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Hitting the Waves in Sri Lanka

A surfing destination you might not have thought of

If you’re a keen surfer, or simply someone who fancies giving it a go and learning a new skill, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to a destination to learn. Obviously there are some which are more famous than others, such as Hawaii for example, with its massive waves and competitions throughout the year. If you’re not heading that far however, have you ever thought about surfing on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka?

Surfing might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you picture Sri Lanka, more about temples, wildlife, culture, and beautiful weather, but this is actually a famous surfing destination, and it is possible to surf all year around to some degree, in the beautiful warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Having been recognised as a top spot for catching waves, Arugam Bay and Hikkaduwa are both sites for international surfing competitions, and when you add onto this the other wonderful attractions the country boasts, it’s not hard to see why more and more people are heading in this direction.

You don’t have to be a professional or expert surfer to enjoy the conditions in Sri Lanka, as there are sites for most ability levels, and surf schools on hand to help you learn more, especially in Madiha, where a very popular surf school is situated.

The main surfing season in the main resort of Hikkaduwa starts in October and runs until early May, however you can still surf outside of this if you don’t want particularly large swells. Arugam Bay is a top spot for surfing, situated on the east coast, close to the city of Pottuvil. Here you will find top quality waves during the main season, with a beautiful backdrop of the surrounding countryside, and the Lahugala Sanctuary, which is particularly famous for its elephant population.

This particular destination has a coral reef on the sea bed, and has steady reef breaks, which is great for those more advanced surfers, together with an area perfect for beginners too. This is an all-rounder resort.

Elephant rock is another top location, and a very scenic one at that. There are breaks on all areas, and it is best between April and September. Again, this is suitable for all abilities with no real danger areas to take into account, other than being wary in general. This area is quite quiet too, so perfect for a laid-back break.

We mentioned Hikkaduwa earlier, and this is the main spot which can get quite busy. There are three main breaks, one for each ability level generally, however the reef break in the middle of the resort is where it gets the most crowded; beginners can head to the northern reef break, where the waves are smaller and the crowds are less – an ideal learning setting.

If you never considered Sri Lanka as a surfing destination, it’s time to change that viewpoint. With amazing scenery, culture, delicious food, and welcoming locals, Sri Lanka is one of the world’s most sought after destinations.

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