By: Mikael and Thrillism
11 minute read
Last updated June 5th, 2020
There are two distinct surfing regions in Sri Lanka, one in the southwest and one in the southeastern part of the island. Each area has its own surf season, which means that surfing in Sri Lanka is possible pretty much all year long.
If you visit during the southwest coast’s surf season, you won’t want to miss out on Hikkaduwa surfing. This is one of the most developed tourist towns on the island for surfers, so it’s a great choice if you’re not up for staying in a remote village that doesn’t come with modern-day comforts.
When the surf is working, we’re talkin’ 10-foot waves that are enough to appease even the pros. But even beginners can get in on the action here, which is one of the reasons why Hikkaduwa has been dubbed one of the best surf destinations for all levels.
Hikkaduwa isn’t too far from Colombo, the island’s capital. Colombo is home to the main international airport, so all you have to do is fly in and grab a bus, taxi, shuttle, or train down the coast to reach the surf at Hikkaduwa.
The 75-mile drive will go fastest if you hire a direct taxi from the airport. You could be in Hikka less than 2 hours after you land on the island. Another option is to drive yourself, and there are always public buses, but this will take about 3 hours.
This seaside resort town used to be a small fishing village, but it was discovered by surfers a few decades ago, and the tourist surfer scene boomed from there. The beaches here are lined with palm trees, restaurants, and bars, making Hikkaduwa the most lively surf destination on the island.
Like most of Sri Lanka, this area is famous for its natural attractions both on land and in the water. The wide, clean beaches are great for lounging around and the clear waters are the perfect setting for watersports from snorkeling and diving to surfing and boogie-boarding.
Since Hikkaduwa is one of the main attractions of Sri Lanka, the prices here are more expensive than some of the more remote surf spots. But all in all, it’s easy to get by on next to nothing, especially if you’re OK staying in a dorm bed in a Hikkaduwa surf hostel.
If you’ve got a taste for luxury, you can expect to spend about $100 per night, but if you’re comfortable sleeping next to your surfing buddies in a non-AC room, you can get by on $10 a night for accommodations.
The price you pay also depends on high season vs low season, so you can expect to pay more when the waves are working. The best way to get close to low season prices and high season waves is to visit during the shoulder season – we’ll talk about that next.
The peak season for surfing and tourism is December and January, but you can catch waves anytime from November to April. This is when the wind consistently rolls offshore and when the sun is almost constantly shining.
Since most people come here to surf, it’s basically a ghost town outside of the Hikkaduwa surfing season. In other words, don’t plan on an epic Hikkaduwa surf trip in June. The good news is that you can still visit Sri Lanka for surfing, you’d just want to head to the southeast coast for Arugam Bay.
To give you a better idea of when to visit for the best waves, here’s a month-to-month rundown of the Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka surf season:
Hikkaduwa Surf October, November & December: Picks back up in October, but really takes off in early December.
Like any solid surf town, one of the things that makes this one stand out is the variety of Hikkaduwa surf spots to choose from. There are breaks that are great for beginners, some that are more middle-of-the-road for intermediate, and a few for advanced surfers only.
During the surf season, this reef and shore break can range from 3 to 6 feet, and the waves are always fairly gentle. This makes it a great choice for beginners, and it’s one of the main spots for Hikkaduwa surf lessons.
There’s also Main Reef that offers a variety of lefts and rights that break over a deep reef. Since the reef is deep enough and the waves are smaller (about 3 feet when it’s working), this is also a decent beginner surf spot.
Benny’s, a left-hand reef break, is a better choice for more experienced surfers. It has a fast takeoff and hollow waves up to 6 feet that are best at low tide. North Jetty is a great spot for intermediate surfers with long lefters that take off from the point.
Here are a few more waves to surf near Hikkaduwa that you’ll definitely want to check out:
When it comes to surf camps in Hikkaduwa, Hippie Surf School is the best of the best, the cream of the crop, you might even call it the jewel in the Hikkaduwa surfing crown. Guests of the surf camp stay at Mia’s Villa Guest House, but there’s also the option to just pay for individual lessons as you go.
“We offer many packages which include surf lessons, equipment, and accommodation and have partnered up with some of the best Guest Houses in Hikkaduwa.”
