Our trip to Sri Lanka in July 2011 was a mixed bag. To be honest, missing out on good banks and a good swell while we were there wasn`t conducive to a good impression of the place as a serious surf destination. We found the lineup at Arugam Bay crowded, kooky and arrogant – except the two days it was overhead where the crowds, as is often the way, were greatly reduced.
Having travelled to parts of Asia before (Indonesia, Maldives, Thailand, India, Taiwan, Korea, Japan..) you`d think I`d be accustomed to the haggling and harrassing that is part and parcel of travelling to most of these lands. Sri Lanka, surprisingly, turned out to be the worst on this occasion. Evident in both landscape and individuals, the coast around A Bay is still littered with the chaos and debris of shattered lives resultant from tsunami and civil war. Humbling, indeed, when you know you have a return ticket home yet the locals must stay to endure and survive.
The best impressions I have are of the food (of which we ate a LOT as it was super cheap and delicious), the motorbike rides, Hakeem`s Restaurant and Ram`s House for daily meals, a few of the genuine locals we befriended, and checking out the interior of the island via antiquated trains and tea plantations.
Due to a limited 3 week break we headed directly to the East Coast as it was in season. We didn`t make it West and ended up cutting our beach time short to check out more of the interior. Having heard good things about the island and it`s surf seasons, it`s a shame we ended up with such a disappointing impression.
If you have been to Sri Lanka and have some stories, photos and good swells to report, we`d be stoked to hear from you here.