Guide to surfing in Sri Lanka

surfer on big waves

Sri Lanka has been attracting surfers to its golden beaches for decades. Yet despite the growing popularity, the waves remain uncrowded and easily accessible. The south-west coast of Sri Lanka has an array of popular beaches including Hikkaduwa, Matara and Weligama. These spots are best visited from November to March. If your travel plans fall outside of those months, do not worry! The most famous surfing spot can be found on the east coast at Arugam Bay best visited from May to September.

Whether you are a pro surfer or a novice looking to improve, Sri Lanka has a bay that will suit you. This short guide includes details on where, when and what to get up to while on a surfing holiday in Sri Lanka!

The South West Coast

If you have looked into surfing in Sri Lanka, the west coast beaches will have likely caught your eye. The stretch of coast from the southern Matara up the west coast to Unawatuna Bay offers visitors hundreds of miles of coastline to explore. From reefs to beaches to point-breaks, this varied coastline will certainly not leave you bored. For beginners, there are some smaller and safer spots in Weligama. Weligama has a natural bay which creates a sheltered surf perfect for practising. Those with experience can head to Mirissa and the hidden spots in between. There is no shortage of surf schools along this coastline and the staff are always keen to share their enthusiasm. Whether you are looking for recommendations, lessons or board hire, surf schools are a great starting point.

beautiful beach in south west coast of Sri Lanka

Where to stay

If surfing is your priority while visiting Sri Lanka then why not stay a stone’s throw from the sea. We have a range of stunning beachside villas for every group size. If you are looking for a bit of luxury after a full day on the waves check out our range of villas in the Galle region. While if you prefer to be closer to the beach our villas in Weligama are perfect for you.

Wondering where to eat in Galle? Check out our Foodie Guide and the best restaurants in Galle!

Looking for lessons?

If you want to check out the surf forecast Magic Seaweed lists the latest swell so you can wake up each morning and plan your day according to forecast. It might be enough info for you to grab a board and go. However, if you need more instruction there are some great surf schools available.

Surf ‘n Lanka is one of the most well-known schools. Situated in Weligama, it’s perfectly placed to allow beginners to try their hand in the sheltered bay. The experienced instructors are friendly and patient and used to teaching all age groups. A one and a half-hour lesson with board rental costs 2,500 LKR. Visitors tend to book a lesson a day to give themselves a chance to improve across their stay.

Ahikava Surf School is situated just south of Galle, this is a great option for those staying inside Galle Fort. The laid-back and friendly instructors offer a range of packages. While you may be content with a taster session, Ahikava also offers a range of packages from 3-5 days and even group lessons.

The East Coast

If you mention surfing in Sri Lanka it won’t be long before you hear ‘Arugam Bay’. This small fishing town is home to an impressive point break which has become a mecca for surfer around the world. There are several points north and south of Arugam Bay which caters to different difficulty levels. While the main Bay can get crowded, there is a long stretch of coast perfect for exploring if you are ready to spot the waves as you go.

calm, tranquil beach in south east coast of Sri Lanka

Where to eat

Arugam has lived up to its surfer reputation with a laid-back vibe and a host of chilled cafes and restaurants. You will be sure to build up an appetite out on the waves so these restaurants offer hearty meals perfect for filling up on after a long day.

Tandoori Hut serves up traditional Indian dishes with the added bonus of fresh and tasty seafood. The tree house vibe of this restaurant is very much in keeping with Arugam Bays laid-back culture. While the friendly staff can offer advice on the local area, most visitors find themselves returning again and again for the fresh naan and hearty portions.

Bambini’s Cafe has a wide range of cuisines, from Sri Lankan authentic, international, seafood, to vegan dishes. The roti, vegetable curry, and other Sri Lankan foods have been recommended by visitors, and the friendly and helpful staff makes the restaurant a must visit-again place. Don’t be fooled by its humble establishment appearance, it is the place where you can enjoy Sri Lankan meals like the locals do..

Looking for lessons?

While Arugam Bay is most popular with experienced surfers, there are still spots which are suitable for beginners. The surf schools along this coast know the surf inside out and can guide you to a range of different environments perfect for growing your confidence and skill level.

Banana Surf School started as a passion project initiated by Iflas Kiyas, known as Ibu, after he left Colombo. From a small garage with 7 surfboards, now it has become one of the most talked about surf schools in the area. Banana Surf School is the place for beginner as well as intermediate surfers, as it offers programs for newbies and seasoned surfers in different locations. As the owner and teacher, Ibu has a good reputation among the students for his fantastic spoken English and his resourceful way of teaching. But in general, the school’s teachers are known to be just as amazing teachers as Ibu.

Safa Surf school is another great option for those looking for a tailor-made experience. Whether you have just one day of a full week, Safa has a package to suit you. The knowledgeable team of instructors can cater to beginner, intermediate and advanced and prioritise the spots which will best suit your ability.

surfing in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has established itself as an internationally recognised surf location- and it’s not hard to see why. The sheer diversity of the coastline makes this an appealing location to surfers of any level. If you are travelling from May to September head up to the East coast. Whilst those in Sri Lanka from November to March should head to the south. With fantastic villas available across Sri Lanka, you’ll be able to stay in style while embracing the laid-back surf lifestyle.

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