Info

Best Surf Spots: Mirissa, Arugam Bay, Whisky Point, Tangalla, Matara, Weligama, Unawatuna Bay

Water temperature: 27°C to 28°C

Wave season: November to March in the southwest of the country (Hikkaduwa); May to September to the east (Arugam Bay).

Language: Sinhala and Tamil

Time zone: GMT +5:30

Mandatory vaccines: no

Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee

Where to surf?

The south coast of the country receives the same long SW (South West) swells as those that spice up the Indonesian spots.

Do you, due to the monsoon, prefer to venture southwest from November to April to have the guarantee of finding glassy conditions with a still reasonable size? Here are some spots you should not miss:


Mirissa is in itself a small phenomenon in Sri Lanka. Famous for being the city where people party the most, there are countless activities, restaurants but also a golden sandy beach as far as the eye can see.

The area is, you understood, a tourist wish. Yet, the short straight that runs on the reef may attract you, unless you do not have the level.

Generally, the wave of Mirissa, located completely in the south of the country, is a beautiful discovery that will please both beginners and advanced surfers.

You are strongly advised to surf the wave at high tide. For this spot, be careful where you put your feet: the seabed is composed of reef, rocks and sea urchins. Nothing that does good!

Your best chance of having a good session is early in the morning or at sunset. It will still be necessary to fight a little with the locals who have a good level, but by walking away from a few kilometers, there is a good chance that you will find a more tranquil spot.

Did you know that Mirissa is specifically known for its whale watching tours? Once you are done with the surfing tour, make sure you get in touch with an operator who can arrange a whale watching tour for you. You cannot miss this for the world!

Arugam Bay

Best time to go: May to July.

To present the Bay of Arugam is the must-see place for surfers.  

It is likely that this is the place where you will meet the most Australian. This is a great plan to collect some surfing tips! In addition you find surf shops everywhere. It is also one of the few places to party in Sri Lanka.

Spots in order of level (from highest to least):

Peanut Farm: This spot is quite high. It is in the south of Arugam Bay.

Arugam Bay Beach: The village is bordered by the ocean and it happens to be a nice spot. It is enough to move away from the abundant population to rediscover a spot almost deserted, depending on the time it is.

Here too you need a certain level. Also, be careful because on this side we find plates of dead coral. Be careful with the scratches.

Whisky point: This one is to the north, just after Pottuvil. Pottuvil is the town next to the small village. An intermediate level is recommended. That said, it remains a good spot for everyone.

Generated by a rock break point, the wave ultimately runs aground on the sand.

In high season, many Israelis take advantage of their holidays to sunbathe. Beware of bathers near the beach! To relax, head to the Sababa Surf Café, a bar and a beach relaxation area!

E lephant Rock: This is the perfect spot to start learning surfing. The waves are small and it is very good to start to apprehend the ocean!

Arugam Bay is especially known to give you a long ride on the waves. Plus, it has breaks that are suitable for all levels. If you have some time to spare, head to Yala National Park before you head out for a surfing tour. Yala is known for housing Sri Lankan leopards. They are suave, elegant, and are a visual treat for sore eyes.


You dream of a surf spot as technical as desert? You have exactly what you need!

Located on the southwest coast nearly 200 kilometers from Colombo, the small town of Tangalla is home to one of the island’s favourite beaches: Amanwella.

Its name, which means “quiet beach”, already gives you a glimpse of what awaits you on the spot: a little-known break with regular, high and powerful waves. Here, swimming is not recommended so you will have the ocean just for you!

A must for surfing off the beaten track in Sri Lanka!


Hikkaduwa is a small town on the south-west coast; on the south of Colombo at a small 100 km. It is also a recognized place for surfing. You can find chic cafes, hangout spots, rental shops, and bars around this area. Do note that it is a well-developed surf town.

Hikkaduwa is a perfect A-frame peak for all levels, for regular like goofy, from shortboard to longboard. The bottom is not sandy but the wave is easily negotiated.

 The beach of Hikkaduwa extends for several kilometers. You will find several breaks for different levels: North Jetty and its powerful waves for experienced surfers, Man Reef and its perfect swell for beginner surfers. A must have!

No matter what the season is, the waves are always clean and it seldom goes flat. For beginners, the A-frame break happens to be ideal. But, if you are an advanced level swimmer, you will still find large swells at Hikkaduwa.


Matara is a beachbreak all that is most classic, and therefore suitable for the greatest number. Previously considered a secret spot, word of mouth has democratized the place ever since. This right will spoil you sometimes of a ride of nearly 200 meters long!

Unawatuna Bay

Unawatuna Surf Point is located 5 km south of the city of Galle. This reef created by the hand of the man in 2013 to protect the temple right in front has modified the wave but retained its potential.

 If the spot does not work, don’t hesitate to talk to local schools who will know where to take you. The spot itself is not overcrowded, probably because the reef, the corals and the sea urchins dissuade surfers who do not have an advanced level.

