The Ultimate Guide to Sri Lanka Surf

by Asia Kaczmarczyk

Ditch the wetsuit, grab a coconut and tropical wax, Sri Lanka surf is warm-water heaven. Reef breaks, beach breaks, point breaks – there’s all sorts on this stunning island.

Sri Lanka surf at a glance

The good:

  • Warm water.
  • Chilled surf towns with coconut palms and gorgeous beaches.
  • Approachable reef breaks for intermediates looking to move up.

The bad:

  • Some crowded breaks.
  • Some busy lineups.
  • Not many surf shops to buy your gear.

What will I find in this guide to surfing in Sri Lanka?

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This guide is a part of our larger ultimate guide to surfing in Asia

An introduction to Sri Lanka surf

Sri Lanka surf

When most people think of Sri Lanka, they think of mystical Buddhist temples and coconut-infused curries. Only recently has surfing come into the frame on this tropical island. But boy has it gained popularity fast.

These days, the whole south and west coasts, from Colombo to Tangalle, and the surf mecca of Arugam Bay, are on the map of wave hunters. They’re not quite as built up as Bali (yet!). But thousands come in search of their promised breaks.

And what breaks they are! Variety is the keyword. Most are reefs of some shape or form, starting with zippy shallow reefs with high walls and barrels near Ram’s and Mirissa going all the way to mellow A-frame reefs like the ones in Midigama. You’ll also get some beach breaks, like the up-coming peaks of SK Town, or the fun beginner-intermediate wave of Hiriketiya (a personal fav).

On top of all that, you can look forward to a Sri Lankan surf culture that uber-chilled. There’s hardly a trace of localism to be found on the main breaks. Most people are forever smiling, happy to help you get to grips with the reefs, and have a little chat in the lineup.

The top Sri Lanka surf spots

There are more Sri Lanka surf spots than you can shake a bowl of dal at – but don’t do that, it’s too good to waste! From the popular bays of the south-west to the legend that is Arugam Bay, this guide has info on the lot, along with in-depth guides to each destination in their own right.

Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay

Think Sri Lanka surf, think Arugam Bay. This surfing mecca is the jewel of the east coast. It’s known for having brilliant conditions during the summer months June-October, when the rest of the island is in monsoon.

A great mix of waves are on the menu. There’s fast Elephant Rock with its barrels. There’s Baby Point with is sand-bottomed breaks for novices. Oh, and the town is a blast after dark!

Read our full ultimate guide to Arugam Bay surf



Shh – please don’t tell too many people about Hiri! We’ve just dusted off a week surfing in this hidden horseshoe bay in the south and we fell in love. Muddy roads and friendly Sri Lankan homestays are the name of the game.

The break itself has the best of both worlds – a beginner beach wave that rolls into golden sands; a steep reef that rockets over shallow stone.

Read our full ultimate guide to Hiriketya Bay surf


Dickwella surf

Dickwella is a bustling town that’s sat on the far south coast of Sri Lanka. It’s been known for its beaches for some time, but only recently is its surf scene becoming a thing. That’s largely down to the excellent waves and chilled out vibe found in Hiriketiya Bay just over the headland, but there are also some other spots in the vicinity worth checking…

Read our full ultimate guide to Dickwella surf

SK Town

SK Town waves

We’ve got a real soft spot for this hidden beach break midway between Dickwella and Mirissa.

The name SK Town actually refers to the cluster of Sri Lankan surf camps and hostels that sit on the eastern end of the bay, but there are great peaks to be had right up and down the length. On heavy days, this one shapes up into neat wedges that can go both left and right. When it’s really powerful, closeouts are the game.

Read our full ultimate guide to surfing in SK Town


Mirissa wave

If you can pull yourself away from your pina colada and coconut juice, Mirissa has a few waves that might be worth a look in.

It’s not your out and out Sri Lanka surf mecca like some of the other places on this list, but it’s got a popular reef on its western side and a really easy-going beach break with a few foam board rentals.

Read our complete guide to the surf in Mirissa right now



Surfing in Sri Lanka for beginners at its very best. Weligama hugs a huge bay on the southern end of the island. It’s protected from the heaviest swells by two elongated headlands.

So, even when there are high walls bashing through the reefs of nearby Midigama, you can catch slow, soft beach breaks here. And it is all a beach break, with some of the highest-rated Sri Lanka surf camps going on the road just behind.

Check out our ultimate guide to Weligama surf


Coconuts Midigama

When the December offshores cut through the Midigama coast, the waves here can offer some seriously fun rides. There are a few worth marking on your Sri Lanka surf spots map.

