Surfing on the south coast

As the train rolls south from Colombo it is not long before the sea comes into view, huge waves pounding against the rock face and small beaches tucked away on the outskirts of busy towns. You might glimpse the odd coloured fishing boat bobbing on the water or a lone surfer sitting on his board, just waiting for that perfect wave. The train is the fastest and easiest way to travel along this coastline and some two hours and a few hundred rupees later you will arrive in Galle where your adventure begins. The south coast of Sri Lanka is a surfer’s paradise and there is no end to the choice of places to go.

For those surfers who are just taking their first baby steps on a board there are many areas you can choose from and surf schools you can drop into. Though Sri Lanka is infamous for its dangerous currents and huge swell, there are many beaches where natural reefs and jutting beaches have created calmer seas for those less practised than others. One of the best places just two kilometres from the Galle Railway station is Devata, the bay just by the Closenberg Hotel, a stretch of beach that at sunset is lit up, the sand turning a dark, dusty pink. There is a surf school on the beach run by Mahatun who will be your personal guide, lending you a board and teaching you the tricks needed to master the waves.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a pro then there are a number of areas you can explore. The best of those are Kabalana or Mirissa, beaches south of Galle where the swell can get up to 6 feet high. Just make sure you check the local tides beforehand as the reef can become shallow when the tide is out. If you can, go with a local so that they can steer you away from the hidden rocks. For a local’s secret spot, look no further than Matara, about fifteen minutes further down the coast from Mirissa. When you arrive there, if you can find the right guy to take you, he might just be able to show you a few untouched spots, where the waves are perfect and you may find yourself never wanting to leave.