Weligama surf is known as the best beginner surf on the Sri Lanka south coast. Come here to hit the waves with fantastic surf schools. And, don’t worry, there are nearby reefs and point breaks to graduate to aplenty.
An introduction to Weligama surf
Weligama Beach opens up into a huge bay on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It measures a whopping 3.2km from point to point, but arches in a horseshoe far inland. The result? The perfect cleft in the coast for refracting swells coming straight in off the Indian and Southern oceans. Breaks that make it through are drawn out into lovely, long frames that hit the main beaches in a series of peaks. They hold up well but are also protected by the surrounding headlands, meaning clean, glassy conditions are normal. It’s a beginner’s paradise.
Weligama town itself lacks any central point. It’s more of a drawn-out series of surf camps, cafes, bars, and eateries on the Matara Road. Because it now trumps Arugam Bay to the title of Sri Lanka’s beginner hub, you can find all sorts of hostels and hotels in the area, some bargain-friendly, some luxurious. There are also more rental spots than you can shake a samosa at. The growing number of international kitchens is nice, but we still prefer the idea of staying in Mirissa – a chilled surf town a little to the east.
The main Weligama surf spots are all hidden inside Weligama Bay. However, you won’t have to rumble down Matara Road long in a tuk-tuk to discover oodles more. The reefs and points of Midigama are there for the taking if you’re an improving intermediate. Other surf guides will whisk you out to lesser-known SK Town to the east. Basically, this is a good part of Sri Lanka to be based for surfing, no matter your level.
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 a part of our greater guide to Sri Lanka surf.
Weligama surf at a glance
What’s in this guide to Weligama surf?
Where is Weligama?
Weligama is the main town of Weligama Bay, a huge opening on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Roughly midway between the two towns of Galle and Matara, you’ll find it on the busy coast road linking the two (known, simply, as the Matara Road). Colombo, the capital of the island, and the main airport where you’re likely to arrive, are both about two hours’ drive to the north.
A guide to Weligama surf spots
The beauty of the beginner-friendly Weligama surf spots is that they’re right in front of the town itself. Seriously, hop out of your hostel bed and grab your board, because you can be surfing just seconds after waking up in these parts. There are others better for intermediate surfers a little further away. You can reach them after haggling with a local tuk-tuk driver. No biggie.
The numero uno spot you simply have to know about in Weligama, the town’s beach break is where everyone goes. It’s a tailor-made beginner spot, but with some extra punch out back. Basically, surf schools and learners should stick to the secondary swell. It’s typically chest-high and mushy; very forgiving when you’re practicing the pop up.
Meanwhile, out back, even when it’s chilled on the secondary, more advanced riders can be enjoying double overheads and pretty fast rides. It’s never going to be as good as the reef breaks further down in Midigama. But hey, it’s something. Close outs are common on huge days. Better on long periods.
Midigama lies just to the west of Weligama. It’s not strictly a town of its own. Rather, it’s a series of bays and sands that runs for a couple of clicks before Ahangama. It’s also a mecca for intermediate and advanced surfers looking for something a bit harder to get stuck into than Weligama Beach. You have a series of spots to pick from. Lazy Left and Lazy Right are popular for their mellow and rippable rides. I personally love Coconuts. It’s a classic South Asian reef with clear water and pristine rights.
Check out our full guide to Midigama surf spots
Mirissa is better known as one of Sri Lanka’s whale-watching havens than a surf town. It’s also famed for its party atmosphere after dark. Still, it’s got its reefs. Look for the best spot on the main beach. It’s a hard right hander that comes in off a point at a pushing tide. Sometimes offers good barrels on long periods. Beware of rocks. Haggle hard for the tuk-tuk, which can cost anything from 150 Rs. to >400 Rs.
Check out our full guide to Mirissa surf spots
More and more of the Weligama surf school guides are now heading down the Matara Road to SK Town with their groups. It’s easy to see why. The spot is well-exposed to S-SW swells and pretty reliable. It’s also suited to both beginners and intermediates, with light onshore secondary swells and neat wedges out back. We’d say it’s a perfect break from the classic reefs of the Sri Lankan south coast – more of a European wave than any others in the area. The drive to SK is around 30-40 minutes in normal traffic.
Check out our full guide to SK Town
Hiriketiya Beach might just be the fastest rising star on the southern Sri Lanka surf scene. A gorgeous horseshoe bay, it has a duo of breaks. One is a sandy beach break that’s good for beginners and casual intermediates. The other is for the experts – a fast left-hand reef that barrels over jagged rock. The drive from Weligama to Hiriketiya is around 1-1.2 hours in normal traffic.
Check out our full guide to Hiriketiya Beach
Where to stay when surfing in Weligama
One good thing about the Weligama surf becoming so popular with starters is that there’s now an overload of hotel options in the area. Here are some of our favourites…
W15 is right on the beachfront. A hop from your room and you can be at the east end of Weligama Bay – the best spot for surfing by a mile. The hotel is pretty darn slick, too, with its big outdoor pool and ocean-view suites. Okay, so it isn’t cheap but it’s one of the top-rated hotels in this Sri Lanka surf town!
Jagabay Resort & Surfing School ($)
A budget-friendly accommodation choice that will get you smack dab on Weligama Beach within walking distance of the breaks, Jagabay Resort & Surfing School is all you need for that trip to the waves. It’s got simple rooms and simple ensuite bathrooms. However, the main draws are a communal outdoor pool and terrace area right by the sand!
