5 Tips for a Great Sri Lankan Surf Holiday
1. Avoid the Crowds and still get Great Surf
It is said that the best time for surfers to go to Sri Lanka is from April through to October. This is true in many ways. Ocean swells are consistent 4-7 feet and wind conditions are ideal. However, during this time, surfers from many nations flock to Arugam Bay on the East Coast of the island and also called the surf Mecca of Sri Lanka.
If you do not count to those who love the hassle of surfing with 70 plus people in the water, then you might want to consider the south and south western coastline of Sri Lanka which has plenty of secret and undiscovered surf spots on offer that work during its peak and off season alike.
2. Come to Sri Lanka in the Off Season
Apparently the Off-Season for surfing in Sri Lanka is somewhat between November and April, which I think is a myth or even a lie. During this period swells hit the island from the south west and of course are not as consistent as the swells coming from the south east during the peak season, but if you want to catch cool and fun 3-5 feet waves with off shore winds almost every day and some bigger swells every now and then - this is the time to go. A big wave spot was also discovered by some Australians on southern tip of the island which has world class potential. If it's flat there is plenty of other cool and beautiful things to do.
Make sure you go further south than Mirissa and Hikkaduwa, as these places can get crowded during the off season as well. Mirissa and Hikkaduwa are great places to have a fun night out.
3. Cheap Ways to Get Around in Sri Lanka
Many of you might be on a budget just not wanting to spend much money on transport. Thus hiring a car for a few weeks or even months might be out of question. Another option would be to stay in one of the more crowded surf spots like Mirissa or Hikkaduwa where there is plenty of accommodation close to the surfing beaches. Further south of Matara you can find good accommodation also right on the beach.( pleaase check out: http://www.surf-lanka.com/Welcome.html ) Hardly anyone knows about it and you might get some epic waves to yourself. Some of the slightly more expensive places have surf guides who know the area very well .They conduct surf checks every morning which are included in the price.
4. What to Bring to Sri Lanka
In terms of the quiver I would say your standard board will do. Perhaps take a slightly bigger board in case you travel south-east-east during the big swell season. Waves breaking on sand are powerful but still easy to get into. I have surfed some reef spots which can get challenging but the drop is definitely makeable with your standard board.
Also prepare a first aid kit containing disinfectants, band aids and perhaps antibiotics. I can also strongly recommend bringing some decent mosquito repellent. Although you can buy some good stuff here, you might get something more effective in your country. Also make sure you bring plenty of Vitamin C against infections. I have seen some nasty infected mossy bites and Vitamin C is definitely a great remedy. You might also take some general vitamin supplements plus calcium and magnesium. Sri Lankan food is actually quite versatile in fruit and vegetables but for some, this still seems to cause some deficiencies, especially when surfing a lot.
5. Do not Get Ripped Off in Sri Lanka
It can feel strange sometimes travelling in a foreign country where you have no clue about general travel, food and accommodation prices. And as Sri Lanka is still considered a third world country along with the majority of people living on the minimum of existence, you might face yourself paying tourist prices rather than local prices. My suggestion is to make some Sri Lankan friends who you can trust. They can help you get the local deals for food or transport.
Taxis from the airport to Colombo train station should not cost you more than Rs. 2000- 3000. The train is an experience not to miss out on and is only ridiculous 230 Rs. to most destinations. Buses or Taxis are usually quite pricey, I would say about 80-100$ for a 3-4 hour ride but you might be a good negotiator! Foods in supermarkets are fairly expensive, especially imported stuff, so buy your fruit and veg at the weekly markets or the little shops on the street sides. Perhaps also ask some locals about local grocery prices.
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