The Best Surf Spots in Sri Lanka for Your Next Tropical Adventure

Previously known as Ceylon, the land of tea and coffee, coconuts and cinnamon, Sri Lanka is one of the most reliable surf destinations in the Indian Ocean. Add to that the friendly locals, palm-fringed beaches and rich cultural heritage, and you have an easily accessible tropical surfing paradise!

Beginners will find plenty of surf schools in Sri Lanka to learn the basics, while more experienced surfers are bound to have fun exploring the uncrowded line-ups and off-the-radar breaks to the south of the island. With two distinct surf seasons for each side of the island, Sri Lanka is a year-round surfing destination that deserves a place of honor on your bucket list.

Boasting a great choice of waves and the highest biodiversity density in Asia, Sri Lanka is fantastic as a budget and family-friendly destination. Non-surfers will be thrilled to learn that they can practice yoga, visit ancient Buddhist ruins and tea plantations, as well as go on exciting safaris in sunny Sri Lanka. The food in Sri Lanka is simply delicious. And cheap! Think of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood, tea and coffee; what else could you ask for?

To give you a better picture of how impressive this small teardrop-shaped island south of India really is, you should know that ancient Persians and Arabs called it Serendib, which is the origin of the English word ‘serendipity.’ Having recovered from two major modern catastrophes – the 2004 tsunami and a civil war that tore up the country for 26 years until 2009 – Sri Lanka couldn’t be any safer to travel.

If I managed to convince you to make the trip, then here are the best surfing spots in Sri Lanka that you simply must check out:


Surfing on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka

Between November and April, the west coast receives morning offshore winds, producing clean waves. This is also the dry season in Sri Lanka, with low chances of precipitation and plenty of sunshine.

The south coast benefits from whichever swell hits the west and east coast, which means that the surf spots on the southern tip of the island rarely go flat. Furthermore, the south coast of Sri Lanka is blessed with 330+ days of sunshine per year and water temperatures that average around 81ºF (27 ºC) all year.


Here are some of the best surf spots on the southwest coast:

Lazy Left and Lazy Right (Midigama)

Best forAll levels

These two popular breaks at Midigama are as mellow as they sound and, therefore, excellent for beginners and intermediate surfers. However, when big swells kick in, they offer something for advanced riders too.

Lazy Left and Lazy Right sit opposite of each other in the bay at Midigama. Both are gentle point breaks, the left-hander offering some long rides of up to 500 meters (1,600 ft) on its good days. The breaks are longboard friendly and work best at low tide. You will also find some cool kitesurfing conditions in the bay.

There is another right-hand reef break at Midigama that is more suitable for experienced surfers, which goes by the name of Rams. This powerful A-frame wave breaks over a shallow and sharp coral, has a fast take-off and offers quite a long ride.


Photo credit: Dhammika Heenpella via Flickr

Best forBeginners and intermediate surfers

For beginners, Weligama is a go-to spot all year round. Located in the Matara District in southern Sri Lanka, it is considered the best beginner beach on the island and can be surfed even when it’s small.

Weligama can be translated into ‘sandy village.’ When the conditions are just right, it can offer some long rides on right and left beach breaks that even first-timers can tackle. Being such a popular spot, it can get crowded at times. If you wish to escape the crowds, head down the beach in the direction of Mirissa where the surf gets slightly bigger.


Best forAll levels

In the Southern Province, a couple of kilometers east of Weligama, Mirissa is a picturesque bay with a mellow right-hand reef break that is suitable for all levels. Still considered a hidden gem, crowds are not a problem at Mirissa. The area also offers whale watching opportunities and the chance to surf with dolphins.

Hikkaduwa Reef


Best forBeginners and intermediate surfers

The surfing capital of Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, Hikkaduwa is a small town in the Galle District towards the southern tip of the island. This is the most developed surfing town on the island – there are cafes and bars on the strip, surf schools, and rental shops, while the coral attracts divers and snorkelers.

Regardless of the season, the waves at Hikkaduwa rarely go flat. The A-frame break here is ideal for beginners, as it breaks over sand-filled reefs. Those looking for bigger waves will not be disappointed either, as the break can handle large swells too.

