What to bring for your Surf Trip
Surf Tourism is still being developed in Sri Lanka so you if you are travelling the coast a little prep goes a long way. With more small local shops opening, availability of good board rental and accessories is now a reality. There has been talk of developing Sri Lankan local shapers but at the moment everything is imported.
You can hire boards locally for 1000 Sri Lankan Rupees a day or 300 for an hour. There are a lot of epoxy boards around this year, all buoyant and great for learning on. All the main surf points offer board hire. Potentially a local shaper factory opening in Weligama, very exciting if it happens.
If you bring your own boards bring some good straps for tying your boards to the top of a Tuk Tuk, otherwise it maybe a bungee cord and have your boards flapping around.
Spare Surf Leash
Available in some places but better quality from home.
Tropical water Sex Wax or similar
Local surf wax is like rubber in Sri Lanka and good tropical surf wax is hard to find. It is 27 degrees in the water so you will need the wax that fits that temperature.
Rash Vests & Board Shorts
You can buy quality rash vests and board shorts in some places, but not many. Best to bring a couple with long and shot sleeves, go for UV +50 fabric. You can leave your wet suit at home.
If you need a strong coffee to get started in the morning best to bring a small stove pot or French filter with filters and your favorite ground coffee. Sri Lankan coffee, pleasant as it is, has a very low caffeine content so after your second pint you are just getting a tickle. There are only a few places in each town you places can get Lavazza as a brand and chain is making a move. Galle Fort, Hikkadua, Unawatuna, irissa the city of Matra city are the ones we have found. Lion’s Rest Hotel is always well stocked with Nespresso.
SIM free Mobile Internet Dongle
Dialog have 4G HSPA+ mobile internet and the best coverage in the south west, its pretty fast. Whilst many places have WiFi it can be slow so if you need to catch up on line a lot then bring a SIM free dongle or uses the SIM slot in you tablet. You can pick up a prepay data SIM at the main shops (with you passport) for 700 Sri Lankan Rupees and 500 Sri Lankan Rupees per 5 GB of download, many local shops offer top up cards.
SIM free Nokia “Basic-series” phone
Simplify your life with one of these. Local SIMs are easy to pick up with your passport at the airport and are valid for your visa, if you extend your stay just pop into the local network shop and let them know.
Sri Lankan diet can provide you with more of less everything however if you are surfing a lot or doing other demanding activities there are some vitamins and trace elements that are missing in Sri Lankan diet. A good multivitamin supplement is useful, especially if you are staying a while.
Preventing Mosquito Bites
There are about 140 types mosquito 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. Ditch your scented products, reduce exposed skin, hunt them down in your mosquito net before bed. Mixing your own product with locally available coconut oil, a few drops of cinnamon and citronella oil, very good and 100% natural. 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, medical grade super glue fixes 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 a number of lap top casualties. Also the salty, humid sea air eats tech, so bear this in mind when you pack.
Last years 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, water proof carry bags, surf boards to sell at the end of your travels, global brand electronics, decent chef knives. All difficult to get hold of or expensive.
Passport….”valid for not less than 6 months from the date of arrival”
Visa….via Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Arranged for 1 or 3 months, it is possible to extend to a maximum of 4 months taking an extra 1 or 3 month extension in Columbo visa office.
Travel Insurance…we have used Dogtag Sports Travel Insurance, comprehensive for adrenaline sports & Nomad Insurance – Lonely Planet’s longer stay offering.
International Driving Licence. For car hire, bike rental and self drive tuk tuks. Best to Google it in your country.