Petter Tolleman, founder of Ceylon Sliders Surf School — Cape Weligama’s Surf Experiences partner, loves the bay of Weligama for its year-round surfing. He breaks down what the subtle changes in weather mean for a surf experience in this blog.
“Weather is a tough question as we can’t predict it, especially not in the tropics where it may change by the minute. That being said, Sri Lanka has some of the best weather in the world and it is very consistent throughout the year, so I can confidently recommend a visit no matter what time of the year. Please allow me to explain in more detail about the weather as we experience it in Weligama.
Credit: Petter Toremalm
First of all, let’s not talk about on and off season. Yes, there are seasons in Sri Lanka, but those two expressions are quite an unfair description commonly used to generalize weather in online articles. Instead we suggest categorizing the seasons into two main ones (summer & winter seasons) and two shoulder seasons in between the both; then there is the peak season when prices increase and it gets a bit busy.
Winter season – 1st November to 30 April
Summer season – 1st of May to 31th October
Shoulder season – 1st of April to mid-May + mid-October to mid-December
Peak season – Christmas to mid Jan
To be recommended a visit, if you are a surfer, the first question to ask is yourself is what kind of waves you are looking for.
If you are an advanced surfer and want to get the best conditions, we recommend the winter season as all of the surf spots are working along the south coast, providing fun surf for all levels. Surf is between 2-8ft and winds are normally nonexistent in the morning providing really glassy conditions favorable for us surfers. There are long point breaks, hollow reef breaks and fun beach breaks on offer, catering towards all surf levels.
If you are a beginner or a long boarder – then any time of the year is perfect as the friendlier beach breaks work year round. Weligama, where we are situated, is arguably better for learning, providing good surf all day long just in front of Ceylon Sliders. Still, as an advanced surfer, you can catch your waves too, as the outside reef can get real fun and occasionally the bay too; the options of different surf spots are less though compared to the winter season. Winds are side off shore in Weligama throughout most days, so you can surf any time, a great benefit of the summer season.
If you want to get the biggest waves possible, we would recommend to come in any of the shoulder seasons, as then the winds are more favorable and the surf is normally bigger. However we can always find sheltered spots if you don’t want to big waves so don’t be scared to come at that period if you’re a beginner.
The famous island right in front of Ceylon Sliders is a really fun, longboard wave, and occasionally a short board wave. It normally works in the summer season, and every now and then in the shoulder season. It has a left and a right, each breaking along one side of the island.
Weather wise, you may read that April to November are considered monsoon season and off season for the southwest coast of Sri Lanka but it’s not entirely accurate. There are two main monsoons, one is normally in the end of May and the other one in November. During the monsoon there are normally a few days with heavy rains, but you can still surf every day and it is highly unlikely that it will be rainy more than 2-3 consecutive days. Generally, there is a big downpour on one day, and then a small shower in the morning or evening the next few days. This lasts for a week or two, and then it’s over. There is still surf every day, and you will get wet anyway if you want to surf, so it really isn’t that bad.
At the end of the day we can’t fully predict the weather and the surf conditions. But, we have NEVER during our 4 years of operations cancelled a surf lesson due to bad weather! In surfing you will get wet anyway so a little bit of rain won’t hold us back. As for wind, rain and surf conditions, it’s impossible to tell what they’ll be like in advance at any time of the year, it might change in 10 minutes and then change back again, so even in the morning of the same day we won’t know. In case of a cyclone, thunderstorm or something like that we can reschedule the lesson to the afternoon or the next day, but there would always be a possibility to surf.
I hope this helps give you a better picture of what it’s like here in Sri Lanka.”