Surf tourism is still in its early stages in Sri Lanka, which means that not everything is as readily available compared to more established surf destinations. Quality brands are much more expensive.

While there are some good local surf shops and clothing brands emerging, you may need to do some searching to find them. Since most surf gear is imported, it’s a good idea to pack thoughtfully. In addition to surf gear, there are other useful items to consider bringing along. Travelling with babies and toddlers? Check out this list.

Surf Boards

If you are coming for a long time, consider bringing a board, you can always sell it to a local shop or on one of the Facebook forums. The island board distributor is now selling glass boards as well as epoxy and there are plenty of seasons worth of traded boards from previous visitors knocking about. Check out the airline board transport reviews, some are better than others.

Rent Boards

You can hire boards locally for Most of the main surf points offer board hire. Ask your hire place if you can swap boards out during your rental period.

Buy Boards

There has been some talk of building a Sri Lankan surfboard factory and training local shapers, a great idea but yet to materialise so in general it is easier to rent than buy boards. Yes, you can buy boards, several surf shops sell them.

Tuk Tuk Surfboard Straps

Tuk Tuks are a great way of getting around with your boards. Strapped to the roof they are a lot safer than bike racks (now illegal). Most of the tuk-tuk drivers that cruise the surf community have good pads and straps these days although some do not so it’s always a good idea to have a spare.

Spare Surf Leash & Fins

Leashes are available in some surf shops, but cheaper from home. Always good to have a spare. There are few surf shops on the points. You might want to swap out your fins on a board rental and they don’t take up much room.

Tropical Water Wax

Local surf wax is like rubber in Sri Lanka although and good tropical surf wax is hard to find. It is consistently 27 degrees in the water so something that fits that temperature. Makes a great present when you leave if you bring too much.

Sun Protection

We recommended you bring zinc blocks, rash vests, and a surf hat.

The World Health Organisation reports that the UV Index in the area usually ranges between 8 to 12, with the lowest being in November, December, and January at 8, 10 in February, and 12 in April, which is considered quite high.

We don’t recommend using commercial sunscreens as some of them contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, which have been found to pollute the marine environment and damage reefs. Hawaii has recently banned these harmful chemicals in sunscreens. Instead, it’s better to opt for mineral-based sunscreens that contain zinc and titanium oxide or cover up with protective clothing.

Rash Vests & Quality Board Shorts

You can buy rash vests and board shorts in some places, but not many. Best to bring a couple with long and short sleeves, go for UV +50 fabric. You can leave your wet suit at home! Locals don’t mind a quality hand-me-down either.

Strong Coffee

If you require a strong coffee to start your day, it’s best to bring a French filter along with filters and your preferred ground coffee. Although Sri Lankan coffee tastes pleasant, it has a low caffeine content. Therefore, after your second cup, you’ll barely feel the effect. There are limited places in each town where you can find Lavazza as a brand, and the chain is expanding. You can find many independent cafes, but you may not find what you want in your Sri Lankan-run hotel or guest house.

SIM free Mobile Internet Dongle

Dialog Mobile offers 4G HSPA+ mobile internet with the best coverage in the south-west region of Sri Lanka. It provides fast internet speeds. Sri Lanka Telecom has installed fibre optic even in some of the remotest places along the coast.

While many places have WiFi, it may be slow. If you need to work online frequently, get a local data sim. You can easily purchase a prepaid data SIM in any small town, and it is simple to top up with cheap data.

Multivitamins

The Sri Lankan diet is generally sufficient to provide you with necessary nutrients. However, if you’re doing physically demanding activities such as surfing, some vitamins and trace elements may be lacking in your diet. Taking a good multivitamin supplement can be helpful, especially if you’re planning to stay in Sri Lanka for an extended period.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

There are about 140 types of mosquitoes in Sri Lanka. A few simple rules to prevent bites. in the wetter months of the season (Oct-Dec). You may need to smother yourself with some good repellents.

Use good repellents, citronella or cinnamon-based incense sticks, ditch your scented products, cover up exposed skin, and check your mosquito net before bed.

You can even mix your natural repellent by combining coconut oil with a few drops each of cinnamon and citronella oil, easily available in the supermarket or many Auervadic shops. DEET is the chemical in the stronger ones, highly effective at keeping them away and dissolving plastics and your spandex yoga gear, so use sparingly.

Surf First Aid Kit

Bring iodine-based disinfectants, wound closure strips, good selections of large plasters, and medical-grade superglue to fix a small fin cut in no time. You can buy many medicines over the counter including broad-spectrum antibiotics. We found the white powder in a small blue bottle from the local pharmacy (Bacimix Powder) works best for grazes and small cuts in a tropical environment.

Mini Travel Surge Protector

If you love your portable devices and want to keep them intact for your trip, go for one of these. The electricity supply is all over the place, we have unfortunately learnt the hard way with several laptop casualties. Also, the salty, humid sea air eats tech, so bear this in mind when you pack.

Presents

Last year cool t-shirts and board shorts for the beach boys, you will get asked for the ones you are wearing. Cookies and interesting foods from your country for the families, educational toys for the kids, fishing stuff, waterproof carry bags, surfboards to sell at the end of your travels, global brand electronics, and decent chef knives. All difficult to get hold of or expensive.

Documents

Passport….”valid for not less than 6 months from the date of arrival”

Visa….via Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)  Arranged for 1 month,  it is possible to extend  in Columbo visa office or vial a local agent when you are there. For longer stays visa are issued at Sri Lankan Embassy’s and take about a week, leaving your passport.

Travel Insurance…we have used Dogtag Sports Travel Insurance, World Nomad and Saftey Wing. Comprehensive for sports activities.

International Driving Licence. For car hire, bike rental and self-drive tuk tuks. Best to Google it in your country. You will also need to get your driving licence validated in Sri Lanka.