The Ultimate Guide to Mirissa Surf

by Asia Kaczmarczyk

Mirissa surf takes place on a lovely white-sand bay on the south side of Sri Lanka. The town is better known as a party hub but there are plenty of breaks in the surrounding region.

Mirissa surf

Mirissa surf at a glance

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The good

  • Gorgeous setting – coconut palms and whatnot!
  • Decent reef breaks
  • Really close to Weligama for beginners

The bad

  • The right hander reef is pretty shallow
  • Only two breaks within walking distance of the town
  • Shuts down in the rainy season

What’s in this guide to the surfing in Mirissa?

An introduction to Mirissa surf

The funny thing about Mirissa is that it sits smack dab in the heart of Sri Lankan surf territory yet only manages to conjure two or three breaks on its doorstep. That’s not to knock those breaks – they are good. There’s a fast left at the harbour jetty and a challenging reef with strong take off on the west end of the bay. It’s just that there’s so much variety nearby you might come expecting more and be a little disappointed.

The reason for that is Mirissa isn’t actually known as an out-and-out surf town. It’s far more famous for its nightlife, which (Arugam Bay aside) is the best on the whole island. For those reasons, we’d say come here for a holiday first and a surf second. You can kick back with a coconut cocktail in hand and enjoy the Sri Lanka vibes and then head out in a tuk-tuk when you want to hit the waves. Things are close: Weligama for beginners, the Mirissa surf for intermediates and up, and SK Town and others for more hidden spots further west.

mirissa surfer

Where is Mirissa?

Mirissa hides behind a rocky headland that’s covered in palm trees at the eastern end of Weligama Bay. The town is spread along the main Matara coast road as it runs east to west. At its front is a long, shimmering beach, while hills and jungles spread to the north. The capital of Sri Lanka and the main airport in Colombo are around 2-3 hours away if you go by direct taxi transfer.

Where to surf in Mirissa

Look for the Mirissa surf spots on the beach where the bars are. It’s got a fast reef and a beach section for total beginners. However, there’s really no substitute for exploring the Sri Lankan coast around town…

Weligama

The rickshaw ride from MIrissa to Weligama takes about 15 minutes in total. It should cost you around 300 rupees, no more (be sure to haggle!). A lot of surfers in Mirissa make the trip every day, because it opens up arguably the best beginner break on the whole island of Sri Lanka. It sits in the middle of a huge bay that’s protected by out-at-sea islands and the headlands of Midigama to the west. Inside are sand-bottomed beach breaks that split into primary and secondary swell to create somewhere that’s perfect for learning on the whitewash.

Read our complete guide to surfing in Weligama right now!

Mirissa Reef

At the very western end of Mirissa Beach is a reef break. Sandwiched between a big sea boulder and the headland, it’s pretty shallow and can be dangerous, mainly because of the overload of urchins that cling to the rocks below. Just be careful where you put your feet and paddle out and you will actually discover one of the mellower Sri Lankan reef breaks. It’s not a long ride and can get crumbly. We’d leave it to the intermediates anyhow, mainly on account of the shallow rocks.

Mirissa Beach

Mirissa Beach is actually way more protected than many of the other sands on the south coast of Sri Lanka. The waves rarely clock up more than 5ft in the dry season months. That means they’re never going to compete with the likes of SK Town for sand-bottomed sets, but they are okay if you’re a TOTAL beginner. A few rental stalls are on the sands, but be wary of which one you pick – scams aren’t unheard of!

Mirissa Harbour

It’s faster and hollower at the harbour end of Mirissa Beach. Rarely surfed but olds up to a nice 6-8 ft but won’t offer tubes. More likely it’s a crumbly, fat wave with scope to rip. Rides can be decently long across the main bay, going from the temple end to the coconut groves. Intermediates and up please.

Matara Beach

About 30 minutes in a tuk-tuk to the east can bring to wide and open Matara Beach. Again, it’s not often surfed. However, the bay does offer some uncharacteristically Sri Lankan sandbar peaks at its western end. Those are interspersed with reef sections that only work at Mid and Low tides that are retreating. Head further east towards Dondra Head and you’ll get to SK Town…

SK Town

SK Town is one of the upcoming beginner and intermediate spots of South Sri Lanka. As bays like Weligama get busier with schools, more and more groups are looking to this one as a place to get on the water. The quality of the waves is very good. These are wally, punchy beach breaks over sand. Works best on nice SW swells with a northerly offshore.

We’ve got a complete guide to SK Town surfing

Where to stay when surfing in Mirissa

Mirissa view

One of the great things about choosing to base your Sri Lankan surf trip in Mirissa is that the town has oodles of hotels and hostels. That’s because it’s not just a surf town. It’s also popular with holiday crews and partiers. One or two of the places we’ve really enjoyed staying in or have heard cracking things about are…

Villa Océane ($$$)

Stunning. Simply stunning. Villa Océane occupies a salt-washed perch above the reefs that string out eastwards from Mirissa town. We’ve not mentioned them above because they are still considered ‘hidden’ breaks, so you can explore them for yourself right outside the door of your sumptuous suite. Expect luxurious interiors with balconies overlooking the breaks!

