The Ultimate Guide to Dickwella Surf

by Asia Kaczmarczyk

Dickwella surf is on offer just outside of the bustling town of Dickwella itself. That’s a major transport interchange on the Sri Lankan south coast, with a few top breaks within striking distance.

Dickwella Surf

Dickwella surf at a glance

The good:

  • Hiriketiya is just around the corner.
  • Relatively easy to get to.
  • Some uncrowded breaks.

The bad:

  • Not a huge variety.
  • Busy town.
  • Low season during the monsoon (April-October).

This is a part of our greater guide to Sri Lanka surf.

What will I find in this guide to Dickwella surf

An introduction to Dickwella surf

Dickwella itself is a slowly rising star on the Sri Lankan surf scene. However, the fame isn’t really down to the urban beach. There’s no doubt that it’s a lovely stretch of sand – golden, shaded by low stooping palms. However, the surf there is unreliable at best. It’s really all light shore breaks that roll over shallow sand.

So why are so many board-holding travellers making for Dickwella? One word my friends: Hiriketiya. That hidden bay with its duo of interesting breaks is just around the corner from the town. It’s got the feel of being a totally separate little surf village, but they’re really joined at the hip. You can walk from the beach in Dickwella and be surfing in Hiri in less than 15 minutes – we know, because we did it loads of times back during our last visit in November 2019!

Where is Dickwella?

Roughly midway between the towns of Tangalle and Matara, Dickwella is another of the major hubs of the Sri Lankan south coast. Only, it’s a little more chilled than its next-door neighbours. A single main street that runs parallel to the coast is where most of the action is. That’s known as Tangalle Road or the A2, linking up all those awesome surf spots that you get in this corner of Ceylon.

A guide to Dickwella surf spots

Get a feel for the top Dickwella surf spots of all. This guide runs through the urban beach in the city itself, and a few of the local breaks within easy reach by tuk-tuk.

Dickwella Beach

Dickwella Beach

You’re not likely to find too many surfers on Dickwella Beach itself. That’s not to say this stunning run of golden sand can’t be surfed. Only, it’s not as good or as consistent as some of the other Dickwella surf spots around. Basically, you’ve got a wide, open bay that stays very shallow for a long way into the ocean. The result is lots of peaks, but none that really have any punch.

It’s a decent place to get a local surf instructor to show you the ropes on a foamy. In fact, there are a few start-up surf schools doing their thing on Dickwella Beach these days. Just don’t expect long rides. Instead, there’s lots of whitewash and less-than-shoulder-high waves to get started on. A beginner ride.

Hiriketiya

Hiriketiya

Hiriketiya is a stunner of a surf destination. It’s actually the main reason that Dickwella surf is on the map these days. The spot is located around five minutes by tuk-tuk from the bus station in Dickwella (pay around 200 LKR, no more). Alternatively, you can walk there from Dickwella Beach in about 15 minutes, through lovely tracks lined with cafés and coconut trees.

The reward? Two breaks that suit two very different levels. A sand-bottomed beach break with some nice peaks and crystal-clear water is on the western end of the bay. A hardcore reef with some pretty quick left-hander walls comes into the eastern side of the bay. This really is the Dickwella surf mecca, so expect to find board rentals aplenty right on the sand (the cost is around 100 LKR/hour).

Tempted? Read our full guide to Hirketiya Bay.

Tangalle

Tangalle

Tangalle surf is taking you right out to the more remote spots that fringe the southern shores of Sri Lanka. The things is, there are actually not many well-known waves down this way. Short of giving away the secret local spots that are a joy to discover on your own, we’d say Tangalle surf is mainly light beach waves that are suited to the earliest beginners. Most of the surf schools in the town will head to Tallala Bay or Hiriketiya to do their lessons.

Talalla Bay

Talalla

Talalla Bay surf is another of the south coast’s handsome bays. It runs for nearly 2,000 meters around an inlet to the west of the town of Dickwella. It’s just a short ride of 10-20 minutes in a tuk-tuk to get here. The waves are generally lighter than in Hiriketiya, with some super-chilled breaks for beginners (hence the regular lessons). There is a small reef break to keep the more seasoned riders busy.

The best Dickwella beach hotels for surfers

Dickwella Resort and Spa ($$$)

If you’re after a luxury beachfront resort, look no further! Every room at Dickwella Resort and Spa features sea views and an oversized king bed. It’s not the cheapest place in the area, but who could resist those traditional spa and massage sessions after a surf?

