When searching for a surf spot as a beginner it is better to learn among people who can already surf; you will “hopefully” learn good surf etiquette from more experienced surfers and they are more likely to be able to avoid you and, sometimes politely, tell you where you are going wrong. What you do not want is a point break with 10 other complete beginners. You will find this uncomfortable, so if you are in any doubt it is a good idea to watch from the safety of the shore for 10 minutes before you enter the water, to assess whether you think it is a good learning environment.
The best spot in the Arugam Bay area for a beginner is Baby Point in front of Mambos. However, due to the sandy bottom it does not usually start producing a big enough wave until August; the good news is that you can find waves there well after the season has finished and even at the start of the year in January and February. However, this is not a certainty so do not be disappointed if you come out of season and do not find any waves.
The next best option is probably Elephant Rock, a 15 minute, 1000LKR return, tuk tuk ride south. This spot tends to start working well mid season, about July but you can find good surf before that especially early morning or on days with little wind. Aside from having decent waves it is a very beautiful spot to surf or just enjoy the beach or climb the rock. The advice is not to wear loose fitting flip flops as you have to climb across a fairly steep 45 degree rock face to enter the beach. See our Ultimate Guide to Elephant Rock for more information.
Peanut Farm / Whiskey Point
Peanut Farm and Whiskey Point are both slightly more advanced waves and generally have more crowds. Overall Whiskey Point tends to carry the worst vibe of all places especially when crowded.
Pottuvil Point is another stunning spot which tends to work best late season and even into November and December at times. This is the only place where you may experience real Sri Lankan localism in the waves; however if you are a girl, do not worry as the locals will probably not ask you leave!
Lighthouse / Okanda / Main Point
Lighthouse, Okanda and Main Point are not really suitable for beginners unless it is a small day and there are few people.
The last point worth mentioning is Panama Right, another place worth visiting just for the beach even if there are no waves. Despite a couple of submerged rocks, which are easy to locate and avoid, this can be a really fun place to surf without crowds. The best advice is to try it on the really big days when all the other points are not handling the swell.
Surf Spot Map
Follow the link to the local area map showing all surf spots listed.
If you have any other tips please post a comment below.