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Greg Rodgers

Surf's Up in Sri Lanka!

By December 14, 2012

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Unawatuna Sri Lanka


Photo by Greg Rodgers

When I first mentioned that I was going to Sri Lanka last month, some friends at home had only one thing to ask:

'Where is Sri Lanka?'

Despite an estimated 30,000 years of history, a surprising number of people know very little about the island just south of India. Sadly, nearly 30 years of civil war which only ended in 2009 kept Sri Lanka lower on nonsurfing people's itineraries than it should have been.

Sri Lanka did get the world's attention as one of the worst-devastated countries hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Fortunately, reconstruction has been a success and the only thing missing now are tourists. The overabundance of mostly empty guesthouses and restaurants away from Unawatuna -- Sri lanka's primary beach destination -- reminded me sadly of Lake Toba in Sumatra, another beautiful place with more hopeful infrastructure than visitors.

Sri Lanka has been on the map for surfers as a top destination in the Indian Ocean for decades. From novice waves fit for kids to sun-blocking walls of water that crash over reef and rocks, there's surfing in Sri Lanka for any skill level.

Well, almost. I managed to break my thumb after an unpleasant entanglement with a wave that was 'over my head' in more ways than one.

So whether you manage to catch a wave or not, the five-dollar tuna steaks and coconut drinks served right on the beach will make you happy regardless. When you've worn out the islands in Thailand and care to try something a little different, catch a cheap flight from Southeast Asia to Sri Lanka!

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