Sri Lanka’s S.A.D.

Max Hepworth-Povey


4 days ago in News

Sri Lanka suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Here is an attempt to explain the slightly confusing seasons that affect the island.

The climatically vulnerable country used to have two distinct seasons; the monsoon season and the dry season. 

The monsoon season acting in accordance to its name, bringing with it wild, relatively un-surfable waves, whilst the dry season would be sunny all day, with clean swell complemented by light winds.

Add in a slight curveball being that Sri Lanka uniquely experiences two monsoon and two dry seasons throughout the year. Stay with me.

Basically one side of the island will be enduring its monsoon season whilst the other would be dry. So from November to April you would head to the West of the island, May to October you go East.

However…

The past few years have seen things change. People have booked peak season holidays, paying peak prices, preparing for picture perfect sunset pina coladas and sunburn and have received a bit of rain that the gram influencers did not warn them about.

On the flip side tourists have swung by in the ‘off season’ months and surfed in the sunshine all day, with no crowds.

This may sound a bit confusing, and it is, but going from the weather patterns over the past 5 years here’s an honest view on what to expect depending on the month you visit us at The Surf House on the South West Coast, with regards to weather and waves.

“This is what we signed up for”

December – March

Hot. Sunny. Small to medium sized waves (chest to head high) with light winds til midday, a sun-set glass off, accompanied by the odd shower, rarely lasting longer than an hour or two.

April – June

Hotter and wetter. April & May have been the best months with regards to ‘solid’ swell over the past few years, but there’s a ‘switch’ where the storms come, the wind and rain is relentless, the waves go wild and you want to be surfing in Arugam Bay on the other side of the island, or if that’s not feasible, you can surf at the east facing beaches like Weligama and Dewata. 

This lasted a gruelling three weeks through May this season, but June has been glorious.

July – September

Ok. Wasn’t expecting this. It’s way less hot and will probably rain for a short period every day, but not all day and you don’t know when that will be so it’s a nightmare doing your washing. However the surf is more predictable as the swell and wind will be coming from the West, so east facing beaches are the only go to really. Arugam Bay is pumping around this time and exhaustingly hot.

October – November

Honestly this is a gamble. There will be a week of rain at some point as the ‘monsoon’ season likes to leave with a bang but it’s anyone’s guess when that will be. When this does happen though, the waves in Arugam Bay tend to just stop, but when the rain stops, the waves out the front of the Surf House turn on.

So to summarise.

If you want to guarantee sunshine and surf then those ‘peak season’ months are still the best bet.

If you want to experience a sleepier side of island life, kind of like Sri Lanka a decade or so ago then July – September will be a pleasant surprise. 

If you want to surf the biggest waves and are up for a gamble, then book your stay around March / April / early May.