Safe in Sri Lanka

Updated June 17th 2019

As you are probably well aware on April 29 2019 a dreadful series of terrorist attacks took place in Sri Lanka. The terrorists focused on churches in the Colombo area and one in the East of the country and on a number of luxury hotels in Colombo. Many lost their lives as you will know and many injured. Terrorism doing exactly what it’s designed to do and create fear in many directions.

surfing in sri lanka

Sri Lankans are always ready to meet you, smile and laugh. Instructor Dan sharing smiles

sri lanka surfing competitions

Sri Lanka’s largest open surf contest in 2019, the Red Bull Ride My Wave saw Dan in second place

ISA surfing courses in sri lanka

On ISA Instructor courses Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Christians learn to save lives

As we said earlier in May, we would always update this page. The good news is that nearly all countries have relaxed their travel advisory guidelines for Sri Lanka. Countries such as Germany, China, India, the UK and many others have taken this positive move.

The issue of course, had been travel insurance companies not wishing to cover visits to Sri Lanka. But this has changed dramatically with nearly all travel insurance companies, and some of our favourites such as World Nomads, offering full cover for visits.

Many surf schools and surf camps have been doing their very best to reassure potential surfing visitors to Sri Lanka, this post from Pieter, the owner of Sunshine Stories our neighbors in the waves wrote this article, please check it out to get even more of a picture of what it’s like here at the moment and to hear a super positive take on the situation.

stoked at Surf School Sri Lanka

The surfing level in Sri Lanka is always rising and many top surfers are also instructors with their living coming from surf tourism

With the country returning to stability slowly it’s obvious that the main sector to suffer economically is tourism. But unlike many other destinations Sri Lanka is not really on the “package tour” circuit and that especially applies to surf related tourism where those choosing Sri Lanka for surfing holidays are very often independent travelers, with often a past history and experience of “off the beaten track” travel.

The massive and almost instant drop in tourism is, if it continues, is going to have a disastrous affect on economies in the surfing areas. These areas are often rural and the ability of locals in these areas to start to make a decent living finally began to be a reality in the last 3 or 4 years. We can’t just think of surf camps and schools but all of those related to that growing economy from tuk tuk drivers to restaurants to tour guides and shops, hotels and guest houses. It’s almost impossible to state the positive effects that surf tourism was having.

sri lankan surf courses

Dilum, and his brothers Asanka and Suranga provide our tuk tuk and airport shuttle service, and like many are disastrously affected by the drop in tourism

That knock on affect is well illustrated in this article by a friend of ours, Max, the video makes an interesting take on why Sri Lanka is worth visiting at this moment.

We work closely with Sri Lankans at Surf School Sri Lanka. I began the formation of the Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka  and I am the International Surfing Federation  (ISA) Course Presenter for Sri Lanka. Our company not only provides high quality courses for visitors’ but also training for Sri Lankan Instructors of all religious and ethnic backgrounds’ to become ISA Instructors and deliver a higher quality of safety and technical coaching to visitors and local alike. So we see firsthand the devastating affects the sudden drop in surf tourism can have.

I also offer help in an advisory capacity to the Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority who can see the growth in surf tourism and want to offer the highest quality of experiences to surfing visitors. Do check out their recent video where recent visitors post the attacks are interviewed.

Imagine; there are coastal communities whose development was curtailed by 30 years of civil war. Then, just before peace comes in 2009 the devastating tsunami of 2004 takes over 30,000 lives. With surfing areas affected, and always causing huge economic issues for local people.

We have a chance to redress this situation. Economic security will never return unless we make rational and well educated decisions about visiting Sri Lanka or, for my part, sustaining a surfing business, in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka does have the chance to heal and heal quickly if it’s seen to have support. Not only of international bodies, but especially from those making the choice to visit in the near future.

sri lankan surf courses

Lesitha Prabath is Sri Lanka’s national surfing champion. The Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka is a growing force, both in mens , and now womens surfing

As you will see from the articles in these links there are many reasons given for making the choice to visit Sri Lanka and for not letting the seeds of recent events grow and finally choke what was such a positive growth in surf tourism. As all the articles state, the choice is yours and we have decided to keep our website updated with reports from Sri Lanka and to be very honest about the safety issues that surfing visitors will confront.

I spend a lot of time in Paris, a city too that suffered from needless violent attacks, but the attitude there has been one of challenge, as has been seen in so many parts of the world affected by terrorism and civil unrest.  Challenge those who wish to disrupt innocent lives by carrying on as normal. To never let terrorism break apart communities as that’s exactly what the terror is designed to do. To breed hatred and mistrust.

staff at surf school sr lanka

Our dear friend Mr Piadasa who has looked after our property for over 15 years

sri lanka surf coaching

ISA Instructor courses at Arugam Bay, soon to be the site of a WQS International competition

staff at our surf school

Our lovely housekeeper Karmani, whose care and attention to our clients is unbelievable

For our area we know we are far away from Colombo and where any of the acts to terrorism took place, but also untouched by any further ethnic tensions, and we know that it’s a matter of time for wounds to heal and for Sri Lanka to move onwards. Please do ask us any questions about your safety. It’s normal to be concerned and to plan accordingly.  We also know you can all play a great part in the healing process that’s so very needed.

A huge thank you and Ayubowan goes out to our Sri Lankan staff, ISA instructor Tharaka, Mr P, Karmani, Ranga, Dilum, Suranga and Asanka and all other Sri Lankans we work with.

Tim Jones Director Surf School Sri Lanka and Surf Insight – June 17th 2019

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