Start with Coconuts, a neat left-hander that goes right-left fast and hollow. Then graduate to Ram’s where high barrels crash right in front of a few uber-cool surf houses.

Read our full ultimate guide to Midigama surf spots


Ahangama surf spots

Ahangama is the area that comes on the Matara Road after Midigama. It keeps the reef theme going with island favourites like Rajith Point, which has even been used for local surf competitions. However, Ahanagma is long and drawn out along the shoreline, so there’s room for beach breaks like the upcoming spot at Kabalana too. Expect some of the best Sri Lankan surf camps of all in this region!

Read our full ultimate guide to Ahangama’s surf spots


Coconuts Midigama

Unawatuna is well-linked to the south-western city of Galle. It’s also got a good spread of breaks, starting with super-chilled beginner beaches and leading to fast reefs for intermediates. It’s a great place to begin any Sri Lankan surf journey, mainly because it’s accessible, has decent surf schools, and is connected to nearby Ahangama and Midigama for when it’s time to progress.

Check our complete guide to the surf in Unawatuna


Hikkaduwa surf

Hikkaduwa might just be the most popular Sri Lanka surf spot on the south-west coast. That’s why you’ll almost always find a lineup out in the water. There’s lots to get stuck into.

The main beach is the place where the surf schools operate. It’s a sand-bottom break with some fun peaks if the swell’s up. More expert surfers can head to Benny’s, a high-speed and steep reef left hander that’s adrenaline through and through.

Read our full ultimate guide to Hikkaduwa surf

What we’d take on a surf trip to Sri Lanka…

Recommended gear to take to Sri Lanka

  • Rash vest – It’s warm enough here to surf in a rashie all year round but we’d say get one with good SPF protection.
  • Board shorts – This completes the normal Sri Lanka surf set for men.
  • Bikinis – Ladies can go with a bikini all year here, so bag one that’s suited to surfing (AKA – not too many loose straps)
  • Sun cream – NEVER surf in Sri Lanka without a very good sunblock.
  • A surfboard bag – Qatar Airways currently run the only route into Sri Lanka offering free board carrying. Thing is, it’s GOTTA’ be packed right and must be <6 foot.

Our favourite Sri Lanka surf lodges

Sri Lanka has arguably the best range of upcoming surf camps in Asia right now. Seriously, it’s like every time we go back there’s another one in the mix. Here are a few that we have the fondest memories of. Enjoy!

Dreamsea Sri Lanka ($$)

Right by the reefs on the main Matara Road in Ahangama, this boho-chic hotel is one of our new favorites on the south-west coast. You’ll be near Kabalana and the reef breaks of Midigama but get to bed down in uber-cool suites that open onto balconies facing the Indian Ocean. The garden is spectacular, with a small pool and a specking of coast palms before the sea. This is what you’ve been dreaming of folks!

Le Cabanon ($$)

Best for: Your own surf shack by one of the island’s very best breaks

One of the great things about Sri Lanka is that it’s relatively easy to find medium-term accommodation in surf shacks right by the beach. Cue Le Cabanon. It’s a standalone cottage below the coconut palms of Hiriketiya Beach (one of our absolute fav spots on the island for surfing). You get your own lush garden area, a kitchenette, an outdoor shower, and lovely hosts.

W15 ($$-$$$)

Best for: Beginners

W15 is one of swishiest places to stay in the beginner surf mecca of Weligama. Uber-cool and really spacious rooms in the perfect part of the bay for learning are on the menu. There’s also a big pool and garden, and a pretty generous breakfast spread. The main pull is just how close you’ll be to the waves, though. They’re less than a stone’s throw away.

Global Surf Lodge Kabalana ($$)

Ah, man – life as a traveling surfer hardly gets better than this! Seriously, just check out that stunning garden topped with its coconut palms, that shimmering swimming pool, and those deluxe suites filled with muted colours and lovely wood tones. Location wise, you’re smack dab in the heart of Ahangama, a region famed for the Kabalana Beach breaks and loads of reefs. Expect a true surf-camp experience making tonnes of new friends with a dash of luxury on the side! We love Global Surf Lodge Kabalana!

A guide to the Sri Lanka surfing season

You can break the Sri Lanka surf season into two easy portions. That’s because there are two separate wet seasons that dictate the weather (and swell/wind) patterns on the islands. Get a feel for these and it should be easy to decide where to go to get in the water:

South-western monsoon (May-September)

One word: Arugam Bay. There’s really no decision to be made. As the rains sweep across the south coast and the swells are all chopped up on the south-west by storm winds, you’ll want to make for the Sri Lankan surfing mecca of the east. The best months are around June and July, which is when even the sand-cushioned beginner wave of the main beach starts to get into full swing.