Dorian Guest House and Restaurant ($$)
Dorian Guest House and Restaurant isn’t actually in Weligama at all. But that’s the draw! It’s a fantastic choice for intermediate surfers who would be more at home on the reefs of Midigama. The likes of Coconuts and Rams are within walking distance. On top of that, the accommodation has stylish rooms with open terraces overlooking the palms and polished-concrete bathrooms. It’s also a hip hangout for surfers come the evening.
Weligama actually has some of the very best complete beginner surf camps in the whole of Sri Lanka. We talk about those and many, many more in our guide to the top surf camps in Sri Lanka for 2023.
Step-by-step guide to planning your Weligama surf trip right now
Step one: Book flights to the Weligama surf…Lately, we like Omio for searching flights. It’s a nice interface and has lots of airline options. We also use Skyscanner because that sometimes offers deals that even beat going direct to the carrier!
Step two: Book your surf camp Book Surf Camps is the numero uno online booking platform for fully-fledged surf-stay packages on the internet right now. Then there’s Booking.com. That has consistently unbeatable rates for hotels and a nifty map feature that lets you check EXACTLY how close your hotel is to a surf break.
Step three: Get insuranceThis is kinda’ important. Not just for surf trips but for any trips. SafetyWing is great for nomad travelers. They offer rolling contracts that cover amateur surfing.
Step four (optional): Rent a car If you’re surf camping then you might not need wheels. If you’re not then we’ll just say this: We’ve never been on a surf trip that wasn’t improved by having our own car. Use RentalCars – they’re the best.
Step five: Enjoy!
When to surf in Weligama
Dry season (December-March)
The Weligama surf is in its prime during the dry-season months. They’re calmer and hotter, but also – as the name implies – much drier. Rain does fall, but not that often, so there’s less run-off adding pollution to the sea. Swell-wise, the southerlies and westerlies that come off the Southern Ocean can really help kick things into action, so lots of days have those big breaks for intermediates and punchy shore breaks for the beginners in the Weligama surf school.
Rain starts to hit the south-west of Sri Lanka around the middle of spring. It gets heavier as the months progress and can see pretty strong storm systems move across the region in June, July and August. Most surfers head across to Arugam Bay, which is seeing its best surf at this time. Of course, there are some days when you can take the board out in Weligama but this ain’t why you come all the way to Sri Lanka!
Surf shops in Weligama
Weligama has a clutch of surf shops. Most straddle Matara Road and the main junction in the heart of the town. Some of our favs are…
Dylan’s Surf Company
Stockists of well-known brands like Billabong and DHD, Dylan’s is a mainstay on the south Sri Lanka surf scene. It’s a cute little store near the main Matara Road junction in the heart of Weligama. Head in and you’ll also find grip pads, leashes, bikinis, zinc-based sunscreens – all sorts!
Kwaii Surfing Co.
Kwaii Surfing Co. is more for your new surf threads than for hardware. A cool interior of polished concrete and minimalist tables host everything from vintage boardshorts to retro shirts that look plucked from the 70s. Lovely staff. Lovely spot.
Best places to eat in Weligama
You won’t be short on places to eat out in Weligama. From authentic Sri Lankan home kitchens to creative Italian spots, there’s all sorts…
Hungry Birds ($)
Hungry Birds is the sort of bamboo-built, reggae-thrumming bar you’d expect to find on a Thai island. It’s super chilled and super friendly. The folks here even gave me a little Angry Birds themed birthday cake when it was my 31st. Cheers! Drop in for a beer or a bite to eat on Weligama’s liveliest street.
Day Long ($)
Incredibly good vegetarian and vegan foods await at top-rated Day Long. It’s a traditional Sri Lankan kitchen, so expect the usual mishmash of dals and spicy okra curries. We’d recommend the set menus, which include a smorgasbord of dishes that are perfect for filling up after long surf sessions.
Rise has to be up there with the best pizzas in all of Sri Lanka. Seriously, the dough is like something out of Naples, the cheeses are the real deal, and the chef is even an Italiano native. We had a super-warm welcome from the owner and will go back every time we’re surfing in Weligama!
Things to do when you’re not surfing in Weligama
A couple of hundred rupees can take you around the headland to the lovely beach town of Mirissa. It’s known for its vibrant shoreline, which is packed with bars and eateries – it’s a cracking place to party. There’s also a lovely cove called Secret Beach (we’ll let you find it yourself) and the best whale watching on the island.
Spas are all over south Sri Lanka, but Good Spa really is a cut above the rest. I had a birthday (did I mention I was 31 in Weligama!) massage and it was the perfect cure for tired surf muscles. It’s not too expensive, but it’s also not the cheapest option. Quality over quantity, folks!
How to get to Weligama
Private transfer: Expect to pay around 11,000 Rs for a transfer direct to Weligama from Colombo Airport. That’s the best way to arrive if you’re carrying your board and gear in tow, but you’ll need to check the extra baggage is okay ahead of time with the driver.
Tuk-tuk: You can catch a tuk-tuk straight to Weligama from neighbouring towns like Mirissa and Midigama. Always haggle, because prices are never set. We paid around 200-300 Rs for a ride to Mirissa.
Train: There’s a direct train link from Colombo to Weligama several times per day. The ride’s a fun one, taking you along the main route of the south-west coast past gorgeous beaches and surf towns like Hikkaduwa. Be sure to book ahead of travel because seats are limited. Tickets cost 400 Rs in first and about half of that in second.