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Surfing in Sri Lanka: Your Guide to the Best Waves

by Octavia Drughi

The go-to resource for planning your surf camps. Find all you need to know about the top destinations and take your surfing to new heights.
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Previously known as Ceylon, the land of tea and coffee, coconuts and cinnamon, 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, and you have an easily accessible tropical surfing paradise! 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 go surfing in Sri Lanka?


Image credit: Mellow Hostel

With two distinct surf seasons for each side of the island, Sri Lanka is a year-round surfing destination that deserves a place of honor on your bucket list.

Boasting a great choice of waves and the highest biodiversity density in Asia, Sri Lanka is also a budget and family-friendly destination. Non-surfers can practice yoga, visit ancient Buddhist ruins and tea plantations, as well as go on exciting safaris. 

And did I mention that the food in Sri Lanka is simply delicious? And cheap! Think fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood, and the best tea and coffee you’ve probably ever had.

To give you a better picture of how impressive this small teardrop-shaped island south of India really is, you should know that ancient Persians and Arabs called it Serendip, which is the origin of the English word ‘serendipity.’ 

If I managed to convince you to make the trip, then here are the best surfing spots in Sri Lanka that you simply must check out:


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.

Ahangama is the capital of surfing in the Southern Province. Thanks to its prime location, numerous surf camps are based here and take surfers to the nearby breaks at Unawatuna, Weligama, Midigama, and Mirissa. You’ll find anything from mellow beach breaks to punchy reefs all within easy reach from Ahangama.

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




Recommended forBeginners and intermediate surfers

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 colorful 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.

» In need of some recommendations? Check out this list of handpicked surf camps in Sri Lanka that you can join any time of the year.




Image credit: Coco Bay Unawatuna

Recommended forAll levels

One of the most visited beaches in Sri Lanka, Unawatuna 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 snorkeling sites, dive schools, and kitesurfing opportunities. 


Lazy Left and Lazy Right (Midigama)


Image credit: Camp Poe

Recommended for: All levels

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.

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. You will also find some cool kitesurfing conditions in the bay.

There is another right-hand reef break at Midigama that is more suitable for experienced surfers, which goes by the name of Rams. This powerful A-frame wave breaks over a shallow and sharp coral, has a fast take-off, and offers quite a long ride.




Image credit: Eraeliya Villas & Gardens

Recommended for: Beginners and intermediate surfers

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.

Weligama can be translated into ‘sandy village.’ When the conditions are just right, it can offer some long rides on right and left beach breaks that even first-timers can tackle. 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.




Recommended for: All levels

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

» Join a surf camp in Mirissa


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.


Arugam Bay


Image credit: Bay Vista Hotel

Recommended for: All levels

Sri Lanka’s surfing mecca, 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.

» Join a surf camp in Arugam Bay.

A few hours south of Arugam Bay, a safari in Yala National Park is a must-do on your rest days – you’ll see herds of elephants, leopards, sloth bears, buffaloes, crocodiles, and birds. 


Elephant Rock


Photo credit: hideawayarugambay.com

Recommended for: All levels

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.




Photo credit: surfline.com


Recommended for: Experienced surfers

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 barreling 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

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.


Peanut Farm Beach


Recommended for: All levels

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 barreling 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!


**Cover image credit: Elsewhere Surf Camps

Pack your surfboard and boardshorts and escape the harsh winters back home by going on an exciting tropical surf camp in Sri Lanka!

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