– Hippie Surf School
No matter which one you choose, you can count on quality teaching from certified instructors. You can choose between a 1-hour lesson or a full package that includes either 1, 2, 3, or 5 days of lessons and surfing.
According to Magicseaweed, Hikkaduwa surf at Shaka Surf Camps is difficult to beat. It’s not technically located in Hikkaduwa, but it’s close enough that you’ll be riding some of the best Hikka waves while you surf with Shaka. It’s closer to Ahangama, which is actually great since you’ll get to experience the best of Hikkaduwa as well as Ahangama and Weligama.
“ We have coached thousands of surfers ranging from complete newbies to elite athletes and understand that no matter what level the best approach is a bespoke plan for each surfer.”
– Shaka Surf Camps
The different packages at Shaka are what make this one of the best surf providers on the island. You can go with the chill-out Beach Bum package, the beginner-friendly Surf Coaching package, or the Surf Base package that’s better for intermediate and advanced surfers who just need a lay of the land.
Sri Lanka Surf Tours offers a 7-day, 6-night surf course that can be easily booked through booksurfcamps.com. It offers surf training for individuals as well as groups and the one-time price includes accommodation, airport transfers, and daily breakfast. Best of all, it includes 10 surf lessons and is based just 5 minutes from the main surf spot.
“Sri Lanka Surf Tours offers quality surf training and accommodation for individuals and groups, as well as organized tours to the major and not so well known surf points in the country.”
– Sri Lanka Surf Tours
Surf Control Hikkaduwa Surf School is a solid choice for anyone who’s just in the market for surf lessons and not an intensive, all-inclusive camp. This is perfect if you’re just passing through Hikkaduwa, you’ve already got your accommodation booked, or you just need to rent a board. A lot of families come here for kid-friendly lessons.
There are plenty of options for Hikkaduwa surf accommodation, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that fits your budget. The one you choose mostly has to do with how much you want to spend. Here are a few choices in all price ranges:
Similar to India, Sri Lanka is known for its flavorful curries, but since this is an island, you can definitely expect a lot more seafood here. There are a lot of high-end restaurants in Hikkaduwa, but the casual cafes and local beachside eateries are just as good.
For a fancy night out, be sure to check out Lemon Fish, a restaurant located in the Citrus Hikkaduwa Hotel. It’s a nice mix of global and local food, be sure to try the authentic “Hikkup” and “Roti” menus.
For straight-up Sri Lankan food without any international frills, No. 1 Roti Restaurant is a must-visit spot. There’s nothing fancy about this place, but the food is unbeatable and the passing roadside tuk-tuks give an authentic experience.
Some of the best food at the beach is served at Thambili Cafe & Juice Bar. This place fills up with hungry tourists who stop in for a bite after snorkeling, diving, or surfing, and it’s not just because of the close proximity to the water. The vegan and vegetarian is another major selling point.
Any trip to Hikka should be centered around the sea, but that doesn’t just mean surfing. There are tons of different ways to enjoy the water, like snorkeling, boat rides, river safaris, SCUBA, swimming, or even just lounging around on the beach.
There are two specific activities you MUST do while you’re here. The first is to visit Galle Fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka. It’s about a 30-minute drive south, but any taxi driver will gladly take you there.
The second must-do activity while in Hikkaduwa is to visit the Sri Pushparama Temple. Even if you’re not religious, it’s really cool to see the Buddhist monks do their thing.
What’s the best beginner-friendly break in Hikkaduwa?
The Main Beach Break offers Hikkaduwa surfing for beginners at its finest. Waves break over both reef and shore, making it one of the more versatile Hikkaduwa surf breaks that’s good for any surfing level. For the best beginner-friendly waves, stay further south along the beach.
How much does a Hikkaduwa surfboard rental cost?
It depends on which surf shop or board hire you go with, but it’s usually around 10 USD for the day, give or take a few bucks depending on when you visit. You can also pay by the hour or for a half-day, but the best value is to rent for the full day.
Does Hikkaduwa host any pro-level surf competitions?
If you start trolling online for things like surf competition Hikkaduwa 2019, you won’t find much. That’s because the waves here don’t necessarily cater to the pros. No matter which Hikkaduwa surf beach you choose, you’ll generally find a mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfers.