Sri Lanka is known for fantastic historical ruins dated back to the 5th-century, incredible surfing spots, and a fantastic train ride through lush tea plantations. But thrill seekers and kiteboarders will want to head to go kitesurfing in Sri Lanka – strong winds and turquoise waters. What’s not to like?
The small Indian Ocean island is situated south of India, facing the state of Tamil Nadu. The island can be reached from Europe and North America via India, Malaysia, or Singapore, among other the main airport hubs in the region.
Formerly called Ceylon, the tropical country has a lot to offer with several critical Buddist sites, stunning mountains, and a long coastline offering exciting watersport opportunities. English is commonly used in most cities and tourist areas. The road infrastructure is well developed, with trains, buses, and private cars that can take you everywhere. eVisa can be obtained online for most nationalities.
So overall Sri Lanka is a place that can be explored relatively easily and safely. And with two wind seasons, the perfect new destination for kiteboarding.
Kitesurfing is relatively new in Sri Lanka, and with new spots popping up, the island is becoming a top destination for kiteboarders. The most popular places are Kalpitia and Mannar.
The small fishing village of Kalpitiya is about 100 miles on the Puttalam Peninsula north of Colombo.
With two wind seasons, Kalpityia let kiteboarders choose their dream vacations. Besides the Kalpitiya lagoon where most of the action happens, several other small lakes, islands, and ocean fronts are available. Kiters can enjoy a wide range of locations for all riding levels and plenty of opportunities for improving their skills. Beginners will appreciate the safe environment of the shallow Kalpityia lagoon, where expert kitesurfers will enjoy the waves of the ocean or the offshore winds of the small nearby desolated islands.
The main kiteboarding spot, the lagoon is popular with both experts and beginners alike. Beginners will enjoy the shallow sandbar to learn, and advanced riders will appreciate the strong afternoon winds to try new tricks. The wind is south/southwest in Summer, north in winter.
Just a short distance away from the Kalpityia Lagoon is the Indian Ocean. A few dunes separated the flat lagoon water from the waves of the ocean. The water tends to be choppy in summer, with the side-onshore wind conditions.
The area is known for one of the best downwind experiences that ends on the shores of the Kalpityia Lagoon. The wind is usually stable, though with side-onshore all year round, it’s safer to ride there with a rescue boat nearby.
Accessible via a 15-minute boat ride from the main lagoon, Dream Spot offers access to both the ocean and the lagoon itself. From there, you can do a downwind towards Mini Vella (also called Ippantivu Island) about 20-40 minutes into the bay.
A favorite with beginners thanks to its flat water, the lagoon is about 30 minutes from Kalpitiya. The lagoon is smaller though and is full when 10-15 kiteboarders ride at the same time.
A must-do while in Kalpitiya. The 1.5-mile bay is home to fishermen, sandbars, and turquoise water. Flatwater and offshore winds from May to September make for an ideal kiteboarding experience. Riders need to master upwind riding skills though the presence of a rescue boat is better, in case the winds push you away from the island. Many go to the island as a day trip, but it is also possible to camp there.
Ippantivu Island, Magic Island, and Dutch Bay Point are also kiteboarding spots worth checking.
A new kitesurf spot has surfaced in 2018: Mannar, at the end of the Mannar Peninsula about 190 miles north of Colombo. The kiting area is along the famous Adam’s Bridge, a former land connection that used to connect Sri Lanka to India hundreds of years ago before a cyclone destroyed the land bridge in the late 15th century according to the local legend. Today, small sandbars and islands are scattered along the former bridge.
A 10-mile long sandbar faces Adam’s Bridge and provides for ideal kiteboarding conditions. White sand, shallow turquoise waters, and strong winds all summer long. The spot is perfect for beginners looking to learn the sport, and for advanced riders wanted to improve their skills. Those looking for more challenging riding can go into the waves on the opposite side of the dunes.
As in Kalpitya, the wind is offshore. Regardless of the riders’ skills, ride only when a safety boat is available.
The local kite resort can organize a downwind trip to Jaffna north of Mannar, as well as multiday kite trips around Mannar.
There are two wind seasons in Sri Lanka: summer and winter.
Summer winds: Run from May to October, with an average of 15 to 25 knots blowing from the southwest
Winter winds: Are from December through February, averaging 15 to 20 knots coming from the north. The winter winds tend to be more consistent
Note that in Mannar, though the winds blow there as well as in Kalpityia, the bird migration of the Adam’s Bridge Marine National Park prevents kiting during the winter months. This might change as other people discover new kite spots around the area.
Kalpityia offers a variety of accommodations, from regular budget hostels to luxury resorts, including several kite resorts that focus on kiteboarding activities. Mannar is a new kite spot and has limited accommodations in the Talaimannar village and a new kite resort directly on the place.
Kalpitiya and Mannar both have schools and gear rental available. Lessons are provided in English, French, and German, and other languages might be available. The shops can usually do basic repairs locally as well.
Sri Lanka has a good network of buses running throughout the country, as well as a good Sri Railway train network reaching several regions. This allows for budget travelers to reach their destinations cheaply.
However, after a long international flight landing at Colombo International Airport, you might want to hire a private car with driver. These cars will pick you up at Negombo (where the airport actually is) and will get you to Kalpitya in three-four hour for US$ 70-80 and to Mannar in six to eight hours for US$ 140-150.
While non-windy days are likely to be far and few, you might want to take a break to explore what Sri Lanka has to offer:
– Search for wild leopards and elephants in the nearby Wilpattu National Park.
– Visit the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura or Sigiriya, Sri Lanka sightseeing sites.
– Just relax with yoga, chill on a SUP, and indulge with an Ayurvedic Massage.
All photos on this Kitesurf Sri Lanka post are copyrighted by Ze Wandering Frogs.
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