Surfing in Weligama
Sri Lanka is a world class surf destination. While it’s true that die-hard surfers have been enjoying the run of Sri Lanka’s near-deserted beach and reef breaks for decades, over the last five or so years, surfing in Sri Lanka has really taken off. One of the south coast’s most popular beach breaks, Weligama, is a prime example as it has seen a meteoric rise in visitors over the last few years. Once a quiet backwater, this deep sandy bay is one of Sri Lanka’s top surfing destinations, where you can surf year-round.
More specifically, Weligama’s main bay is the best place to learn to surf in Sri Lanka. Other beaches nearby, such as Kabalana, Midigama, Gurubebila and Mirissa, offer a variety of advanced breaks for more experienced surfers.If you’re looking to learn to surf in Sri Lanka or to tour Sri Lanka’s southern breaks, Eraeliya Villas & Gardens is ideally located. The hotel sits just to the west of Weligama on a pretty sandy bay, close to many renowned surf breaks, in a quiet off-the- beaten track locale.
Weligama is primarily a fishing village. The deep widely curved arc of bay is lined by a sandy beach where bulky catamarans are laid to rest during the heat of the day. More fishing boats bob in the calm turquoise waters of Weligama’s calm western end of the beach, close to a bustling fish market. The main road linking Galle and Matara fringes the coast here and all along it are simple timber framed hawker stalls displaying glistening fish and seafood straight from the sea. Either side of the road are a growing number of cafes, hostels, guesthouses and hotels, and the beach itself is liberally sprinkled with the numerous signs and surfboards of the many surf outfits that have sprung up here over the last few years.
The village is actually located inland and is notable for its pretty gingerbread-style fretwork antique houses.
Surfing in Weligama
Weligama’s two-kilometre bay is shallow, and the slow low power waves that roll onshore (up to 5-ft) make learning how to surf here a breeze. Indeed, many of the operators here offer a package of lessons that almost guarantee you’ll be standing up by the second session. The bay is protected from the wind (more so than other surf breaks in Sri Lanka), and there are both left- and right-hand breaks, some of which you can ride as far as 400-metres. The bay does get busy with surfers in the high season though if you hit the waves before 8am, you’ll have more chance of enjoying the waves to yourself. Surfboards (epoxy, foam and fibre-glass) can be rented for around LKR400 from local surf outfits on the beach, and they offer surfing tuition for around LKR2000-3000. Take your pick – most are simply local surfers looking to make money out of doing something they love. Surf’n Lanka was one of the very first outfits to open and its owner Manju is probably the only ISA (International Surfing Association) qualified instructor. But chat to a few of them and see who you feel most comfortable with.
Other surf spots
Eraeliya Villas & Garden sits on a picturesque bay just to the west of Weligama. The beach here is slim yet the shallow bay to the west is a nice spot for a swim. You can surf here but there are rocks and coral to contend with. Turtles are often spotted in the shallows. Once you’re feeling a little more confident on the waves, another good local surf spot to head to is Kabalana. The long beach here is also washed by onshore rollers yet it is much less busy than Weligama. The Rock, or Kabalana Main Surf Point, is considered to be one of the best A-frame reef breaks in Sri Lanka – it peels left and right and you can ride as far as 300- metres. In January to March, the swell on this beach can sometimes reach eight-feet, so it’s popular with intermediate and experienced surfers alike. Kabalana’s Beach Break is another alternative more suited to beginner surfers. Rent boards from 7th Sky Idyll on the beach. If you’re looking for a good post-surf breakfast, juice or lunch, drop into Café Ceylon for a nutritious meal.
Need to know
Weligama is located on the south coast of Sri Lanka between Galle and Matara. Colombo is 151-kilometres away via the Southern Expressway, and the Bandaranaike International Airport is a 2.5-hour drive. Eraeliya Villas & Gardens is located at Kaparatotha, just four kilometres west of Weligama’s main beach. The hotel can arrange transfers from the airport for you and you can get around locally in a tuk tuk or rent a scooter with a board rack.