The surf capital of Sri Lanka is in its element. Experience the wondrous waves, salty sea breeze, golden sands and its wild life. Arugambay is the place to be…
Words Keshini de Silva | Photographs Menaka Aravinda
Sun, sand and surf; the season to head to the bubbly Eastern shoreline of Sri Lanka is now.And Arugambay, the Island’s much-loved surf capital, is indeed where the spotlight shines. While there are many roads that lead you here, the Pottuvil road that winds through the Lahugala Sanctuary is the perfect greeting to your wild adventure to the East Coast. Travelling through the early hours of morning or in the evening, one is bound to receive a glimpse of elephants. Knee deep in marshes, the gentle giants indulge in the leafy greens twisting their trunks with a spray of water. Passing the sanctuary the road through Pottuvil and Panama is a scenic depiction of life in the East; jolly villagers going about their day, fishermen tiring away in the waters and luminous, neat paddy fields.
Funky sayings glint in the sun, and surf shaped signboards sway in welcome. Arugambay is the picture of a resort town with friendly smiles all around and refreshing thambili (king coconut) in hand. That “good vibes happen on the tides” is the theme along this coast. Tourists and locals clad in resort wear are sure to be seen on bicycles, scooters or even tuk tuks heaving their surf boards to the wave hotspots.
The Arugambay Point with its thrilling waves attracts surfers from the first break of sunlight. Again and again, they ride the wondrous, wild wedges and whoppers; professionals maintaining balance with great skill, Hanging Ten with their hair blowing in the wind. When they complete a ‘Perfect 10’, the sea’s roar is joined with uplifting applause. Though at times the riders do bail off the board in a comical splash, the whacks of the waves cannot keep these fun-loving, determined pro riders off the water.
For the beginners or those who wish to learn the surf sport, Whisky Point in Pottuvil is quite ideal. The whitecaps of Whisky Point are more lenient and make easy work for the learners. The pros come here too to enjoy the point’s cheerful swells and swirls. Climb on to the iconic rock outcrop and enjoy the view and scenic sunrise.
The whitecaps of Whisky Point are more lenient and make easy work for the learners. The pros come here too to enjoy the point’s cheerful swells and swirls.
Another surf point that is close to Arugambay is the scenic Peanut Farm Point, where the rustic shrub forest and glassy lake borders the beach. The swings on the beach are ideal for resting after an exciting romp with the waves. Take note of the native weera (Drypetes sepiaria) as well as palu (Manilkara hexandra) trees in the area and taste its exotic bounty. If you are lucky you might even be visited by an elephant on its daily walk.
Pottuvil Point is home to gnarly waves, that appear at auspicious times well into the months of July and August. It is mostly flat, yet when the elusive waves appear the surfers rush. Only the experienced riders dare taken on the mammoth waves that swell here. The Crocodile Rock, with its soft sands, is on the other hand another great place for the beginners. The trek through the shrubs is quite exciting. Although it is quite a daring climb, hike up to the top of the rock outcrop to enjoy a blissful view.
Maybe it’s the salty sea air or the thrill of the waves, everyone in the Eastern surf zone has a face glowing with enjoyment…
Panama Point is a lesser known surfing spot where its occasional left breaks are sure to please the goofy surfers. Jaunty fisher folk with their colourful boats are sure to be around sometimes. While the Eastern Coast always pops up with new surfing points, the Panagala Point or Secret Point is one such surfing place we discovered. Reached through the rustic and rural landscape, the drive there is an experience in itself.
After a day soaked up in the sea and rekindling your soul with rare experiences in nature, it’s time to indulge. There are numerous resorts and restaurants that serve sizzling local flavours and also international cuisine. Ease into the comfortable chairs, sip on a cup of coffee and pass time until you’re ready to ride more waves.
Maybe it’s the salty sea air or the thrill of the waves, everyone in the Eastern surf zone has a face glowing with enjoyment and a jovial quip on their tongue. So head on over… get into vacation mode, slip in to your exotic swimwear and let the good times roll, ‘cause it’s Arugambay time!