An island nation whose spectacular scenery ranges from mountain to rainforest to golden sandy beach, Sri Lanka is still a widely undiscovered paradise. With some naming it is as Asia's top new kitesurfing destination, its warm, flat water and consistent winds that blow for 9 months of the year make it a bucket list must for beginners and seasoned-kiters alike. Mix that with fascinating culture, delicious food and friendly locals and voilà! The ultimate kitesurfing destination is at your fingertips. Scroll down to further find out more.
Pros and Cons
+ Warm water (no wetsuit required!)
+ Wild paradise
+ Great food
+ Lots to do
- Less developed infrastructure
- Long journey
What you need to know about kitesurfing in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka enjoys two distinct windy seasons, 20-30 knots South-West trade winds blow from May to October and lighter, northerly winds grace the country's shores between December and March. As a relatively new destination, there aren't yet too may recognised kite spots but Kalpitiya on the West coast is the main hub with an array of kitesurf schools and accommodations. Based on a spectacular lagoon separated by sandbank from the Indian Ocean, you take boat transfers to the launch area where you kite in beautiful warm, flat water. Slightly further down the coast is the smaller Kappalady lagoon which enjoys the same conditions but with less facilities and generally less people too.
Staying on the East coast but travelling further North is the Island of Mannar. Set on the incredible 30 km chain of sandbanks and islands that make up 'Adam's Bridge,' Mannar offers similarly enviable conditions in warm, flat waters. Whilst kiting in the lagoon is no problem in summer, it is prohibited to protect the local wildlife during the winter season, although kiting in the ocean is still allowed.
Sri Lanka isn´t just about lagoons and flat water, mind you. Arugam bay in the South East of Sri Lanka is the place to be for wave kiting- constant side shore winds in summer, long breaking waves and and a thriving surf scene (with a chilled après kite scene to go with it). What more could you ask for?
Get a true taste of Eat-Sleep-Kite-Repeat at a kite camp in Mannar. Surround yourself with wind, water, great food and like-minded kiters whilst you experience all the spot has to offer. Everything is organised for you, so enjoy!
Don't worry about having to tear yourself away from the beach- make it the view from your window. Check out the traditional cabins on offer in Kalpitiya- a unique experience with meals and transfers to the spot included!
For kitesurf beginners
Warm, flat waters are a beginner´s dream, as is consistent and stable wind. Both Kalipitiya and Mannar offer such conditions and, as lagoons, can offer a safer environment than coastal spots. With a variety of kite schools to choose from and a relaxed atmosphere to look forward to after a day's kiting, beginners won't be beginners for long!
Reviews of our experiences in Sri Lanka
What makes Sri Lanka special?
After years of political unrest, Sri Lanka's tourism industry is just getting up and running. Whilst this means that things aren't always as well organised as travellers might be used to, it can at times provide opportunities for a truly unique experience off of the beaten tourist trail. World-class conditions in wild surroundings all mixed into a melting pot of culture and history mean that Sri Lanka is one of the few hidden gems the world has left to offer.
As with other wild and natural spots, infrastructure can be less advanced than you might find in more developed areas. That being said, getting around is relatively simple (just a bit slower than you might be used to!) Colombo airport is well served from many European destinations and bus or taxi connections can get you to the spot without too much problem. If you think you want to move around, it is advisable to book a hire car at the airport as in more rural spots it can be complicated. Once you're at the beach then tuk-tuks are a great way of getting around and are easy on the pocket.
What else to discover?
Sri Lanka is a nature lover's dream and there is no shortage of other activities. Parts of the island’s coastal waters are a protected habitat for whales and dolphins and there are lots of opportunities to see them in their natural environment on whale watching tours (you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive blue whale!). Dive deeper and experience life under the waves on scuba diving tours or trek into local nature reserves and meet the local elephant population. If you are looking for something a little more laid back then spots often offer other activities such as yoga and stand up paddling and for those who really want to kick back then kilometers of golden, sun-drenched sandy beaches are yours for the taking.