Arugama Bay Surf (user - surfingsl)

A Complete Arugam Bay Surf Guide: When, Where, and How to Surf Sri Lanka’s Best

For surfers throughout Southeast Asia, Arugam Bay Surf is legendary.  Countless breaks, many nearly unknown, and a single, epic point break with long rides make it worth traveling halfway around the world. 

Arugama Bay Surf (user - surfingsl)
One of many common, epic views around Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka (Photo Credit to @surfingsl – Surfing Sri Lanka)

But being half a world away, it can be a pain planning the breaks to surf, when, how to get there, and then navigating the language and culture along the way.  Don’t sweat, this guide is here to help you plan your experience.

Read on for the Arugam Bay surf guide to help you max out your time on the waves in Sri Lanka.

Contents of this Arugam Bay Surf Guide

Arugam Bay Surf Overview

Long rights from its from Arugam bay’s legendary point break give rides for hundreds of meters, but beware that reef lies below those perfect waves, and at low tide it can be downright dangerous.  In exchange for that reef, the point break offers long walls with great shape and the occasional barrel that breaks with several sections over the reef.

 Elsewhere, count on plenty of other breaks at all skill levels within a 30-minute tuk tuk ride.

Mornings and evenings are the best times to surf as days out get extremely hot at 90+ degrees with the ocean feeling like bathwater – but keep in mind that the evening sea breeze, as refreshing as it is, can ruin afternoon/evening waves.  Snaking, bad vibes, and rude aggression can e common among the foreigners so be sure to abide by surf etiquette and understand the locals in the afternoon (just getting off work) may take a moment to feel you out and warmup to you.

To make the most of your time and avoid bad vibes, consider hiring a tuk tuk to tour you around surf spots for the day (~$20 USD for the day).  A quick 20-45 minute ride will get you to breaks that are amazing with only a few surfers out.  Read on for how to make that happen.

When To Go To Arugam Bay

Good surf in Arugam Bay happens in the hotter drier high season of April to October with July and August being the best.  The area is sunny all year round but monsoon season brings morning and afternoon rains between December and March…usually.

Waves are at their best during peak season (July to August) with more offshore wind, but beware the bay is at its hottest at 32 – 36 degrees centigrade (89 to 96 Fahrenheit).  Water temperature is consistently 27 to 29 degrees centigrade (80 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit).

Weather and Seasons

Quick Facts on when to plan Arugam Bay surf sessions

  • High Season: April to October
  • Peak Season: July to August
  • Off Season: October to April
  • Monsoon Season: December to March

The Breaks to Surf in Arugam Bay


Google Map of the Arugam Bay Surf Spots

Baby Point

  • Beginner spot
  • 2-3ft waves
  • Right hand break
  • Shallow, sandy bottom
  • July to November is best

Pottuvil Point

  • Experienced surfer spot
  • Right hand break
  • Long break stretches for 1000+ meters
  • Occasional barrel

Whisky Point

  • Beginner break – popular with longboards and paddleboards
  • 3-4ft waves
  • Wave length: 200-300 meters
  • Great year round

Lighthouse Point

  • Intermediate surf break
  • 3-4ft waves
  • Wave length: 200-300 meters
  • Sandy rock bottom
  • 40 minute Tuk Tuk ride from central Arugam Bay
  • Also near the Manachenai and Sangaman Kanda points to the north

Peanut Farm

  • Beginner and intermediate break
  • Right hand break
  • 3-4ft waves
  • Wave length: 200-300 meters
  • July to November is best

Okanda

  • Advanced surfer break
  • Reef and sandy break
  • 5-8ft waves
  • 400-600 long waves
  • One hour Tuk Tuk ride from central Arugam Bay

Panama Point

  • Intermediate surf break
  • Sand and reef bottom
  • 3-5ft wave
  • 200-300 meter long waves

Elephant Rock (Crocodile Rock)

  • Suitable for all levels
  • Early morning or late evenings its at its best
  • 30 minute Tuk Tuk ride from central Arugam Bay
  • Right hand point break
  • Sandy bottom
  • 400 meter long waves
  • Usually not crowded

Gear Accessibility

Though Sri Lanka’s surf is pumping year round, the industry is still burgeoning. Plan on being able to get mediocre gear for beginners (foam boards and dinged fun boards), but if you’re planning to rip, bring your own gear and bring some extra stuff just in case.

What to Bring: Most experienced surfers agree bringing your preferred board, an extra set of fins, extra leash, and sufficient padding for the travels (air travel, taxi travel to Arugam Bay) is good practice.

