Sri Lanka is one of the best places to try your hand at surfing for the first time – there are surf spots that suit everyone from total beginners to hard-core enthusiasts. Of these spots, Hikkaduwa is the most famous and probably the best place to surf in the whole island. Hikkaduwa is a few hours away from Colombo, and it’s on the way to Galle, so it’s easy to visit. Or for convenience, you can opt to stay in Hikkaduwa Hotels and roll out of bed straight onto the bright sands early morning to have a full day of surfing. Experienced surfers will particularly enjoy Hikkaduwa – it hosts surfing competitions, some even international, and can host some hearty waves that are a great challenge.
It’s actually possible to surf all-round the year on the island, provided you move around the coast, staying ahead of the monsoon. For Hikkaduwa, the best time to head down there is from the end of October to the beginning of May. The entire city will be in full swing during this period, with various resorts and beach accommodation open for service and most importantly the sea will be at its best, providing a flurry of great waves and low winds. The rest of the year might be too tricky for beginners, as the sea can get unpredictable with strong winds and the threat of rain at any given point. That being said, there are also blissfully sunny days with perfection conditions for surfing even during Hikkaduwa’s off season, so if you happen to be in the country around that time then you could try to visit this spot as it really is one of the best places to surf in the country.
Hikkaduwa really is the best place to learn surfing as there are a variety of beaches there that suit people at any level. There are tons of locals and foreigners from around the world who come to try their hand at these waves, and they sure seem to enjoy it! If you know nothing about surfing don’t worry as a number of schools, basically local surfers with boards, have popped up on the beach and will give you basic lessons for a price that’s quite affordable. The surf instructors tend to be quite helpful and after a one hour lesson you should be able to at least stand upright on your board with relative ease. You can opt for more in depth lessons after that, or simply rent a board and try to ride the waves by yourself. Beach Break, a sand and reef shore break, is pretty safe and thus absolutely great for beginners – you can practice to your heart’s content there.
Of course Hikkaduwa’s reputation doesn’t come from being an easy place to surf. Those who can’t surf should check it out for sure, but the main draw of Hikkaduwa is the challenge it offers to experienced, hard core surfers! There are about four or five surf spots that experienced surfers can try out, each with varying levels of difficulty. You can look them up online or you can go to one of the popular beaches and ask around the surfing folk. The surf community here is quite vibrant and very welcoming if you are a patient and respectful, so simply ask around and they’ll tell you how to get to the best spots. All these places have flat reefs and deep water so they’re ideal for surfing.
The Main Reef is pretty great, and is one of the most popular points in the entire island. The Japan Pro Surfing Association (JPSA) has even held competitions there a couple of times, which tells you that it’s an internationally renowned spot! It’s a deep reef so it’s safe, and attracts a lot of surfers. The waves tend to be 3 feet and above, but can get higher. Then there’s Benny’s, so named because of the small cabana of the same name nearby. This one’s a tough spot, and is recommended only for those confident in their surfing skills. A shallow surf break, surfers can catch some great waves here, and challenge themselves. There’s also the North Jetty which is a reef break by the harbour wall. This one is also recommended for experienced surfers. So if you want to try your hand at surfing in Sri Lanka, it’s best to head down to Hikkaduwa and enjoy one of the best surfing spots on the entire island.