Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka is a beach lovers paradise.

catching a wabe while surfing in Hikkaduwa

Great Surfing at Hikkaduwa

White sands and blue seas attract people from all over the world to its shores on the Indian ocean.

For surfers, it is the perfect spot to try your hand at the board. Mellow, sandy breaks make it a pleasure for novice surfer to practice their turns on the surfboard.

The town has a surfing town vibe.  Beginners and experts alike make their way to Hikkaduwa at one point or another during their travels through Sri Lanka.  While the waves may not be the awe inspiring ones of Bali or Hawaii, they are certainly an attraction for surfers.

The Hang Out

The Hansa Surf Hotel, surfers hang out


The Hansa Surf Hotel is packed with sun-bleached blonde and tanned beach bums watching nightly surfer movies. The hard core surfers hang out here swapping stories, while the wannabes stop by to eavesdrop on their conversations. We try to blend into the middle of the road crowd.  We have done this surfing thing before, so we are not quite newbies, but we are certainly not able to brag about actually catching a wave and barreling our way through a pipe.

You can keep an eye out for some talent on the coral break just to the North of the shop and chuckle at the pasty white tourists trying their hands to the South. We are part of the latter group I must admit, but we are slowly becoming less white and more of a reddish brown.

The Lesson

hikkaduwa beach surfing lessons

Dave and I had a blast working on our turns with The Funky Monkey guys. They have a tent set up right on the beach and offer lessons for 2,000 Rs for an hour.  It is worth it to take a lesson at first to learn when to stand on the board.  They will push you into the wave and tell you when to stand.

You barely have to think. Just lay down face first on the board and wait for them to propel you into the surf.

We had attempted surfing in Bali before, so it was a bit easier for us to stand on our board.  We were both standing on the first try and spent the rest of the hour staying on the board for longer periods of time.  We were definitely getting the hang of this surfing thing and have seriously considered extending our visa to stay longer on the beach!

Now if only we could learn how to turn.

They told us we need a few more lessons and we will be pretty good. At $40 bucks a day that pretty much eats into our budget, but it is tempting to learn from the pros and eventually become the king and queen of the beach. With a little practice, people will soon be swooning over our talent and surrounding us for autographs just like Kelly Slater.

giant surf board as Deb takes a lesson in Sri Lanka Dave learns to surf in Sri Lanka

Or we could just go on with the rest of our adventures.

We have to go around the island for a couple of weeks to see some amazing sites, but we are planning on returning to Hikkaduwa to work at becoming one of those bleached blonde experts that we see in the surf shop.

It is great fun learning to surf in Sri Lanka.  The water is shallow, so you can touch bottom the entire time you are out at sea. It is far less effort than the giant waves of Kuta Beach Bali.

Having surfed both Bali and Sri Lanka’s easy waves, we recommend learning to surf here instead.

Will experts be satisfied?

If you are an expert, I don’t think that Hikkaduwa is the place for you.  There are other areas on the island with better breaks such as Arugam Bay.  But from what we have learned, there aren’t the great world class waves of Australia here in Sri Lanka.

But we don’t care, for Dave and Deb, Hikkaduwa is just about the perfect place for a surfing adventure we can think of.  Friendly people, beautiful beaches and fine seafood. What more could we ask for?

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Leave a comment


    1. davendeb

      Hey Shawn,
      We would say that yes there is a touristy vibe here but there are many beaches just to the south that there is nobody on.
      You could easily stay anywhere along the coast and just hit the cities like Hikkaduwa for the necessities.

  1. Trisha Miller

    It looks divine….once again, great photos!

    I’ve never tried surfing but have spent quite a bit of time diving, and the Hansa Surf Hotel looks like the same type of place that attracts both surfers and divers – a laid-back, fun, funky little shack on the beach with cold beer, cool music, and good BBQ….I’d feel right at home there….

    Looks like you’re having a great time!
    .-= Trisha Miller´s last blog ..How to Find the Right Editor for Your Book =-.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Trisha,

      Hansa is great for cheap beer and food and if you want to catch Tropic Thunder at night it can do that too.
      Everyone is very chill and each sentence is preceded by the word “Dude”. Awesome!!

  2. Sherry Ott

    It looks like a great adventure! You certainly look the part – just add a few more”dude”‘s to you vocabulary and I’ll think you’ll fit right in!