Gear Available in Arugam Bay: Recently, minimal surfboards have been getting manufactured and shipped in from Thailand but top quality gear isn’t easy to get.  Consumables, like wax, is easy to come by and better to by locally because the water and air gets so hot – they may not have what you need at your shop at home.  The verdict is still out on how good board repair in Arugam Bay is.

Selling your gear: As great gear is hard to come by for cheap in Sri Lanka, plan on the locals wanting to buy any gear off you – surfboards, fins, leashes, etc. – for a premium of ~2x normal cost.

Renting Surfboards: Plan on $4-$6 USD per board.  Be sure to inspect the board thoroughly and take pictures of any dings, scratches, or damages. Additionally, ask and agree on the cost of potential damages (dings, snapped board) in advance to avoid being scammed.

Transport

As most surfers come into Sri Lanka via Colombo, stacked with their most precious board, planning travel can seem a little difficult.  The 8 hour ride from Colombo, on the west coast, to Arugam Bay, on the east coast can seem painful, but luckily enough, travel options are relatively cheap and convenient

Arugama Bay Surf - Colombo to Arugama Bay

 

Getting to Arugam Bay


 

Colombo to Arugam Bay: Go by day, for the beauty

Whether you taxi or bus it, plan to leave Colombo in the morning so that your travel is during daylight, so you can enjoy the beauty of the ride.  Some people believe the Garden of Eden was in Sri Lanka and the beauty of the landscape is what continues to make people toy with this idea – so – ensure you make the road trip by daylight.

The three best options for getting from Colombo to Arugam Bay are taxi, luxury bus, and public bus.


Taxi from Colombo to Arugam Bay: $125 USD

If you’re carrying several boards (that you don’t want to be damaged) and a lot of gear, private taxi may be the most convenient.  Plan on this costing US ~$125 USD, negotiated before departure, and being an 8-hour ride without breaks.


Luxury Bus from Colombo to Arugam Bay: $15 USD

If you’re traveling lighter, comfortable stowing your surfboard, or going true backpacker style (just a carryon) luxury bus is the best balance of comfort and economy. Plan on this running ~$15 USD


Local/Public Bus from Colombo to Arugam Bay: $5 USD

The local bus to Arugam Bay is the cheapest option at $5, but don’t expect air-conditioning and expect it to possibly be very packed.  Buses leave from Colombo’s main bus terminal twice daily at 8AM and 5PM


Renting a Car: ~$40 per day

Renting a car will run about $40 per day but is highly not advised as Sri Lanka traffic and driving is pre chaos and a full contact sport.

Getting Around Arugam Bay

Once you’ve reached this surf paradise, its time to go explore.  Your best bet is to book a hotel next to a reliable break at your skill level, so you can quickly walk out for sunrise sessions, so give a good look at or Map of the Arugam Bay Surf Breaks and the Arugam Bay Surf Break Descriptions .


Hire a Tuk Tuk driver for the day when first exploring

For exploring the other Arugam Bay surf breaks that are beyond walking distance, hire a tuk tuk driver for the day to shuttle youu around.  The cost will be ~$20 USD.  Many of the tuk tuk drivers are surf bums as well or shuttle a lot so they’ll be able to help you get familiarized with the area and provide some valuable info on each break.

Avoid renting a scooter until you get used to the roads as Sri Lanka driving can be pure chaos.

Rent a scooter as your stay gets longer

For $6-$8 a day, you can rent a scooter with a surfboard rack once you’re familiar with the area and shuttle yourself between surf breaks

Prices and Budgeting

Accommodation: There aren’t many hostels or 5 start resorts, but there is something for everyone.  Hotels range from $10-$150

Scooter Rental: $6-$8 per day

Tuk Tuk Rental for a Day: ~$20

Surf Board Rental: $4 to $6 per day                                              

Average Meal (Lunch or Dinner):

Beer:

Taxi from Colombo to Arugam Bay: $125

Luxury Bus from Colombo to Arugam Bay: $15

Where to Go Out in Arugam Bay

After any awesome surf session, especially when you have the next day off, you want to celebrate.  These are the best spots in Arugam Bay to hit when the weekend hits.

  • Friday: Whiskey Points
  • Saturday Night: Mambo’s
  • Various Nights: Hipster Bar
  • Low key: The Beach Hut

Culture and Language

**Coming Soon**

Eating

**Coming Soon**

Other Things to Do in Arugam Bay

**Coming Soon**

 

Guides and Lessons

**Coming Soon**

 

Surf Camps

**Coming Soon**

Other Great Surf Content on ABA


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