Surfing & Scuba Diving
ri Lanka is a great place for surfing and has been a popular surf destination since the 1970s. The main attraction is Arugam Bay on the remote East Coast, one of the world’s 10 best surf points. The Arugam Bay surfing season runs from July / August and dedicated surfers, who know these waves well, return each year to experience the thrilling waves and the relatively secluded beaches. Arugam Bay was devastated by the 2004 Tsunami but it has responded resiliently and several characterful beach side guesthouses provide comfortable accommodation here. The south and west coast is best between December and March. During the monsoon period from April/May to October the surf is uninviting. Hikkaduwa, less than half an hour north of Galle, is the most famous surf destination on the west coast and has lots of cheap guesthouses, beach restaurants and fun nightlife. Lesser-known bays to the south, such as Ahangama, have a sprinkling of uplifting guesthouses and uncrowded beaches.
Southwest Coast: There are several surf points in the southwest and Hikkaduwa is the most popular. The best surfing spots in Hikkaduwa are in Wewala. Narigama is good for body surfing. Surf boards, gear, and even clothing can be sourced from Hikkaduwa. Surfing season in the southwest is from November to April. Clean, value-for-money accommodation, beach restaurants, bars, and beachside nightclubs gives Hikkaduwa something of the mood of a resort in Goa or Bali. The journey to Hikkaduwa from the international airport in Colombo will take about 3.5 hours.
South Coast: Sri Lanka’s jagged south coast starting from the historic city of Galle upto Tangalle consists of delightful coral-protected bays and headlands and offers a greater diversity of beaches than the southwest coast. At Kabalana, Midigama, Weligama, Mirissa and Matara – surfers prowl the shores in search of some of the best waves in Sri Lanka. Dickwella has some of the island’s best dive spots and Tangalle offers secluded, uninterrupted cove like beaches.
Southeast Coast: Listed as one of ten top surf spots in the world, Arugam Bay also known as AbaY, is a popular haunt for surfers especially during the season between July and August. There are several popular point breaks including Ullah Point, Pottuvil Point, Surf Point, Peanut Farm Point, and Crocodile Rock. ‘Surf Point’ that breaks at the headland in front of Arugam Bay is suitable for body surfing and beginners; Pottuvil Point situated on a deserted beach north of Arugam Bay is more suitable for experienced surfers; and Crocodile Rock another challenging surf point is located south of Arugam Bay. Waves of upto 5ft – 6ft and upto a 400 metre ‘ride’ and the relatively isolated beaches are a major attraction to surfers. Surf boards can be rented in town and surfing lessons for beginners can be organised. Dedicated surfers, who know these waves well, return each year to experience the thrilling waves and the relatively secluded beaches. Keen surfers usually make the eight hour long journey on the A4 route directly from Colombo to Arugam Bay, which is tiring but well-worth the trip. Since Arugam Bay is easily accessible from other parts of the country including the southern highlands (Badulla, Ella, Haputale), central hills (Kandy), Buttala foothills (Uda Walawe, Yala, Tissa) and the South Coast, it can be easily included into a tour of Sri Lanka.