Surf spots around Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay as the main spot for surfing in the East of Sri Lanka
The focus of surfing at Sri Lanka’s East Coast is in Arugam Bay. On the coastline around that little fishing village, you can find various surf spots. The most famous one is Main Point, and directly in Arugam Bay. The other surf spots are between 10 and 60 minutes driving away from the touristic area in the town centre. Here, you find a short overview of surf spots around Arugam Bay, including a surf map.
The home surf spot: Main Point
Main Point, that’s the name of the most famous wave in Arugam Bay. It is the strongest and most advanced spot in the area, and once was voted in the top 10 of world’s best surfing waves. Maybe bring booties to avoid cuts from the reef. The reef is not the only reason why it can be challenging there. The reward is a long ride, often with barrels.
Baby Point is next to Main Point. When the wave ends at Main Point, it takes over to Baby Point. This spot is more protected, as it’s the corner of the bay. Especially beginners like to gain more experiences here, as you can easily rent a board at the beach in front of it. Expect lessons happening all day long. The peaks with crowds in the water are in the early morning or at 4 pm, when many lessons take place.
Stay Golden: A hotel in walking distance to surf
Our hotel, Stay Golden, is located south of Main Point. That means, you can grab your board and walk to the surf. It takes around 10 minutes to walk on the beach to reach Main Point. You arrive at the Southern point, where people normally get into the water. Or, if you prefer having more shade, walk on the little road through the residential area until you reach the corner of the bay, Baby Point. From there, you’re almost at Main Point (coming from the other side).
Surf spot map
That’s a map with all surf spots in this area. There are many spots around, all for different skill levels and with different specifications. During high season (April to October), all spots used to work. When they do, we recommend that you try them all out in your first days until you find your favourite spot. All spots are right-handed point breaks.
Unfortunately, in the last two to three years, some spots took longer to start or didn’t start at all. Whiskey Point, known as a perfect intermediate spot, couldn’t reach its popularity recently. We hope that the natural sand movements will bring back the wave soon.
In general, most spots don’t have a lot of infrastructure. Therefore, we recommend bringing snacks, enough water, and, of course, a surfboard.
If you like to print the map out, here you can find a high-resolution copy of it from arugambaytraveller.com
The surf spots north of Arugam Bay
In the North, you can find Pottuvil Point, Whiskey Point, and, a little bit further, Lighthouse Point.
To Pottuvil Point, it’s a 15-20 minutes tuktuk ride through Pottuvil town, and then into nature. The beach itself is, like most of the beaches in the area, a fishing beach. Therefore, you share the spot with fishermen and fishing boats. Sometimes, there’s also an elephant around – it might even be on the beach itself. This, plus the natural beauty of the spot with its rocks, palm trees and almost untouched landscape (don’t expect infrastructure), is like a cherry on the cake.
The wave itself is suitable for all levels. It’s a right-handed point break with a potentially really long surf into the bay.
Whiskey Point is 20 minutes by tuktuk from Arugam Bay. At this long and wide beach, the wave breaks at a rock constellation. It is a beautiful wave, most famous with beginners and intermediates. Normally, there are a lot of sand movements (like on most spots in the area) over the year. In the slow season, the sand is taken. When the sand is brought back by the ocean at the beginning of the season, the wave returns. Recently, the sand hasn’t returned as it used to, which has made the conditions hard at Whiskey Point – as the wave just didn’t work.
The area around that beach is a thinly populated, residential area. You can find accommodation in all budget levels here, in walking distance to the surf spot. In general, it is a different vibe than Arugam Bay, as there are mainly hotels and guest houses, and almost no restaurants or cafés. Therefore, there’s definitely magic in getting up early for a sunrise surf at Whiskey Point, but if you prefer some kind of options for lunch and dinner, maybe choose accommodation in Arugam Bay and take a tuktuk to Whiskey Point just for the surf session instead. Good to know: Pottuvil Point and Whiskey Point are relatively close to each other. You might walk to Pottuvil Point via Whiskey Point beach for surfing.
Lighthouse Point in Komari
A longer drive to the North from Arugam Bay (around 45 minutes minimum) is Lighthouse Point. This surf break is located at the beach of Komari, a small and simple Tamil town. Just the drive to the beachside is like an adventure, as you can see how people live and how chilli, spring onions and other vegetables are cultivated.
Don’t expect much infrastructure, but time to read a book or two. There are only two real options of guest houses at that spot – which makes you most probably the only one, or one in a very small line up.
The surf spot is a right-handed point break. It is great for all skill levels. The down point is, that it is not as consistent as Main Point or Peanut Farm. When you decide to stay in Arugam Bay instead of staying directly at the Lighthouse beach for a couple of nights, we definitely recommend going there for a day trip. It is a lovely spot of land.
The surf spots south of Arugam Bay
What are the surf spots in the South of Arugam Bay? The first two ones are Elephant Rock and Peanut Farm. Both are around 20 minutes drive from Arugam Bay. Further down, you find Panama beach (30 minutes drive), or, much further down, Okanda (almost an hour drive).