Booking.com

Voulez-Vous ($$)

Perfectly-located Voulez-Vous is a great mid-range option for those who want to be close to both Dickwella and Hiriketiya. Situated right on the beach, the hotel features comfy rooms and a lovely garden area for post-surf chills.

Booking.com

Villa Fiorita ($)

Villa Fiorita is a great place to stay for those on a tighter budget. Located just a short stroll away from the beach, Villa offers nicely decorated apartments that are comfy and simple. There is a shared kitchen and an outdoor space to boot.

Booking.com
Dickwella surfer

A guide to the Dickwella surfing season

Like most of the other spots in Sri Lanka, Dickwella’s surf season follows the monsoon pattern. For a general pointer: Come between November and March to get the best conditions.

Monsoon season (April-October)

The wettest and roughest part of the calendar for this south-western corner of Sri Lanka comes with the monsoon. Most surfers will hop over to Arugam Bay, but a few do stick around. You’ll almost certainly never catch them on the waves of Dickwella, though. There’s basically no shape to the water when there are storms out at sea. Much better – but still rough in the monsoon months – are the reefs and points in Hiriketiya and nearby Tangalle.

Rash vest

Dry season (November-March)

Lovely stuff. The rains drop away. The sea gets calmer. In all, the Sri Lanka south coast is perfect for surfers at this time of the year. Thanks to the more tranquil ocean, you’ll find sets rolling in way more uniform, so periods of about 10-16 seconds are normal. Unfortunately, the sandbanks on Dickwella Beach mean that this bay rarely benefits from that, because the waves are almost always chopped up. Head to Hiri if you really want to make the most of it.

Rash vest

Surf shops in Dickwella

Because Dickwella isn’t the out-and-out surf destination that other places further along the south-west coast are, it might not have the same scene. That means only a handful of surf outfitters have set up shop in these parts:

Left4Days

A new arrival on the scene over in Hiriketiya, Left4Days has all sorts of longboards and shorties up for rent. They’re a lovely bunch, always smiling and chilling in the garden, whenever they’re not surfing. You can also grab wax, fins, rash vests, and more here, all at pretty reasonable prices.

Where to eat in Dickwella

Dickwella is a hubbub of bus stops and shops, with more local Sri Lankan eateries than you can shake a samosa at. Check out some of the very best local establishments to sample between your Dickwella surf mornings and afternoons below:

Jayantha Restaurant

AMAHGAD! Do not miss this place. It might not look like much from the outside, but it’s got a glorious selection of Sri Lankan staples. Spicy dal soups, fragrant race packed with jasmine and clove, okra curries, and samosas – it’s the perfect buffet for a long post-surf sesh. What’s more, prices are super-duper low. Just a few LKR and you’ll be full until evening.

Verse Collective

Verse Collective makes its home right on the edge of Dickwella Beach. Its big, airy garden faces straight out across the waves. You’ll be able to score smashed avo and gaze out the waves to see if there’s anything on. It’s a stylish venue with polished concrete and even a co-working space just inside. Great coffee, healthy brunches, and some enticing juice drinks made with coconut milk are the order of the menu.

How to get to Dickwella

Dickwella is the convenient terminus or stop on many a bus line running along the Sri Lanka south coast. You can easily catch local connections from Matara, Tangalle, and even further afield up in Weligama. There’s also a long-distance bus to Dickwella from Ella, helping surfers get to the beaches from the mountains. They cost next to nothing, but aren’t great if you’re transporting a surfboard – the buses are often full to bursting.

A better option for that might be a tuk-tuk. The locals here are masters at fixing boards to their little scooter-taxis. Most rides in the region will cost between 500-1000 LKR, but be sure to haggle. Private taxis to and from the airport in Colombo can cost anything from 50,000 LKR to 70,000 LKR. Again, it’s important to haggle.

How to get around Dickwella

Walking or tuk-tuks are all you need. Dickwella extends a few kilometres along a busy road, but you’re not likely to need to navigate the city, unless you need to stock up on basics. Most of your time will be spent on the beach, overlooking the Dickwella surf, or strolling between the palm groves to pretty Hiriketiya Bay.


Have you got anything to add to this ultimate guide to Dickwella surf ? We’re always trying to update and change the information – otherwise, it would hardly be the ultimate guide, right?!

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