Unawatuna Bay


Photo credit: lola media via Flickr

Best forAll levels

One of the most visited beaches in Sri Lanka, Unawatuna Bay is home to a left-hand reef break that is more suitable for experienced surfers as well as a shallow beach break with a sandy bottom for beginners. The waves here rarely exceed 4ft (1.2 meters), and a longboard would be the best option.

On the south coast of the island, only 5 km (3 miles) from Galle towards Midigama, Unawatuna is an excellent destination for a family surf vacation. The beach also offers great snorkeling sites, dive schools and kitesurfing opportunities. 


Surfing on the east coast

Between May and October, the east coast gets constant swell, especially around Arugam Bay. Traveling to the east coast during these months will keep you dry and away from the monsoon season, while at the same time guaranteeing consistent surfing conditions.

Arugam Bay


Best forAll levels

Sri Lanka’s surfing mecca, Arugam Bay on the east coast is often compared to Kuta in Bali. The tuna fishing port and the seven quaint villages in the moon-shaped bay have a laid-back vibe and are perhaps the most traveler and surf-friendly place on the island.

Photo credit: AlGraChe via Flickr

The right-hand point break with consistently small peelers is suitable for all levels between April and October. Considered the best wave in Sri Lanka, it breaks over a reef and offers several fast sections and some incredibly long rides, just perfect for longboarding.

A few hours south of Arugam Bay, a safari in Yala National Park is a must-do on your rest days – you’ll see herds of elephants, leopards, sloth bears, buffaloes, crocodiles, and birds. 

Elephant Rock


Photo credit:

Best forAll levels

Located 4 km (2.5 miles) south of the main break at Arugam Bay, Elephant Rock can be a technical wave; when it’s working, that is. This right-hand point break has two sections – one for beginners and one for more advanced surfers. Despite the considerable number of surf schools, this one remains a far less crowded surf spot on the east coast.



Photo credit:

Best forExperienced surfers

South of Arugam Bay, this small hamlet in the Eastern Province is home to a right-hand point break that is more suitable for experienced surfers. The main break at Okanda is completely exposed, which makes it technical and wild. Steep and fast waves with occasional barreling sections hit the shore.

Beginners can still have fun at Okanda, as the large rocks to the north of the bay provide some protection and make way for a shallow sandy bay with more mellow waves.

Pottuvil Point


Best forExperienced surfers

North of Arugam Bay, Pottuvil Point is a right point break, small but hollow, that is more suitable for experienced surfers. This is one of the best right-handers on the island but, unfortunately, it only tends to work in August and September, when it offers incredibly long rides of over 800 meters (0.5 miles). There are multiple take-off points, which means that crowds are rarely an issue.

Peanut Farm


Best forAll levels

A semi-secret surf spot within easy reach from Arugam Bay, Peanut Farm is a right-hand point break with two sections: Main Point and Baby Point. Main Point is a technical wave with a fast take-off and barreling sections and, therefore, recommended for more experienced surfers. Baby Point is the continuation, mellower and more suitable for beginners. If you’re lucky, you might see these two connect and catch a long and exciting ride that simply cannot get any better!


Octavia Drughi

Octavia is a travel writer for She is a passionate mountaineer, rock climber and adventure addict who feels just as comfortable high on the rocks as she does deep down in the sea.

Special thanks to Rocio from On & Beyond The Surfboard, a community for water sports lovers for suggesting this topic for December!

10 Epic SUP Trips You Absolutely Need to Take in a Lifetime


Are you looking for some eye candy the next time you paddle your board? Do stunning backdrops, snow-capped mountains, mangrove forests, alpine lakes, lagoons, emerald-green rivers and tropical beaches tickle your fancy? Then you’re in luck, because the world’s stand-up paddle boarding hotspots have them all!

SUP is the new rage and the fastest-growing watersport in the world. One reason for this is that learning to ride a paddle board is a breeze – almost anyone can do it 30 minutes after stepping on it. Another reason is that it allows for a lot of freedom. You are not restricted to the ocean and waves; the only limit is your imagination. You can stand-up paddle board on the nearest lake or river, even in your city if there’s a winding waterway passing through it. SUP offers the chance to become one with nature in incredibly picturesque locations, all the while ‘walking on water.’

To help you find your next SUP oasis, we’ve put together a list with the world’s most epic stand-up paddle boarding trips you absolutely need to take in your lifetime.

