Words Udeshi Amarasinghe Photographs Mahesh Bandara
Arugam Bay, in the eastern coastal belt of Sri Lanka, is the hot spot for surfing. Though many try their luck at conquering the waves at the more popular Arugam Bay point, there are numerous lesser-known points along the coast that give one the true surfing experience.
A turn from Pottuvil town leads you along a matrix of streets passing through the residential centre of the area. The landscape soon changes to the vast beachfront peppered with palmyrah trees. The sounds of daily life are soon lost as you become engulfed by the surrounding silence.
The sandy road takes you farther until you reach the serene aquamarine sea bordered by the golden beach. You will hold your breath for just a moment as you absorb the beauty around you – a true pristine environment. Though the sun was out, there were hardly any people around. It was pure solitude.
Pottuvil point, one of the surfing spots on this stretch of the beach was quiet as the sea was calm at that time, however the large boul- ders at the tip of the point makes it one of the best places to surf. Waves of about four to five feet are gener- ated but a sizable swell is required to make the surf work.
Along the sandy beach towards the village of Urani, just a short distance from Pottuvil point there is a large outcrop of rocks blocking one’s view of the sea. With the constant sea breeze, the heat of the sun could not be felt and when climb- ing the boulders, jumping from one rock to the other, you would think that your feet would get burnt, but no, the rocks have a comfortable warmth that allows you to stand there and gaze out at the sea. This is Whiskey point, another spot for surfing in the eastern coast.
Whiskey point is known as the place to surf for beginners and unlike the rest of the stretch of the beach there were surfers trying their luck on riding the waves. As the wave surged they balanced themselves in deep concentration and stood on the board riding the wave with determi- nation. One fall and they would get up again with a smile, wade their way back and wait for the next wave to try again. This secluded beach gives an alternative for those who wish to surf in a less crowded area.
Pottuvil point and Whiskey point are just a short distance away from the main Arugam Bay point and thus for those who love to surf, the east coast of Sri Lanka provides an array of choices.