Unawatuna remains very pleasant for a few days, with 4 “highlights” of the village:

  • A large bay for the main beach
  • Jungle Beach: yet not easy to access, even on a scooter, we were surprised by the number of people who were there.
  • Many diving centers
  • The famous and the illustrious “Palmtree Swing”, become a bit the ambassador of the beaches of southern Sri Lanka on Instagram

The left-hand break is best-suited for advanced surfers. And, the shallow break is best-suited for beginners. You will find both these reef breaks here. Ideally, carry a long board with you. The waves do not exceed more than 4 feet.

If you are interesting in indulging in more activities, there are diving schools, kite surfing option, and superlative snorkel sites. Wouldn’t you want to try something new and fun?


Weligama is another perfect spot to work quietly on your techniques. The bay offers consistent surf and quiet waves, perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers.

Weligama seems to be the perfect destination for its initiation to surfing. The bay is large and many schools are present all year round.

The venue has become a must-see for backpackers and travelers. New restaurants and cafes hatch every month on every street corner.

Ideally, beginners should head to Weligama to experience left breaks. A beginner can easily handle the left beach break at Weligama!

In case you want to get away from the crowd and find bigger waves, head to the same direction as Mirissa.


Often called “the secret beach”, Hiri gradually becomes the most prominent bay in Sri Lanka. It is the perfect place to hang out, snorkel and surf quiet waves away from the wind.

Haven’t you made your choice yet? Do want to know more surfing secrets about this amazing country? Let’s then find out all about surfing in Sri lanka!

These were the best spots to visit in Sri Lanka for a surfing tour. The question is – What are the positive and negative sides of surfing in Sri Lanka? You will find that out in the next section. Let’s begin!

Surfing in Sri Lanka – Is it Good or Bad?

Surfing is an enjoyable activity in Sri Lanka. When you head to the island nation, you will realize that the weather is warm yet pleasant. The water is perfect during morning and evenings! Thus, surfers can choose one of the two slots and head out for a surfing session.

There are different surfing spots for beginners and the advanced surfers can always head to the more challenging surf spots.The only downside that you may encounter is that during peak season, the beaches have a swarm of tourists.

Best Time to Surf in Sri Lanka

The country has two major monsoon periods in the year: from May to September in the southwest and the mountains, and from October to March on the east coast.

We will therefore prefer the period from November to April to go surfing in the south-west, the best time for those who live in France and want to go looking for the sun when winter begins to settle. We find good waves rather fun and especially a consistent offshore wind.

The coast between Hikkaduwa and Arugam Bay, from southwest to southwest is full of good spots, from magic point-breaks to more technical reef-breaks.We found an excellent surfing video for you! If you are still contemplating whether you want to go to Sri Lanka or not, this video will clear the bubble of perplexity.

In the video, you will get to see the beauty of the waves in Sri Lanka. Both beginners and advanced level surfers enjoy the activity. It is actually quite safe to surf in Sri Lanka! Since we have mentioned the best spots for beginners and advanced-level surfers, it will be easy for you to find the best place for a surf session.

Ideally, you can take advantage of the surfing schools. They will teach you everything and you will also get certified. Surfing is also about maintaining a posture and balancing your body on the long board. The surfers get transported to another world when they are on the long board. So, check out this video as it gives you detailed information about the wonders of surfing in Sri Lanka.

After all, the beaches are filled with coconut trees and the water’s temperature is perfect throughout the year. Surfers will enjoy being here and crashing the waves with their long board.

Start Surfing: Session and Tips

Order: warm-up! Before each session, ankle, knees, shoulders, elbow, etc. All joints must be heated. (Note: at your own risk, otherwise sprains or fractures are not rare!)

All the first lessons will unfold in the same way:

15-20 minutes learning to stand on the board on the sand.

Learn how to stand on the board in the water while being carried by the wave and to have balance (“make the balance”).

Get ready to catch the wave (“catch the wave”).

Learn to grab the wand and stand on the board

If you manage to master the last step, you can say that you have successfully completed your initiation.

Some Basics You Need to Know

  • Always head out with a surfing instructor. It is possible that the beaches may not have a lifeguard. To protect yourself from crashing waves and not getting lost, head to the beach with an instructor or a guide.
  • Choose the surf spot wisely! As a beginner, you would want to choose a break that is easy to handle.
  • The ocean belongs to everyone – you, the locals, and the instructors. EVERYONE! Don’t be hesitant to share the space with everyone around you. When you are going out for a surf session, make sure you respect the locals and the ocean.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. Since the weather is pleasant and not too hot, you can wear summery clothes such as a bikini, shorts, or anything that allow you to move freely. Wear a breathable fabric clothing! Plus, you should opt for something that you are comfortable in getting drenched.

