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Sri Lanka is a secret surfer’s paradise

Mar 4, 2019
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Imagine a paradisiacal surf destination. What do you see? Perhaps Hawaii and its lush vegetation? Or Sydney and its sun-kissed, shirtless inhabitants? If you’re a serious surfer, maybe a Central American beach or even a European destination like Nazaré, Portugal, where every year the biggest waves are waiting for daredevils to break records. More likely than not, Sri Lanka didn’t make the cut. And that — along with its ideal surf conditions — are what make a journey there so special.

Due to its tropical location, the island has the potential to make good waves throughout the year, thanks to strong offshore winds that peak during monsoon season. The Southern Coast is more popular between November and April, while the East Coast benefits from better tides from May to September (try Arugam Bay during those months).

For a dream surf adventure, take the train from Colombo to Sri Lanka’s southern coast. (Navigating through wagons, swerving through food sellers and Buddhist monks as the train swishes between the jungle and the coast, between palm trees and rice fields, is part of the experience.) There you will find cities like Weligama, Hikkaduwa, Ahangama and Mirissa — all surf hot spots since famed Californian Rusty Miller first hit the breaks and popularized them in 1965.

Each of the towns offer idyllic beaches and high waves, some a few more crowded than others, but all with the same sleepy, welcoming vibe. Fortunately they’re only a few minutes apart by motorbike, so feel free to zip up and down the coast, sampling them all.

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