If you ever ask me what I like to do in addition to traveling and adventuring, my answer is always very clear: surfing! For me, there’s simply no better feeling than the moment, after lots of waiting and hard paddling, to finally stand up on my board and ride the perfect wave.
Line has also been hooked by the sport since her first surfing experience in Canggu. It’s no wonder we visit places that are known for their good waves, and one of those places is the tropical island of Sri Lanka! We recently spent a week at Lapoint Surf Camp in Sri Lanka and had an amazing time. In this post we’re going to give you a review of what a week at the surf camp looks like, where you can surf, and everything else you need to know about surfing in Sri Lanka!
“Surfing in Sri Lanka”
A week at Lapoint Surf Camp
Surfing Sri Lanka: the most important information at a glance
Sri Lanka has long been known among surfers and yet the island is still relatively undiscovered by travelers–therefore, it’s perfect for an Off The Path destination! Unlike other surfing hotpots like Bali, California, Nicaragua, Hawaii, or Australia, you only share the waves with a few other surfers and can often be completely alone.
With the tropical climate prevailing on the coast of Sri Lanka year round, the temperature is usually around 30 degrees, and the Indian Ocean is always warm. It’s definitely a huge advantage since you can leave your wetsuit at home, and go surfing with just a swimsuit or bikini and your surfboard!
In addition, the country is great for some other cool adventures, not just awesome surf breaks. Something you shouldn’t miss for sure is the train journey from Ella to Kandy which gives you amazing views! Another fun adventure to go on is a camping safari adventure in Yala National Park where you can meet leopards and wild elephants. Finally, a great place to take a walk to is Sigiriya where there’s a completely unreal monolith and historic ruins!
One thing to be aware of in Sri Lanka is the monsoon season the country gets. There’s one in the southwest and during May through September the region receives a lot of rain. At this time of the year it rains almost every day, the waves aren’t very good, and the beaches are less beautiful.
During the northeast monsoon, the other monsoon season, the northeast region of Sri Lanka receives rain almost every day from October to January. There is also an “inter-monsoon” which is the time period from October to mid-November where the island, overall, gets a lot of rain.
Because of the monsoons, you should definitely plan your travel accordingly. Look for the best surf spots in Sri Lanka that won’t be affected by monsoons at the time you’re planning to go. We’ve been, for example, to southern Sri Lanka during the off-season, but fortunately still had a few good waves because our instructors at Lapoint Surf Camp new of a really good spot.
The south coast of Sri Lanka
On the south coast there are several surf spots with the best being around Ahangama. Due to the monsoon, the south is best from October to April for surfing. The wind is offshore and makes for good waves. Additionally, the swell is pretty constant and it doesn’t rain that much!
The Bay of Weligama is especially popular here. Beginners in surfing can practice closer to the island while the experienced surfers go further away from the island for some really good waves.
Also, you can go surfing in the north and a little west of Sri Lanka in Bentota and Hikkaduwa, and Unawatuna. You can also head a little more east to Matara and Tangalle. Talalla Beach is really cool, a secluded beach behind Matara. You can even go kitesurfing here since the western and southwestern winds are fairly constant.
It’s really helpful that this region is only about a two hour drive away from the capital Colombo via the Southern Expressway. Alternatively, you can also take a tuk-tuk to Galle in 45 minutes – another major city in Sri Lanka. Ahangama is where the Lapoint Surf Camp’s located. This is where Line and I spent almost a week in June!
The eastern coast of Sri Lanka
On the east coast of Sri Lanka the best time for surfing is in May and September, exactly the time when the waves on the southwest coast are no longer that good. The surf spots here are best in Arugam Bay with several good surf breaks. The most popular is the Main Point in the south of the bay. There is also Whiskey Point and Pottuvil Point north of the bay, and Elephant Rock, Peanut Farm, and Okanda in the south.
Arugam Bay is also home to some of the most talented surfers from Sri Lanka and to the first international surfing championship, which was hosted by the Association of Surfing Professionals. Because of its fame, this spot is not only popular among locals but also surfers from around the world. You often have a pretty big line up during the good season with many other surfers to share the waves with.
Arugam Bay is located approximately 320 kilometers from the capital of Colombo, and to get there you’ll need at least seven hours by car!
General information on Lapoint Surf Camp Sri Lanka
The week starts every monday
Since the scheduled weeks starts on Monday at Lapoint Surf Camp, you should plan your arrival accordingly. By request, you can also let them know you’d like to arrive and depart on another day. For example, we arrived on a Wednesday. The only downside is you miss the first few days of getting to know the people and your timetable shifts a bit.
