Surfing in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean with a history that spans over 3,000 years. The country offers visitors long sandy beaches, high mountain ranges, exotic animals and lots of natural wonders. The diverse topography has something for everyone and guarantees unforgettable adventures.
Those looking to experience an urban oasis can visit the country’s big, bustling cities that are unlike any Western travellers have experienced before. For those focusing on sports-focused holiday, there are great opportunities for snorkelling, swimming, surfing and hiking.
The waters around Sri Lanka are known for their great diving conditions and colourful underwater scenes. When it comes to surfing, the country has so much to offer much of which has yet to be discovered.
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Due to its proximity to the equator, Sri Lanka has a tropical climate with high average temperatures of 30-35 degrees. These already high temperatures feel even warmer due to the high air-humidity of 80-90%. In the mountain regions, the climate is cooler during the day and temperatures can drop to 10-16 degrees at night. The hottest months are March and April when the sun stands vertically over the country.
May to August is monsoon season, which brings especially heavy rain in the southwest of the country. In the north and in the east, the highest amount of rain comes down during December and January. The best time to travel in the east and northeast is therefore from March till November. The best time to visit the southwest portion of the country is from November until March. Another good time to vacation in Sri Lanka is from January until the middle of April as these months have low rainfall.
The southwest of Sri Lanka is best suited for surfing as these areas receive constant swells that also reach the Indonesian coast. In the seventies, Arugam Bay was one of the most popular surf spots worldwide; however, after 1983, the area became dangerous due to outbreaks of civil war. Many surfers turned to other destinations on the southwest coast where numerous reef breaks hit the coast close to Hikkaduwa. The most famous spot in this region is called Main Reef. Due to its popularity, it is often crowded and dominated by locals. There are other spots where you will find fewer people on the line-ups. Thanks to warm water, only body shorts or Lycra is necessary.
The best surf conditions can be found from May to September on Sri Lanka’s south east coast as the swell is smaller the rest of the year.
Best surfing season for beginner: September – May
Best surfing season for advanced surfer: May – September
Crowd factor: Higher on the well known spots
The easiest way to get to Sri Lanka from Europe is by air travel. Flights operate from all European airports daily to Bandaranayake International Airport (CMB), the only international airport on Sri Lanka. There are also smaller airports that fly regionally.
The state rail network Sri Lanka Railways connects the bigger cities throughout the country. Currently plans are underway to construct high-speed railways in order to enhance the national transport system and to strengthen the economy. The Sri Lanka Transport bus system and taxis are also cheap options for getting around.