    I was just in Sri Lanka but didn’t get to do any fun water sports as I was sick and the weather was horrible. It looks much nicer now! I want to go back!
    .-= Sherry Ott´s last blog ..porters-9 =-.

  3. Bethany

    Yeah, you guys don’t need any more lessons just see if you can rent the boards without the instructors. If you’re already standing you’ve learned mostly everything. The only thing left is to learn to catch a wave but just think of the timing when the instructor pushed you. That’s when you want to start paddling hard to catch the upcoming wave. Then you’ll be up again. Get the biggest boards you can when you go out on your own, it will make it MUCH easier.
    .-= Bethany´s last blog ..Blood, Drugs & Sangria – How To Vacation In A War Zone. Part four of a five part series. =-.

    1. davendeb

      Haha! Thanks Candice, yes standing beside our boards we really do look the part eh?:) We have to get some shots of us out on the waves, but neither one of us want to go in, dry off and get out the camera. We will make sure to get around to it though and prove that, yes we can stand up. We can’t however turn or do anything else. But hey, it is just a thrill at this point to stand and hang out on the board waiting for a wave.

    2. Em Cardenas

      Thanks for you post I would not have really ever of thought to head to Sri Lanka it really sounds like you had an amazing time and looks like you wouldn’t have taken the smile of your faces for ages…. One day I WILL learn to surf :)

    1. davendeb

      Hi Anil. You might surprise yourself on a surfboard here in Sri Lanka. It is easier than other places. Surf isn’t too big and waves break nicely.

  4. Ali

    Hi guys!

    Fantastic pics! Can’t wait to get there myself!
    I’ll be making my way to Sri Lanka mid nxt month and learning to surf in Hikkaduwa is definitely in the agenda. Was wondering if you wouldnt mind helping me out with a few queries.
    1) Are surf lessons readily available in Hikkaduwa? or is Funky Monkey the place I should head to?
    2)Which part of Hikkaduwa do I really wanna stay at?
    3)Should I bring a rashie along or do you think it’s worth getting one there?

    Thanks so much! looking foward to read more of your adventures.


    1. davendeb

      Hi Ali, Surf lessons are available anywhere. Yula is a great surfing hut located on the beach. you can’t miss it, they use a big white tent with surf boards. Look for Amilla and tell them Dave and Deb sent you. Hansa Surf is the most popular hang out for surfers and probably the cheapest, but we haven’t rented boards from there. There are many places. Lessons are around 2000 Rs ($17.80 us dollars) per hour and 300 Rs to rent a board. You can walk down the beach and take your pick!
      Hikkaduwa beach is best in the main area farther south of Coral Gardens. Near Coral Gardens the beach is very narrow and if you head south starting at Hansa Surf Shop and hotel, you can walk along there and take a look. We are staying at a great spot the second time around called Top Secret. It seems to be the place to be. In the centre of it all, it has wifi, is clean, comfortable and friendly. It has hammocks, covered lounges, mararaja beds and tables. We negotiated 1800 Rs per night with an incredible breakfast included. We found it to be worth it because meals are more expensive in the area than we are used to and were always spending 800 Rs or more on breakfast anyway so 1800 Rs feels like we are spending only 1000 Rs (8.90) for the room and 400 each (3.50) for breakfast. Hansa is cheaper though I am sure.
      They supply rashies to wear and you can even buy them at one of the many stores that make boarding shorts for 500 to 600 Rs ($4-$6) (if you buy in quantities of 2 or 3!) Hope this helps.

      1. Ali

        Thanks ever so much for your help! I really appreciate it :) Hope all goes well with the rest of your sri lankan trip.

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  6. Craig Zabransky

    Sri Lanka- On my list, I so want to go… Surfing-love to hit the waves. This sounds like a place I’ll visit some day. And some day soon.
    Glad to read about it and see you two in the water…

    Stay adventurous, Craig

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Craig, Sri Lanka is definitely one of our favourite countries. I think that you are a surfer as I recall so if you like the rodeo, trick surfing you’ll love HIkkaduwa. We hear that at certain times of the year, there are great waves on the other side of the island. We’d love to go back and really learn how to surf for real, not just stand on the board.

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