The different levels of surfing
You can choose between one week, or two, and also select a surfing level appropriate to you. Each level is distinct. Level 1 is aimed at beginners where you learn to stand on your board and surf whitewater for the first time. Level 2 is intended for more advanced surfers who want to learn to surf on their own on green waves. Finally, level 3 is suitable for surfers who have a little more experience and want to improve their technique.
If you opt for level 1 you’ll get lessons from a local surfer. Students in level 2 and 3 are taught directly by the Lapoint surf instructors. They usually have an international background! Line and I took the level 2 course. By the end we ended up in the water together with level 3 students who, of course, had their own teachers.
Beach Villa or Garden Villa
The Lapoint Surf Camp has two accommodation options in Ahangama. One is the Garden Villa and the other is the Beach Villa. Both are within five minutes walking distance from each other. The Beach Villa – as the name suggests – is located right on the beach. There’s room for 12 guests in total, while the Garden Villa can house up to 40 people. Both villas have a private pool and private or shared rooms.
The price for a week at Lapoint Surf Camp depends largely on which villa and room type you decide to stay in. The Beach Villa is a little more expensive since you get a private room. Line and I stayed in a private double room with a private bathroom in the Beach Villa and we could see the ocean right from our room – absolutely priceless!
A total of five days of surf and theory lessons
Over the course of your week, you receive five days of surfing lessons for about 2 to 3 hours each. During the season you can surf right on the beach outside of the Beach Villa! In the off-season, though, you have to take a tuk-tuk to another beach. You’ll typically go to Weligama Bay, which is 15 minutes away.
The surfing lessons take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Monday and Friday are used as rest days. The time of day you go out, of course, is always dependent on the daily current swell. This can either be very early in the morning at 6am, around 10am, or sometime in the afternoon. To find out the best time for your surfing level, the surf instructors always check the surf report the night before, and also on the day of your lesson.
There’s at least one day where you have a 1-hour lesson going over surfing theory and learning about the emergence of waves, and the right surfing equipment among other things. The teacher will also explain these types of things during the surfing lesson, and will include details about the surf spot you’ll be at and how to improve standing up on your board. One group also had lessons in their pool, so they could improve their paddling technique.
The surf instructors, social hosts, and camp manager all live in the camp to take care of the entire place. At any time you can approach them if you have questions, and they’re ultimately there to create a good atmosphere in the camp and generally help out! You’ll never have to feel alone with them around, and even if everyone else is out surfing you can go on your own little trip somewhere or have a nap!
Take tuk-tuks to the surf spots
Another note about the tuk-tuks: the rides for the actual surfing lessons are included but if you want to go out on your own to surf along the beach you’ll have to pay for it yourself. For Weligama Bay, a tuk-tuk ride costs around 1200-1600 Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) for a round trip, which is about 7-10 euros. The driver even waits for you the entire time you’re surfing to drive you back! Generally there’s always a few tuk-tuks waiting out in front of the villa. If not you can ask for one from the Camp Manager or a Social Host and they’ll get you one in a few minutes.
If you want to go surfing on the two days when there are no surf lessons and want to surf alone every day, you’ll definitely want to stay at Lapoint Surf Camp for at least a week. In the off-season, you’ll want to budget for at least 70 extra Euros just to pay for the tuk-tuk rides to your surf spots.
Breakfast and five dinners are included
At Lapoint Surf Camp daily breakfast and five dinners are included! These are all served in the villa and are often typical Sri Lankan dishes prepared on site by the chefs. For breakfast there’s always a selection of fruit, mostly bananas, watermelon, and pineapple. There is also toast, butter, jam, cheese, and also yoghurt and Kellogg’s or muesli.
On some days there are also scrambled eggs and pancakes. However, it wasn’t the best choice for me and after a week I’d honestly had enough of it. And of course, there’s always water and coffee or tea with milk and sugar.
On two of the evenings you go out to eat as a group, and you do have the option to choose whether you want to go or not. One night we went to Café Ceylon, which is located just a few minutes down the road from the villas. There’s international cuisine but most of it is fairly expensive and in my opinion not very tasty. Line and I went here twice and the only thing I can really recommend is the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream.
The other time the group went out for dinner they took a tuk-tuk to The Fortress. It’s a resort hotel on the beach of the neighboring Koggala. There’s a good buffet here with a wide selection of different dishes from steak and lobster to sushi. The cost is around 4000 LKR (25 euros) per person, plus the cost of the tuk-tuk ride to and from the hotel.