Tips for Avid Surfers

Think that everyone has his level and progresses in his own way. Some will need a lesson to pass this step, others from 3 or 4. Outside of the lessons, think about practice, ideally 1 or 2 hours between each lesson. Working alone can be helpful.

At what time of the day can you surf?

The purists will tell you at sunrise and sunset! It is there that it is less hot and also that there is less wind in the bay.

In fact, in the morning you will have to wait for the schools to open, between 7am and 8am.

Do not force yourself at first and never actually! Do not do more than two or three hours a day at the risk of hurting yourself. Don’t get tired unnecessarily because surfing is exhausting (you have to go up your board, fight against the waves, etc.).

Ideally, choose the morning time before 11 AM. That’s because the water is of the right temperature and the waves are generous enough for the perfect surf tour. Afternoons get too hot, but you can enjoy other activities around the area. Plan out your day accordingly, but keep the surfing tour in the morning or after 3:30 PM.

Surfing Cost in Sri Lanka

It is, indeed, unreasonable to reveal all about surfing in Sri Lanka without mentioning the fees.The “normal” price of a lesson is 2,500 rupees, but by trading you can fall to 3,000 rupees for 2 people; the lesson of 1:30, all inclusive (t-shirt and board).

Most schools descend to 2000 Rs/person easily.When you go to a school to negotiate the price, find out what it includes. Some schools do one hour of lessons, others 1 hour 30, and others include extra time with the board for free.

The rental of the board for one hour is 250Rs. The courses are generally good and Weligama is really the ideal spot for beginners. Please note that the prices could differ depending on the tour operator you choose. You can find board rental services at some of the shops on the beaches.

Some also include sunscreen and wifi. Speak to the tour operator about the charges. Sometimes, you might get a great package in which everything is included. Make sure you choose a legit operator who has knowledge about the best spots for surfing. It is easy to fall prey to amateur operators! A well-known operator will have his/her own website, reviews on Google, and perhaps the locals know him too well.

Where to Eat?

The Beach Club Talpe: to relax, have a drink and eat by the pool, facing the Indian Ocean.

The Shack: a menu inspired by both the West and the Sri Lankan tradition. Breakfasts are particularly good. Closing around 18-19h, it is not possible to have dinner there.

KK: to book before making a passage. The property features a swimming pool, spa and of course a restaurant where fresh produce is in the spotlight.

WB Talpe: the perfect place to watch the sunset. WB Talpe is a delicious Italian restaurant nestled on the coast. Reservations recommended!!

Bed Space: a very cool restaurant/bar located in Unawatuna. It has the perfect atmosphere and original menu.

Do not shy away from eating a variety of seafood on the beaches. Sometimes, you can find fishermen on the beach who bring fresh fish from the ocean. You will get to eat fresh fish on beaches! You could also indulge in a whale and dolphin watching tour. That’s one of the USPs of Sri Lanka! You can find a variety of dolphins and whales around the area. Get in touch with an operator as they will be able to book the tour for you!

Place you must visit

The Surf Villa in the Hikkaduwa region combines luxury, comfort and cleanliness in the midst of gardens reminiscent of the wild character of Asia.

A visit is a great way to support the local economy while discovering this beautiful region in the south-west of the country with entertaining people.

Another must-see is Peanut Farm, about a 15-minute drive from Arugam Bay. This accommodation offers huts on stilts (on land however), a small coffee and hammocks to take a nap.

It feels completely disconnected since Peanut Farm is far from the hordes of tourists and the movement they cause. Pure peace to the sound of the waves and the song of the birds!

Apart from these activities, you can explore the hilly towns or the national parks in Sri Lanka. It depends on what you want to do! If you wish to relax and have a good time, there are luxurious properties that have private pools and Jacuzzi as well. What’s in YOUR to-do list?

Concluding Thoughts

Please remember there are two wet seasons in Sri Lanka. If you are heading to Arugam Bay, May to July is the best time to surf. Make sure you are carrying enough sunscreen and wear comfortable clothing. There are some other activities you can indulge in and these include lazing on the beaches. After the surfing session, you can soak up the sun and lie down on the golden sand. If not, you can swim at one of the beaches. Avoid heading to the beach during afternoon as the weather gets mucky and the water becomes choppy.

Apart from lazing on the beach, you can also head to Ella for a hiking tour. Head to Haputale for a tea garden tour. Witness the famous Sigiriya Rock! Its historically relevant and is certainly pleasing to the human eye. So, plan a tour soon and witness the true beauty of Sri Lanka! It is the ideal spot for adventure enthusiasts and it welcomes both beginners and advanced level surfers.

If you are keen to get some real water action, come to Sri Lanka, rent a board and start surfing! Ideally, join a surfing school to know everything about this adventure activity.


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Richard Wilson Pro Pic

Hi, I am Richard, I moved to Sri Lanka with my family in 2016. We launched the website so we can share what we experience, learn with anyone interested in visiting Sri Lanka. The country is such an amazing island. I invite all of you to be here at least once in your lifetime.