  • Wear: A rash vest, board shorts, swimwear – it’s always warm on the Sri Lanka surf!

North-eastern monsoon (October-April)

Things dry out all around the stunning beaches of the south-west coast. Offshore winds are more common and the swell form up to tidy sets for the reefs. This is by far the season with the widest variety of working Sri Lanka surf destinations. That’s because everywhere from Hiriketiya to Galle is on the menu. As the season wears on, things tend to mellow even more, so January-March can be lighter than pre-Christmas.

  • Wear: Rashies all round, all year.

Be sure to check out our gear guides:

Top things to do in Sri Lanka when you’re not surfing

Sri Lanka is a bucket-list-busting destination. Make no bones about it, this isle is about much more than just warm waves and reef breaks. It’s steeped in a fascinating Buddhist culture, has some of the tastiest food on the planet, and bursts with temples, shrines, and stunning lengths of sand…

Sigiriya Rock

The call it the Eighth Wonder of the World, this jaw-dropping palace on a bluff of stone. Thought to date way back to the 5th century, it’s a must for any history buffs and culture lovers. You’ll be able to scale the great rock palace and see ancient Buddhist shrines. There are also sweeping views across Sri Lanka’s central plains.


Go hiking in Ella

You can prime those hamstrings for your Sri Lanka surf adventure by making for the highland town of Ella. It sits up in the mist-haloed highlands. A land of tea fields and craggy peaks, it’s got some breathtaking views. Do the trek to Ella Rock. Conquer Little Adam’s Peak. And then visit a tea factory to relax a little.


Laze on a beach

The beaches of this gorgeous isle aren’t just for Sri Lankan surf trips, you know? Strewn with coconut husks and backed by sea pineapple trees, there are darn picturesque places to boot. Bring the sun cream. Pack your favourite bikini. There’s oodles of time for swimming and Kindle reading in the hammock. Some of the best are around Mirissa and Dickwella.

Beach in Sri Lanka

Travel essentials for anyone surfing in Sri Lanka

Quick facts

Where exactly is Sri Lanka?

  • Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
  • Population: 10.5 million
  • Capital: Colombo
  • Language: Sinhala & Tamil

They call Sri Lanka the Teardrop of India. Check the map – it’s easy to see why. The island is like a speck of H20 that’s just dribbled off the subcontinent.

At their smallest distance, Sri Lanka and India are just 883 miles apart. The resplendent atolls of the Maldives are also close, just in case you wanted to top off that Sri Lanka surf trip with a honeymoon or something romantic.

How to get to Sri Lanka

Colombo Airport is the main gateway to Sri Lanka by air. Long-haul links on major carriers arrive there from Europe, the Middle East and beyond. The best option for surfers is usually Qatar Airways. Their indirect connections link with airports in London, Manchester and Cardiff, and they allow surfboard carriage as part of your standard baggage allowance.

Short-haul connections join Sri Lanka to loads of places across South Asia and Southeast Asia. We caught a direct flight in from Bangkok and were on the ground in under four hours this year. You can find bargain deals in from KL, India, Indonesia – the list goes on.

How to travel around Sri Lanka

We found that the local bus was a really fun way to get around Sri Lanka. Uber-cheap and great for people watching, these multi-coloured vehicles will rock and rumble their way between the major towns. Of course, this isn’t the best option if you’re carrying your own surfboard.

For those with their board in tow, we recommend private taxi transfers. You can use groups like Sri Lanka Taxi Share and Sri Lanka Car and Driver Hire to organise lift shares and check the ratings of various drivers. You can haggle vis Whatsapp before your departure date. This worked really well when we had longer distances to travel (say Weligama to Colombo, Colombo to Kandy).

Tuk-tuks are probably the best, and the cheapest, choice if you’re moving between two Sri Lankan surf destinations on the south coast. They are ubiquitous and never cost us more than 1200 LKR for a single journey. You’ll need to get used to the driver lashing your board to the roof – they sometimes aren’t the most secure racks. But hey, that’s part of the fun.

If you’ve got anything to add to this ultimate guide to Sri Lanka surf, then we’d sure love to hear it in the comments below! We’re always looking to update and change the information here so it’s in line with what’s currently happening on the island – otherwise, it would hardly be the ultimate guide, eh!?

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This is just one country guide in our complete guide to the surf in Asia