Years ago, I stumbled on a surf video of a few women in Sri Lanka. It was the most beautiful surf, landscape, and culture I had seen. My young, teenage self searched where the heck Sri Lanka was and my heart sunk. All the way across the world? I thought I would never make it there, so I let that dream die.
Fast forward about ten years, I was hopping on a plane to this island I had nearly forgotten. My 13-year-old daydream was becoming a reality.
Upon arrival I asked around and took many notes on where to go, what to see, and mostly where to surf. We began waking up to roosters and falling asleep to peacocks, seeing wild elephants roam the streets, and riding in a tuk tuk was our new “norm” in Sri Lanka.
While waiting for bigger surf to hit, we delved into a little history. We ventured inland to Sigiriya and climbed Lion Rock. This was the site of an ancient Sri Lankan Kings Royal Palace. Lion Rock was also the first evidence of an advanced irrigation system.
Kandy was our next stop. This place is home to a large Buddhist site as well as the last ancient King. Not being much of a big city person, we were skeptical to visit, but Kandy came as a surprise, it was nestled beautifully in the hills. A visit to the botanical gardens was a must, we were absolutely blown away.
We made our way through Ella, another fascinating city nestled in the hills. We found this city to be less “authentic” and decided to pass through.
Our last stop before heading coastal was Yala National Park. I found so much inspiration here. The animals, the people, and the respect for nature. We stayed multiple nights on the outskirts of Yala. We rode bikes to see the sunset over the lake, watched peacocks fluff their feathers, elephants itch their mosquito bites and play ‘hide n seek.’ We spied on sneaky crocodiles as they observed buffalo, brightly colored birds decorated the land while monitors crept up next to me, and yes, we spotted a marvelously elegant leopard just after the sun had set. This place filled me with so much joy. Being surrounded by such raw, wild life was exhilarating. I highly recommend visiting this national park.
The anticipation of heading back to the ocean was firing. We knew the surf would be epic at this point. My eyes were glued out the window watching beautiful blue waves break the entire car ride. My heart was full and the waves were big.
We surfed our hearts out along the south coast. Hiriketiya, Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatuna, Hikkaduwa, and peaks in between. Some places were a letdown that gave us time to relax, others were absolutely pumping and gave us everything we were looking for and more.
There were so many places we had heard of, taken note of, and wanted to surf and see, but we were running out of time. We hit as many noteworthy places as we could to make our own list for next time…