Line and I didn’t participate in going to The Fortress. Instead we took a tuk-tuk, spent 3000 LKR (18 euros), and drove to Galle to treat ourselves to a delicious burger, fries, and homemade iced tea at The Original Rocket Burger. I had a Lighthouse Burger with double meat, cheese, coleslaw, steak sauce, caramelized onions, and dried tomatoes and Line order the Grandma Burger. We both ended up ordering slices of bacon, too, and our burgers were really delicious!
For the two burgers and extra bacon, fries, and iced tea, we paid a total of 16 euros. Adding in the cost of the tuk-tuk, we were still well below the cost of what it would’ve been to go to The Fortress – and we got a chance to see Galle!
Here’s a link to The Original Rocket Burger, so you can take a look!
Lunch and other extras
Lunch is available at Lapoint Surf Camp, but the price is not included. So you end up having a choice to go through the neighborhood to find somewhere cool to eat, or simply pay for lunch at the camp. Most of the restaurants you’ll find in Ahangama don’t have a huge selection and you’ll also have to keep in mind the cost of taking a tuk-tuk to and from the camp.
At the camp the menu serves several dishes including salads, burgers, sandwiches, curries, and a fruit plates. My favorite dish here was the club sandwich, but I cannot really recommend the salads. On average you need about 800LKR per dish, so expect around 5 euros. All in all, you’ll be able to have breakfast in the morning and then put your name on a list for lunch, so you can specify the time you want to eat. Generally lunch is served between 11:30 and 13:30.
There’s also a fridge in the villa’s kitchen filled with cold drinks like cola, beer, and sweets such as Snickers and Mars bars. These things, of course, cost a little extra money, but you can go ahead and buy them whenever you want. Additionally, you can take fruit or make coffee and tea, but you’ll have to pay for these as well.
At the end of the week all of your costs are added up and you pay the full amount when you check out. Keep in mind you can only pay cash, so make sure to have sufficient amounts of Sri Lankan Rupees on hand! On average, you can expect 100 extra Euros for food and drinks per person for one week at Lapoint Surf Camp.
Cost for a week in Lapoint Surf Camp Sri Lanka
A week in Lapoint Surf Camp in Sri Lanka starts at 599 Euros per person in the off-season when you stay in a dormitory at the Garden Villa. During the high season, the prices are 675 Euros for one week. Level 3, however, is only available in the high season from early November and costs 700 Euros for one week. Again, that’s only if you stay in a shared dormitory in the Garden Vila. To stay in the Beach Villa you’ll have to pay extra for each person. While an upgrade to a double room in the Garden Villa is 63 euros, an upgrade to the Beach Villa is 163 euros.
Added to the cost of accommodation and courses are the tuk-tuk trips I mentioned and food. For each, you’ll want to have around 70 Euros and 100 Euros, respectively.
This is what a week at Lapoint Surf Camp is like!
Day 1: Arrival and introductions
The first day of your stay is mainly devoted to learning about the course, what to expect in the upcoming weekly routine, when the surfing lessons take place, who your surf instructors are, and with whom you’ll have your lessons – if there are any other students in your surfing level. Line and I were, for example, the only ones taking the level 2 course and ended up having our instructor all to ourselves which was super awesome!
After introductions you’ll make your way to your room to unwind and unpack your backpack. Then you can chill in the living room with everyone else, or hang out on your own, listen to the sounds of the ocean, and check out the schedule for your first surfing lesson coming up the next day!
Day 2: Your first hour of surfing
Today is a very special day: the camp schedules your first hour outside of the Lapoint Surf Camp! For us, we had to get up fairly early in the morning at 5:45, wait for a tuk-tuk outside the Beach Villa, and take off to Weligama Bay. Our surf instructor was 21 year old Adrien, originally French and with over three years experience surfing!
Before you get to throw yourself into the waves with your surfboard, you’ll learn about the surf spot, how to get safely into the lineup (at level 2 and 3), the direction you ride the waves, and which reference points you must keep an eye out for – all these things help keep you and the other surfers at the spot safe, so it’s super important!
Adrien also asked us little questions about our surfing knowledge and let us make a few dry runs on the beach to assess our surfing stance. Then we went straight in the water to hit our first green waves! We surfed next to the island that day, so on the right side of the bay if you’re viewing it from the beach.
The great thing about it was we had Adrien to ourselves so we could go on tons of waves. Generally they keep the lessons to the Lapoint Camp and will only have a maximum of three students per instructor. You can be sure you’ll get a lot of one on one learning opportunities and have lots of chances to get good waves!
Objectives for the next few days
After the first hour of surfing your instructor will give you some feedback, and tell you what things you did well and point out your weaknesses. In the coming days, you’ll primarily focus on these weaknesses! You get to set a very personal goal to work towards so you’ll be able to really notice improvements as you move along.
