Sri Lanka’s surfing capital
Arugam Bay is a bay situated on the Indian Ocean in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s southeast coast, and a historic settlement of the ancient Batticaloa Territory. The main settlement in the area, known locally as Ullae, is predominantly Muslim, however there is a significant Sri Lankan Tamil and Sinhala population to the south of the village, as well as a number of international migrants, largely from Europe and Australia. While traditionally fishing has dominated the local economy, tourism has grown rapidly in the area in recent years.
Arugam Bay is dominated by surf tourism, thanks to several quality breaks in the area, however tourists are also attracted by the local beaches, lagoons, historic temples and the nearby Kumana National Park. The Arugam Bay area is home to a number of quality surf breaks, the most popular of which being “Main Point”; located towards the south of the bay. This is a right hand point break, with a rock/reef bottom, and has a number of sections with occasional barrels. Other breaks in the area include Whiskey Point and Pottuvil Point to the north, and Elephant Rock, Peanut Farm and Okanda to the south. These breaks have attracted a steady stream of international tourists for several decades. Arugam Bay has a good local surf scene and is home to some of Sri Lanka’s most talented surfers and in recent years surfers from Arugam Bay have dominated national competitions.
The nearby Muslim village of Pottuvil is the center of commerce and transportation while tourist accommodations lie along the beach to the south of Pottuvil. Arugam Bay is also the gateway and the only road access to the Yala East National Park.