Fantasea ($$)

Fantasea is a gorgeous Sri Lankan B&B that’s organised around a lush central garden filled with palm trees. There’s just a handful of well-appointed double rooms with walk-in showers and all fresco sitting areas on offer. It’s a quiet vibe but also close to the main beach, which is where you can hit the surf rentals and party at night.

Chez Podi Surfcamp ($)

Chez Podi Surfcamp is one of the coolest surf camps we’ve seen in Sri Lanka. It’s a homegrown pad with a garden bursting with banana trees and greenery. There are dorm rooms and privates, but the vibe is always so chilled you won’t be able to help meeting other folk. Surf lessons can be organised right on site.

When to surf in Mirissa

Mirissa has two very different seasons. One’s filled with rain and can see the oceans get pretty stormy. The other is drier and calmer – better for hitting the Mirissa surf!

Rights in Mirissa

Dry season (November-March)

Dry season doesn’t mean completely dry in Sri Lanka. You can still expect a few downpours, especially in November and early December. Still, the rain isn’t as consistent at this time of year, while ocean storms quell to offer regular sets with long periods all along the south coast. That’s where Mirissa is. AKA the dry season is the best time to surf in Mirissa. Come in November for larger waves. Hit town in January for the best beginner conditions.

  • Wear: This is ALWAYS rash vest territory. No wetsuit needed.

Wet season (April-October)

The wet season in Sri Lanka can play havoc with the onshore conditions. Choppiness takes over and there’s rarely enough groundswell making it through to power up the reefs around Mirissa. You will be able to surf on Mirissa Beach and SK Town but it might not be very fun! Pretty much everyone heads east to Arugam Bay at this time.

  • Wear: Rash vest only. Rain jacket a must for when you’re not surfing!

Surf shops in Mirissa

Mirissa might not have the same overload of surf shops as, say, Weligama, but there are still some we really like…

Lazy.Ride Surf Boutique

Lazy.Ride Surf Boutique was right up there with our favourite surf shops in all of Lanka. Chilled, welcoming and simple, they’re in a little store a few hundred metres back from Mirissa Beach. The stock is pretty unique, with tie-dye bikinis and creative tees for both sexes. Just drop in to have a gander.

Dylan’s Surf Company

Chuck a couple o’ hundred rupees on a tuk-tuk to get to Weligama – Dylan’s Surf Company is worth it. There are racks of PHD surfboards in stock, along with everything else you could possibly need, from swimwear to sticky wax.

Best places to eat in Mirissa

From spicy Sri Lankan curries to western cuisine, the wide range of restaurants in Mirissa offers all sorts. Oh, and there’s some cracking coffee in these parts. How about trying…

Seafood in Mirissa

Aloha Coffee Gallery ($$)

Aloha Coffee Gallery is every inch the surfer’s hangout. Strong brews mix with a menu of sourdough and avo with poached eggs to offer plenty to keep you going. There’s also an on-site shop of unique and creative craft and fashion.

Margherita Italiano Restaurant ($$)

We know, you don’t come to Sri Lanka for the pizza. But, hey, Margherita Italiano Restaurant is actually pretty decent. It’s got a wood-fried oven and a convenient spot on the main Matara Road right in the heart of Mirissa.

Spice Roti Hut ($)

Banging! Hot and spicy Sri Lankan treats await at this chilled hole-in-the-wall. At night, a few plastic tables gather outside and you can order thalis from the kitchen. But it’s really all about the roti breads and samosas – they are like fire on the tongue. Wahoo.

Things to do when you’re not surfing in Mirissa

Secret Beach

Navigate the headland on the western end of Mirissa Beach using the coast roads just behind it and you can go a-hunting for Secret Beach. These days it’s not really that secret, mainly thanks to the constant signage that points the way. It’s still gorgeous though – a hidden cove with black boulders and glass-clear water, all framed by high palms filled with glaring macaques.

Party

If you’re the sort who likes to finish a day on the waves with a couple of beers, Mirissa won’t disappoint. One of the most happening party places on the Sri Lanka south coast, there’s oodles of nightlife here. Start at the sunset beach bars, which have attractive happy-hour deals that begin at around 6pm. Later on, Zephyr and Mirissa Eye get the liveliest, but it’s usually popping off all down the shore.

Travel insurance for surfing in Mirissa

It’s a good idea to have travel insurance in case something goes wrong on your surf trip. We’ve often used World Nomads. Their policies cover a range of adventure sports and activities. You can read more about their cover for surf right here.

All of the information provided about travel insurance is a brief summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.


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 a small part of our guide to surfing in Sri Lanka

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