My problem was that I would look down, not in the direction of where I was surfing to, and I also wouldn’t bend my knees enough. So for me, my goal was to direct my sight upwards and to the side more, and to get into an even deeper crouching stance. I have to say, working with such an objective and concrete goal, and getting advice directly from an instructor, is really valuable!
For the rest of the day you can either chill at the villa, take a trip to somewhere like Unawatuna or Galle, or go surfing for a second time by yourself. We were so exhausted that we opted for the former. That evening, you’ll get to enjoy a quiz night with all the guests and people from the surf camp!
Day 3: Work on your goals
On the third day it was off to another surf spot for us. The instructors had found, only a few days before, a surf spot that neither the locals nor other surf schools went to. We got to stay in the waves completely alone, and they were absolutely great!
The surf spot was located in Weligama Bay on the reef, but not directly on it, more so next to it. After getting ready you have to go out to Coral Bay to meet the surf break, which requires you to first paddle for strenuous 10 minutes being careful not to be dragged around by the current. At this point, the waves are best at a low tide and you can only go one direction, left.
Line and I got to experience brilliant surfing conditions! We enjoyed perfect medium-sized, slow waves that were perfect for practicing on. On our third day we were able to work directly on our goals, and I rode several really good waves!
To get back to the beach you have to paddle for the 10-minute stretch again, but this time the current is much stronger and you have to fight to get back to the right beach. After two hours of surfing, the 10 minutes of paddling feels much longer than before since you feel like you’re moving forward centimeters at a time! The last few meters are especially challenging when you can see just how close the beach is. Nevertheless it was a worthwhile round trip to this surf spot, because it was incredible!
Additionally, the first big theory lesson is announced for Wednesday. The surf instructors at the Lapoint Surf Camp teach important surfing lessons for about two hours. They give you exercises to do, create drawings, and explain theory using surfing films. In my opinion it’s always good to have the theory side of things in addition to getting practical experience. For example, I learned that I usually have my hands too far forward on my board and should be moving them further back.
Day 4: The first successes
Line and I went to the surf spot on the reef again and this time we were able to see our first large successes. I stood on my board much longer and rode a lot more waves, even partially, completely alone and without Adrien’s help – it was a fun experience! The road back was even more exhausting than the day before, though, and Line and I took a nap for a few hours.
On your fourth day you’ll also take a yoga class at the villa itself to practice good balance for surfing. You’ll also be going to Ceylon Café for dinner that evening! As I mentioned, you’ll have to pay for the food yourself since it isn’t included.
Day 5: Time for a break or a cool trip!
On the fifth day, Friday, there are no surf lessons scheduled. On this day you can choose to relax, go surfing alone, or take a trip to Galle or Mirissa. The camp also offers a private trip you can participate in. They’ll take you on a walk through the rainforest to a hidden waterfall in Udawalawe National Park. The drive there takes three hours and the walk and visit to the waterfall takes around 4 hours – so you’ll be out all day! Again, keep in mind this trip is extra, and will therefore cost extra!
Day 6 and 7: It’s back on the surfboard and then doing some homework!
For the last two days you’re back on your board, and should already be seeing a lot of progress. Depending on your level you go from whitewater to green waves, and off to a new surf spot. On day 6 is when the second dinner at The Fortress is while yoga is offered again on day 7.
On the last day your surf instructor will assess your strengths and weaknesses again and tell you what you should focus on in the future. They give you some simple homework so you can easily improve your surfing technique in the future without a teacher. I find this is a really good thing because you’ll know what to look for when you’re in the water alone. You’ll have a specific objective in mind to work towards!
You learn a lot during a week at Lapoint Surf Camp in Sri Lanka!
Although I already had an earlier experience at a surf camp in Morocco, I must say the instructors and overall concept at Lapoint Surfcamp Sri Lanka are really good! Our instructor, Adrien, immediately saw the things we were doing right and wrong and was able to give us great tips. He was there every single day full of passion, and was amazing at explaining things!
The good thing at Lapoint is that they work with very concrete objectives so you can work on your weaknesses to quickly reach success and improvements. The small groups and level divisions were great, and I’d absolutely take one of these courses again!
The two villas, especially the Beach Villa, are really cool, nicely decorated, bright, comfortable, and right on the beach! Although the breakfasts got a little old throughout the week, and the extra dinners, lunches, and tuk-tuk rides made things a little more expensive, you can learn how to surf properly in a really short time at Lapoint – and the instructors are amazing!
Have you ever gone surfing in Sri Lanka? What are your experiences or recommendations?