If you’re fed up of the cold and you already miss summer, and your feet are itching for a new adventure, why don’t I suggest you grab your backpack and follow me to Srilanka.
Sandy beaches, coconut trees, and friendly faces everywhere; the South of Srilanka is where you want to spend your next sunny escape, especially if you’d like to combine relaxing time with surfing lessons, like I did.
Weligama is absolutely the ideal location for beginners like me looking for small waves and the best conditions for surf learning and training. With waves never too high and a sandy beach, not to mention the many accessible surf camps and schools, you’re definitely off for a good start!
If you’re quite serious about surfing and want to do it the professional way, you can book in advance in some surfing camps like The Surfer or Tallala Retreat (most renowned surf camp located in Tallala) for a minimum of a one-week camp where you won’t have to worry about a thing.
I chose to do it the random way and just “go with the flow” because I didn’t want anything about this trip to be calculated or prearranged. All I booked was the hostel, which was quite a humble one run by a lovely family, with a good location facing Weligama beach. (The Sea View Guest House)
Cross the street and you’re on the beach. Walk five minutes to the left and a choice of surf “schools” welcomes you. I chose to rent my board and take surfing lessons with “Wave 2 You” because it was recommended by a friend. However, they’re all more or less similar in prices and quality, so don’t worry much about which one to choose.
Renting a board for an hour would cost you 300 rupees (equivalent to $2.11), while a one-hour lesson plus a 30-min board rental would cost you 2000 rupees (equivalent to $14). Cheap enough to stay in the water all day!
Some tips before getting on your board:
- The best times for surfing are between 6 and 8am and 4 to 6pm. My advice: DO NOT MISS THE EARLY MORNING SESSION! Waking up at 6am is totally worth it, not only you’ll enjoy the best sunrise ever, but you’ll be sure to catch the best waves of the day.
- You don’t want to eat too much before surfing, a fresh glass of coconut juice is enough to give you the protein boost you need for an hour or two of surfing (plus, it’s so delicious you’ll probably have it all day long!)
- Do not underestimate the surfing suit. You’re obviously not going to wear a full one, but at least a top half one that would protect you from the scratches you can have from the board and preserve your body temperature for longer endurance.
- Do not give up if you can’t stand on the board and ride waves from the first day! Surfing is a long process that requires patience and practice. However, I can assure you that you will eventually get on that board after a lesson or two and you’ll never ever forget the feeling of that. It’s simply exhilarating!
– Best fresh cocktails in town: The Cream House (not far from Sea View guest house)
– A good place to eat: The Break Point (50 meters from Sea View, relatively good food with nice music and a nice terrace)
– A great place to hangout, have a drink, meet cool people: The Hangtime Hostel (I spent almost all my nights there. The vibes are really nice and you can have a great time meeting people from around the world. The hostel is run by two Australians and you’d be lucky if you can find a room to stay as it’s almost fully-booked all the time. Try your luck here: http://www.hangtimehostel.com/)
Places to check nearby:
Weligama is quite small but the good thing is that you can find beautiful places nearby. Grab a tuktuk or rent a bike and make sure to visit Mirissa, 10 minutes away from Weligama, for a beautiful stretch of beach and many nice beach restaurants.
A visit to Galle transports you to a historic town with a charming cachet, where small streets reveal a classic architecture and cute little boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants, and where the historic Fort of Galle offers a magical walk and a stunning sunset.
Surfing was a great way for me to discover the South of Srilanka – and never forget it – not only because I was learning something new, but also because surfing is so deeply rooted in the culture of the Southern locals that it automatically bonded me stronger to them and to their culture.
Srilanka, thank you for the amazing moments. I’ll definitely be back!