Sri Lanka’s a secret surfers’ paradise with lots of reef breaks, surf-tour operators say

With miles of sandy beaches, quality reef breaks and consistent swells, Sri Lanka’s coasts are fast gaining a reputation as a premier surf destination.

Sri Lanka was a “hidden gem for travelling surfers until around five years ago when the surfing tourists, mostly from Europe, came flooding in,” Max Hepworth-Povey, a surf holiday advisor from U.K.-based Errant Surf Travel, told CNBC.

Arugam Bay on the East Coast has one of the best waves in the world and the whole southwest coast from Hikkaduwa down to Matara is full of hidden, empty reef breaks.”

The crescent-shaped Arugam Bay is undoubtedly the most popular surfing spot in Sri Lanka because of its many good surf breaks with names such as Whiskey Point, Elephant Rock and Peanut Farm. (A break is where a permanent or semi-permanent obstruction such as a reef, sandbar or a headland causes surf-able waves to break reasonably reliably at that location.)

Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is a tropical island that sits south of India in the Indian Ocean and has eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. It hosted close to 1.8 million tourists arrivals in 2015, up 41 percent from figures in 2013, according to data from Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

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