We get it. The holidays are over and it’s back to work for another year… but it doesn’t have to be like that with waves beckoning you this February and March. For those who already want to spend some quality time away from the boss, we have some suggestions for an early year surf trip.
While Sri Lanka has risen in popularity over the years for backpackers and surfers, it remains a country unvisited by the average traveler. This won’t be the case for long, as more and more hear about the incredible culture, cuisine, local hospitality, and coastline.
For the small nation’s west coast, February and March bring some pretty hectic conditions. The well known Arugam Bay (aptly nicknamed ‘The Surfer’s Heaven’) is battered with onshore winds and storms until about April when the season resumes. This means you’ll need to point your compass south.
Hiriketiya Beach is a quality first choice. Once your toes hit the sand and your hand gives the sun a salute, this small piece of heaven will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. The beach is quite remote and is best found either by hire car, scooter, or taxi. There is plenty of room for long-boarders and beginners, with lessons available for the less able surfer. Looking west while on the mushroom-shaped beach, is a peeling left-hander that can often get juicy and steep if the swell hits the coast right. Look for a straight southerly swell for this wave to be at its best.
Locals are about but are usually very friendly. If you have a car (something I would recommend only to the confident road warriors) then explore the local areas for other breaks. Nearby Tangalle is another that produces a fun reef break. The town is a beautiful one, with plenty of amazing fresh seafood options (as offered by most of Sri Lanka). Stay at Anantara Peace Haven to get the most out of this area. The accomodation is stunning and a perfect home base for your missions to and from a surf, dive, fish, or explore.
Heading east along the most southern part of Sri Lanka will put you at Weligama Bay. The township is much larger than Hiriketiya, with a solid backpacker vibe. This does amplify the crowds out in the water, but for a place that literally translates to ‘sandy village’ you’ll notice seemingly endless coastline to find your own bank. Either grab a scooter or take a cab to nearby Midigama Beach or Unawatuna. Both offer reef breaks that will give you a much longer ride than Weligama (and sets distance from the hoards of beginner surfers). Green Rooms will easily shy you away from the noisy backpacker lodgings. The accomodation gives 4 cosy bungalows at great prices. Best of all it offers a proper hideaway from the crowds in the water.
Finally, ensure you give Hikkaduwa a visit. The place is extremely well known this time of year with families, backpackers, and surfers. This doesn’t mean that it’s overcrowded though. If you’re an early bird you’ll easily enjoy an hour or so after first light of sharing rides with just a keen few.
The Tarhazoute area in the nation’s south is riddled with wave options. A good place to start your trek off the beaten path is the area’s jewel, Taghazout. It combines the perfect chilled hangout with several of Morocco’s finest surf spots. Hash Point is a chilled right-hander for beginners and intermediates. Over at Anchor Point you’ll find a long right hand wave that can last up to 500 metres. For the Bodhi of the group (Point Break anyone?), a twenty-minute paddle out will find you in the crux of beastly waves on a whopping swell.
Taghazout itself has the straightest swell in the North Atlantic, and has its season stretch through most of the year (with 320 days of sun in fact). Ideally you’d want to stay somewhere like Amouage to gain the most memorable experience. This surfer’s hangout is a little bit fancy with offerings of yoga and incredible views. Most importantly its built close to Killers and Boilers surf breaks. You won’t be bored here.
In this neck of the woods you’re likely to find waves all year long. Narrowing it down to just a couple of options though, I’d confidently tell you to first head to Nicaragua.
The ugly winds generally steer clear of Nica in February/March, giving you plenty of offshore options. One of its most consistent waves is Popoyo in the southeast. The A-frame hands out shreddable lefts and rights, and can break anywhere from 2 to 20 feet with no effect from a changing tide. An outer reef produces some hefty slabs for the expert crew. Within a kilometre, you’ll be able to find your own crowdless spot with plenty of breaks on offer. Just get out there and hunt them down.
There are a few shacks to stay around the area. I’d highly recommend Soma Surf Resort. These guys will do an unreal job in catering for you and your crew or partner. Six world class breaks are within a half hour drive of the resort. The in-house instructors and local guides can help you steer clear of crowds and into empty barrels.
Tamarindo in Costa Rica (check out Dreamsea Surf Camp) is one of the most popular destinations for an early-year vacation. You’ll struggle to leave the stunning crystal blue waters of Costa’s North Pacific region. Several breaks are on offer. El Estero is an exposed rivermouth that works consistently. Avoid the local crowds by getting out there on a weekday. Pico Pequeno is a fun right-hander, while Isla Capitan is on a nearby island that is definitely worthwhile adventuring to. Renting a boat or even paddling out will get you there for an epic surf. Reserved for the experienced surfer, watch out for its shallow reef – especially as it works best on a low tide.
Look out for updates soon on where to surf in April/May. And as always, get in touch with us at LUEX for more information on where and how to book your next adventure.