Sri Lanka Surfari

Blog post below the video.

I flew from Goa airport on the 20th May to Colombo airport, with a 4 hour layover in Chennai Airport. When I arrived in Colombo at 2am (actually the airport is closer to Negombo), I took a $2 Uber to Hangover Hostel, just a few kilometres away. I had heard that Colombo wasn’t the most interesting or attractive city, so I booked a bus to Matara for that same afternoon.

The bus to Matara was quick, comfortable (A/C) and only 600Rs for the 3 hour journey. When I arrived in Matara, I asked the locals at the bus station which bus to take to get to Mirissa. They were extremely friendly and helpful and pointed me in the right direction.

I was absolutely surprised at how different my first day in Sri Lanka was to my time in India. It took a bit of time to adjust but it was much less intense and I could relax here a lot more.

The local bus cost about 50 cents and dropped me off in Mirissa near the Mirissa Hangover Hostel. I was here hoping to surf, but after talking to the others staying there, nobody else was surfing. Everyone was suggesting head to Arugam Bay instead.

Regardless, Mirissa was a nice town, and the hostel was just across the road from the beach, so I stayed for two nights, hanging out and playing cards in the common area with the other backpackers.

When it was time to leave, I took a local bus to Matara and then changed to another, on my way to Ella (via another bus change at Wellawaya). Before getting to Wellawaya, I met two Spanish girls on the bus who were headed to Arugam Bay. I thought it was too late in the day to make it that far, but they were going for it, so I decided to go with them and if necessary share a taxi the last hour of the journey.

The bus arrived to Monoragala at about 6:30pm, and the last bus to Arugam Bay had left at 5.30pm. We had a few roti’s each and negotiated for a tuk tuk to take us the last 72km for 2500Rs.

The tuk tuk ride was by far the longest tuk tuk journey I have ever taken. Three of us were squashed into the back, with two bags behind our heads and my bag strapped onto the side, tearing through the jungle in the dark. En route I booked the same guesthouse as the girls.

Surfing in Arugam Bay

We arrived at about 8 or 9pm to 20 House. For only $9 per night, I had a basic but acceptable double room with fan, only 50 metres from the beach in Potuvil.

The next day The girls and I got a ride into town, where I rented a 6”3′ shortboard for $7/day. From there I got a tuk tuk directly to Whisky Point.

There are a few main spots around Arugam Bay, including Main Point, Whisky Point, Elephant Rock, and Peanut Farm. I spent every day at Whisky Point (15km North of Potuvil, 500Rs e/w) with one exception, being a day at Elephant Rock with the girls and Cedric, who I met in Mirissa.

During the week I cooked almost all of my own meals, and surfed one or two times a day, usually early in the morning to avoid the crowds of first-timers from Israel and Europe.

After a week of pretty small but consistent waves at Whisky, on the last morning I went at 5am and was lucky enough to have a local guy take some photos and video of me (for a fee of course – $10).

I left Arugam Bay the next morning, taking a local bus to Hambantota, where I stayed at Lagoon Inn for one night and got a tuk tuk to the regional (and surprisingly international) airport for my flight to Dubai. The airport was almost completely empty, with only one flight – it was bizarre.


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