10. New Zealand


SUP Lake Wanaka, New Zealand - Photo by Camilla Rutherford

One of the most enchanting places in the world, culturally rich and boasting abundant wildlife and ecosystems, New Zealand is a bucket list destination. Its many lakes, rivers, beaches and bays surrounded by rocky mountains have landed it a place on our list.



Bay of Islands, New Zeland - Photo credit

Northland’s Bay of Islands, with a subtropical climate and warm water all year round, is one of the best places for SUP in New Zealand. Not to mention that a pod or two of dolphins might tag along for the ride. Auckland and Raglan are well-known SUP hotspots, the latter being regarded as the quintessential New Zealand surf town. If you’re looking for a true sense of adventure, head to Lake Wanaka, New Zealand’s fourth largest lake.

9. Oahu, Hawaii



You can never go wrong with the birthplace of stand-up paddle boarding – Hawaii. Sunset Beach on the north shore of Oahu is famous for its big wave surfing during winter. During summer, the waves are smaller and friendlier, just perfect for paddle boarding. Those seeking a bigger challenge can paddle from Sunset Beach all the way to Waimea Bay, a 4-mile (6.5 km) trip.



SUP Lanikai Beach, Oahu - Photo credit

Sunny and warm Oahu has plenty of other SUP spots worth hitting, like Puaena PointHaleiwa and Lanikai Beach, which are favorites among stand-up paddling beginners. Water temperature in Oahu is usually a pleasant 80 °F (27 °C).

8. Florida Keys



SUP Florida - Photo by Bill Dickinson

With almost the entire state surrounded by water, it is no wonder that the SUP community in Florida is flourishing. The coral cay archipelago of Florida Keys off the southern coast of the state offers literally hundreds of spots to launch your paddleboard. With a rich marine life that includes stingrays and manatees, mangrove forests, a diverse ecosystem and Caribbean-like waters, Florida Keys is an island paradise that’s best explored on a kayak or SUP.


SUP Florida Keys

Paddleboarders can take advantage of the trade winds to cover long distances. When there’s no wind, the paddleboard can be used for fishing, SUP yoga, meditation or simply gliding in a slow, laid-back pace. Back on land, Florida’s Fort Lauderdale is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East.’ Its winding canals that empty in the Atlantic make it one of the most scenic SUP destinations in the USA.

7. Mexico



SUP Los Arcos in Perto Vallarta, Mexico - Photo credit

With over 9,000 miles (14,500 km) of coastline, azure waters and sandy beaches, Mexico is one of the best surfing destinations on the planet. Quality surf awaits on both the Pacific coast and the Gulf of Mexico, and there’s always a cool wave to catch throughout the year. 

Puerto Vallarta is a culturally rich city that offers excellent SUP opportunities for all levels. Here, Banderas Bay, with its warm and calm water, is a Pacific haven. Los Muertos Beach is the most popular and active when it comes to water sports, and you can expect to see sea turtles, dolphins and humpback whales while paddling here.



Sayulita, Mexico - Photo credit

The small tropical town of Sayulita is considered the SUP capital of Mexico. Beginner and pros alike are guaranteed to have a good time, as a growing SUP community will welcome them. Cancun and Punta Mita are excellent locations too, great for the whole family.

6. Slovenia



SUP Slovenia - Photo credit

A small country counting only two million inhabitants between the mighty Alps and the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia is one of the most water-rich countries in Europe. This can only mean one thing – a SUP paradise. Stand-up paddling is relatively new to Slovenia, but it has seen a rapid growth these past years thanks to the country’s pristine nature and numerous flat-water alpine lakes and gently-flowing rivers.



SUP Savica River, Slovenia - Photo credit

In Slovenia, stand-up paddle boarding is as diverse as the country itself. There’s even urban SUP here. After all, what better way to explore the picturesque Old Town of the capital city of Ljubljana than by paddling your way through it? The unbelievably picturesque Lake Bled is on top of everyone’s list, an alpine lake that is home to Slovenia’s only island. So are paddling down the emerald-green Soča River and Savica River and on Lake Cerknica.

5. British Columbia, Canada



SUP Emerald Lake in the Canadian Rockies - Photo credit

It may not be the first destination that springs to mind when thinking about SUP, but British Columbia (B.C.) is a hidden gem with plenty of surprises in store. After all, it is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and a popular destination for kayakers and canoe trippers. Why should stand-up paddle boarding fall behind?