Surfing in the South of Arugam Bay: Elephant Rock and Peanut Farm
These two spots are very popular. For both spots, you first drive on the Main Road, and then turn left through a bumpy jungle off-road until you reach the beach. It is like a little safari, as you can often spot elephants on your way.
Elephant Rock is directly next to a lagoon, which sometimes makes it unsurfable (when the lagoon is connected to the ocean). Luckily, this rarely happens in the high season summer months. The point itself breaks to the right. Furthermore, it is popular with surfers of all skill levels. During the peak months, there are also small market stands at the beach where you can buy a coconut or rent a surfboard. Keep in mind that renting a surfboard here might be much pricier than bringing a rental board from Arugam Bay town centre. That’s why we always recommend renting a surf board downtown and transport it to the beaches. It’s also nice to know that some surf instructors prefer this spot for surf lessons during season time.
Elephant Rock is also known for its stunning sunset sightseeing point from the top of the rock. Take shoes with you, if you think of climbing and making your way up. Especially in high season, don’t expect too much privacy. Instead, prepare yourself for crowds with their drowns ready to capture the beauty.
Besides Main Point, Peanut Farm is probably the most popular surf point in this area. The point breaks to the right. Nicely, it comes with two, or even three breaks. Most advanced are the spots further to the right. At the main break, intermediates share the wave with many beginners. On top, Peanut Farm can get busy with surf lessons, too.
There is a little infrastructure with one, maybe two cafés operating in slow manners. Normally, they have a limited menu, and you’d prepare for waiting time. Therefore, like on all spots around Arugam Bay, it’s best to bring snacks and water.
For Panama Point, you drive south from Arugam Bay, until you reach the little town Panama. Following the road through a small forest area, you will end up at the fishing beach of Panama. Therefore, you will be able to watch fishermen getting their boats ready to go fishing or returning after a tour. The surrounding is beautiful, again with a lagoon, many rocks, and sometimes an elephant at the beach. Overall, you can expect a driving time of 30 minutes.
Again, it is a right-handed point break at a group of rocks with a potentially amazing long ride into the bay. Surfers of all skill levels enjoy the waves here. The surrounding is beautiful, again with a lagoon, many rocks, and sometimes an elephant at the beach. Also, this one is a spot where surf lessons take place, too. In summer, there’s normally a stand to rent surfboards. The downside of this spot is the long drive of minimum 30 minutes.
Close to the boarder of the Kumana National Park, almost an hour heading South, there is the Okanda temple area. Crossing it, you find an empty, beautiful and wide surfing spot called Okanda. This is a spot for everyone who seeks for a half day, or a day trip (bring enough food, as the little shops in the temple area are not always open).
Again, this surf spot breaks to the right. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee, that the spot will work. You might invest your time and money to drive, with no (surfing) reward. Though, the drive is always beautiful, as Sri Lanka’s East Coast nature shows off on its best on the way. And when the spot is on, it’s on fire!
More details on each surfing spot around Arugam Bay
We surf, and know a lot about the area. Rihan is a passionate surfer himself, and will join you for surf safaris whenever he can (often daily in high season!). Here, we just quickly talked about each spot. If you are still looking for more information or another perspective on the different surf spots around Arugam Bay, we recommend the surf guide from Still Stoked. It’s from 2018, though still valid. As we opened Stay Golden at our new location in 2019, it was impossible for the author to mention us as a great place to stay – so don’t wonder if you can’t find us in the blog entry :).
Additionally, we are always happy to guide you once you have arrived at Stay Golden. Let’s figure out the best spots for you, depending on your skill level and the current surfing conditions on the spots around Arugam Bay.
How to get to the surf spots from Arugam Bay and Stay Golden
As described, to Main Point, it’s the easiest to walk. It’s the same with Baby Point. For all other spots, you need to drive.
The closest surf spots from Arugam Bay or Stay Golden are the ones in the South: Elephant Rock and Peanut Farm. Pottuvil Point and Whiskey Point are in the North of Pottuvil, and still not too far. It only takes 5 minutes longer as you have to cross Arugam Bay once. We will help you to arrange a tuktuk if needed, or you join Rihan for a surf safari. Tuktuk prices include waiting time, so they also pick you up after your surf.
Surf safaris with Rihan are fun: Book a surf lesson with him, or join him with your surf board. First, he will check surf spots, to then decide on the best spot for the day. As mentioned, most spots are without infrastructure and fully in nature. Therefore, it’s good to drive with our 4×4 safari truck 🙂
More information on surfing in Arugam Bay: Surfboard rental and surf lessons
Tips on the best time of the year for surfing in Arugam Bay can be found at our surfing overview.
If you don’t want to travel with your surf board, you can rent surf boards in Arugam Bay. We also have a small but good collection of boards in different sizes and shapes at Stay Golden.
Are you curious to try out surfing? Find some more information about surf lessons at Stay Golden here.
Stay with us at Stay Golden!
Are you stocked to jump in the water and enjoy the surf in Arugam Bay? Book your home away from home, and stay with us at Stay Golden. Main Point is only a 10 minutes beach walk away from our hotel. It’s not just perfect for sunrise surfing sessions. Here’s an overview of our rooms – and here you can check your availability:
A special thanks to the @barefootandsaltyfam for the pictures.