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.
Sri Lanka surf has grown popularity over the years with surfers far and wide. This sand bottom point break paradise is ideal for surfers of every level.
With two distinct surf seasons for each side of the island, Sri Lanka has great surf all year round. All the surf is happens on either the Southern and Eastern sides of Sri Lanka.
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.
Located just to the south of India, Sri Lanka sits in the Indian Ocean. Essentially, Sri Lanka is effected by the same swells as Indonesia. Since the swells have to travel a further distance, they can be less powerful.
- November – March is the driest and sunniest time of year and also a great time to check out the South surf regions of Hikkaduwa, Weligama, and Dickwella just to name a few. Although Hikkaduwa is never usually flat and a good pick to spend most of your surf trip around. Just know early morning is the best time. As winds take the most effect in the late morning.
- April – October is the most reliable season for swell. On the regular, expect 3 – 8ft during this time of year. Arugam Bay is a great spot this time of year.
Surfing in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka
Between November and April, the west coast gets morning offshore winds. These create clean waves. This time of year is also considered dry season in Sri Lanka.
The south coast gets most of the swell hitting the west and east coast. Essentially, this means the southern tip of the island rarely goes flat. Also, it's always sunny in the south coast of Sri Lanka. Expect 300+ days of sunshine every year with water temps around 81ºF (27ºC) all year round.
Ahangama is the capital of surfing in the Southern Province. Because of it's great surfing location, you can find many surf camps are centered around this area as they can take you to close by breaks. Surf spots such as Unawatuna, Weligama, Midigama, and Mirissa.
Here is the best Sri Lanka surf in the Southern Province:
Sri Lanka surf: Hikkaduwa
Hikkaduwa is a small town in the Galle District. It's the surfing capital of Sri Lanka’s southwest coast. This is the most developed surf town on the island. You'll find cafes and bars along the main road. As well as surf schools, and surfboard shops. When you're not surfing, enjoy diving and snorkeling to see the colorful reefs.
All year round, the waves at Hikkaduwa rarely go flat. The break is perfect for beginners because of the sandy bottoms it breaks on. Those looking for bigger waves will not be disappointed either, as the break can handle large swells too.
Sri Lanka surf: Unawatuna
Unawatuna is the most visited beach in Sri Lanka. This surf spot consists of a left-hand reef break more ideal for advanced surfers. There is also a shallow beach break with a sandy bottom for beginners. The waves here rarely exceed 4ft (1.2m). So if you're looking for longboard waves, look no further.
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.
Sri Lanka surf: Lazy Left and Lazy Right (Midigama)
Midigama is the home of two popular breaks. Just like their names, they're chill and perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers. Just pay attention if there is a big swell in the surf forecast. Which will create days only for advanced surfers.
Lazy Left and Lazy Right are opposite of each other on the bay in Midigama. Both are longboard friendly point breaks, and are the most fun during low tide. Expect long rides of up to 500 meters (1,600 ft) on ideal days. This area is also popular for kitesurfing.
If you're a more advanced surfer, check out the right-hand reef break at Midigama known as Rams. This wave breaks over a shallow and sharp coral, has a fast take-off, and offers quite a long ride.
Sri Lanka surf: Weligama
Ideal for beginners, Weligama is a popular surf spot all year round. It's regarded as one of surf spots in Sri Lanka, as it can be surfed even when it’s small.
Weligama can be translated into ‘sandy village.’ Expect some really long rides when the conditions are perfect. Fun for beginners, be aware that this spot can get crowded with surfers.
Sri Lanka surf: Mirissa
Still in the south of Sri Lanka, just east of Weligama, Mirissa is a beautiful bay with an easy right-hand reef break perfect for all level of surfers. Don't expect any crowds at Mirissa.
When you're not surfing, this area is great for see whales. If you're lucky you might find yourself in the surf with dolphins.
Surfing in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka
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.
Here is the best Sri Lanka surf in the Eastern Province:
Sri Lanka surf: Arugam Bay
Sri Lanka’s surfing center, Arugam Bay on the east coast.
There is a right-hand point break in the bay and is great for all levels of surfers between April and October. Arguably the best wave in Sri Lanka, it breaks over a reef and gives you extremely long rides. Ideal if you're a longboardier.
When you're not surfing head south of Arugam Bay to take in Yala National Park. It's one of the best places so witness herds of elephants, leopards, sloth bears, buffaloes, crocodiles, and birds.
Sri Lanka surf: Elephant Rock
Just south of the main break at Arugam Bay, Elephant Rock offers one point for beginners and one for experienced surfers. Despite the high number of surf schools, this surf spot is less crowded.
Sri Lanka surf: Okanda
South of Arugam Bay, Okanda has a right-hand point break only for experienced surfers. Completely exposed, this break makes it steep and fast. Beginners can still enjoy surfing at Okanda. Look for the large rocks to the north which protect a shallow sandy bay with more mellow waves.