SUP Whistler, B.C. - Photo credit

With lakes, rivers, a maze of waterways along the rugged central coast, no wonder B.C. has a thriving SUP community. There are so many amazing spots to paddle it would be tough to list them all. So we’ll just mention what we believe are the best – the coastal waters of TofinoKalamalka Lake in Vernon, Muncho LakeEmerald LakeWhistler and the west side of Vancouver are the places to start for a scenic SUP adventure.

4. The Turks and Caicos Islands



SUP Turks and Caicos Islands - Photo credit

An archipelago of 40 coral islands surrounded by turquoise waters, the Turks and Caicos Islands are an SUP haven. Explore the mangrove swamps and reefs abounding in sea turtles and schools of colorful fish, all the while watching herons and nurse sharks swimming underneath your board.



SUP Turks and Caicos Islands - Photo credit

Turks and Caicos Islands have an average water temperature of 80 °F (27 °C) and see the most tourists between December and March. There’s no better way to explore the pristine wetlands and hidden turquoise waterways of the islands than on a SUP. The calm waters and white sand beaches make Grace Bay a paddle boarding paradise. Chalk Sound National Park and its landlocked lagoon is another picturesque spot to paddle.

3. Portugal



SUP Ericeira, Portugal - Photo credit

Often referred to as the stand-up paddle boarding capital of Europe, Portugal does indeed offer a wide variety of waters. With 1,115 miles (1,794 km) of coastline, there’s a huge potential for surfing, SUP and other watersports. Even better, there are plenty of top-notch SUP spots within striking distance from the country’s capital. One of them is the popular seaside resort of Ericeira.



Almourol Castle, Rio Tejo, Portugal

Paddle the majestic Rio Tejo, which empties into the Atlantic at Lisbon – there aren’t many places in the world where you can SUP round an 800-year-old Knights Templar Castle. South of Lisbon, Luiz Saldanha Marine Park offers a unique experience – it is like paddling in an aquarium with more than 1,000 species, with an astounding visibility of up to 70 feet (21 m). The turquoise waters here have quite a few bottlenose dolphins as permanent residents. For a change of scenery, take a SUP ride inside the Benagil Cave in the Algarve. 

2. Costa Rica



SUP Nosara, Costa Rica - Photo credit

There’s no doubt that Costa Rica is a surfing mecca that’s on everyone’s bucket list. But I’m here to tell you that stand-up paddle boarding is gaining serious ground on the tropical country’s coasts too. Tourists who do not fancy the idea of spending days in a row learning to catch a wave now have the perfect alternative – SUP.



SUP Playa Danta, Costa Rica - Photo credit

Playa Danta in the Guanacaste region is a secluded, off-the-beaten-path flat-water bay abounding in exotic sea life. It is also one of the country’s premier SUP spots. There’s more to Playa Danta than surfing. For adventure lovers, there are zip lines and ATV rides through the surrounding jungles. And please make sure you bring your snorkeling gear along. With water temperatures ranging around 86 F (30 C) all year, Costa Rica truly is a paradise found.

1.    Lake Tahoe, California



SUP Lake Tahoe - Photo credit

North America’s largest alpine lake is perhaps the most photographed SUP location in the world. And with good reason – its mesmerizing blue water, 72 miles (115 km) of shoreline covered in coniferous trees and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background make it a dream destination for a variety of recreational activities. What better way to enjoy this natural beauty than on a laid-back paddle boarding session?



SUP Lake Tahoe - Photo credit

The crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe offer an astounding visibility of up to 70 feet (21 m) down on a good morning. Conditions are great from late spring until early fall, and the best time of day to paddle is in the morning or early evening. That’s when the surface is calmer and the winds are gentle, ensuring an intimate experience. These conditions are also ideal if you’re a beginner. Lake Tahoe is the venue of the annual Tahoe SUP & Paddleboard Race Series, an annual event worth attending if not even participating in.

Would you like to take your stand-up paddleboard around the world? Now you know where to start! So head to and choose your next SUP holiday

Octavia writes for, the largest surf travel website with 2056 unique listings in 244 destinations around the world. 
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