Often considered the island’s best surfing hub for pro-surfers, the east coast beaches of Sri Lanka are renowned for their massive swells and iconic breaks. Here’s a rundown of what wave riders can expect on a surfing safari on the east coast in 2022.
Although the period from November to April is considered the best time to surf on the south coast beaches of Sri Lanka, the east coast surfing conditions are at their best from April to October. This is when popular surfing locations such as Pottuvil Point and Arugam Bay truly come alive. The period after November sees the east coast succumb to the effects of the northeast monsoon rains and torrential downpours. Surfers based at Sunrise by Jetwing in the months between May and July will find that the wave conditions, water temperature and the quality of surfing are simply top-notch. It’s little wonder that the May to July period is officially dubbed “Beach Season” on the east coast.
While they may not be as well-known or as crowded as the southern beaches on the island, the eastern fringes of Sri Lanka are home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the country. Arugam Bay Beach and Pasikudah Beach are undoubtedly the finest beaches in this area and are renowned for their turquoise coloured waters and pristine beachfront. Nilaveli Beach and Kallady Beach are also worth the visit just to witness the calm, clear waters and the abundance of marine life occupying their underwater landscapes. Travellers staying at Kottukal Beach House by Jetwing will have easy access to Pottuvil Beach and the secluded Kalhudah Beach where honeymooners and families can enjoy the deserted confines of this idyllic piece of paradise. Uppuveli Beach, Marble Beach and the beaches around Pigeon Island are no less breathtaking while also offering excellent surfing opportunities.
Jetwing Surf will offer surfers unparalleled access to some of the east coast’s finest surfing spots including Crocodile Rock, also known as Elephant Point. Suitable for surfers of varying experience levels, beginners and seasoned surfers can tackle the 1.5m tall waves that are part of this surf spot. Baby Point as its name suggests is the perfect venue for new surfers to get their fins wet while Pottuvil Point is strictly for experts who can tackle the barrels. Lighthouse is another expert-only surfing Mecca on the eastern shores whereas Peanut Farm is suitable for intermediate level surfers and beginners. The 2m high barrels of Okanda, in contrast, are for advanced surfing athletes and are just an hour’s drive away from Arugam Bay, the east coast’s most popular surfing hub.
Avid surfers will notice that the wind and water temperatures of the east coast surfing highlights are ideal during the peak surfing season. This means that the waters are warm without being too hot while steady winds are an asset to surfing instead of being a hindrance. Sandy bottoms are a characteristic of east coast beaches so surfers can expect a soft landing. Right-hand point breaks with tubular or barreling sections are common in some of the region’s top surf spots and are perhaps why so many international level surfing competitions are held in this part of the island annually. The period from April to October sees the area capitalize on South West swells fed by the storms raging across the Indian Ocean. Those who are not used to “run around” point breaks must do cardio workouts to prep for a surfing holiday in Arugam Bay as the 50 to 200m long rides can be hard on one’s extremities.