Sri Lanka is emerging as a water sports hotspot. Dashing into the water is your dream then try water sports in Sri Lanka is the place to be. It will give you ample opportunities to have fun, relaxation and your own bit of enjoyment too. Indulge in some extreme thrilling experience of Snorkelling, kite surfing and scuba diving which will leave you truly refreshed. These water sports will also allow you to discover the richness of the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean. Whilst both down south and east coastlines provide beach-related adventures and water sports, you can enjoy river-based adventures in sites such as ‘Kitulgala’ where travelers can enjoy whitewater rafting. These are some of the water sports which you can enjoy in Sri Lanka.
With the glittering sand and sun, fantastic weather, warm water, colorful marine wildlife, hundreds of shipwrecks and great visibility, Sri Lanka is a diver’s dream. Feel, discover and swim with the beautiful marine life, learn to snorkel or dive or even to swim with the professionals who will accompany you to the bottom. The incredible hospitality and the care provided to you by the professional dive centers along the coastal belt of the island will assure your safety and pleasure.
It is always an adventure and an exciting event to go underwater. It will never make you disappointed but will give you more than expected, no matter what your level of experience is. There is much more to see. You can snorkel in shallow, warm water through coral reefs and thousands of fish and sometimes with friendly turtles. When you dive, there is no end to your adventure; deep blue waters, reefs with colors and varieties of marine life, shipwrecks with stories, caves, and many more…
In the southwest monsoon, you can shift to the east coast for diving. From Trincomalee to Batticaloa there are magnificent diving sites with coral reefs, such as Pigeon Island, Konashwaram, Kayankeni and Batticaloa, where the coastline is also enriched with wreck sites. You can find the HMS Hermes, the world’s first aircraft carrier which sank during World War II, and also it is one of the top 10 wrecks for diving in the world.
Along the west coast, there are a number of diving sites and centers in Kalpitiya, Negombo and even in Colombo if you do not have much time to travel. At Kalpitiya you will find the pristine Bar Reef and the Whale and Dolphin watching tours.
South Coast – Bentota, Sinigama, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unawatuna, Polhena, Dickwella, and Kirinda.
West Coast – Colombo, Negombo, and Kalpitiya.
East Coast – Nilaweli, Uppuweli, Trincomalee, Kayankeni, Kalkuda, Pasikuda and Batticaloa
Snorkel is equipment or rather a tube that is built in the shape of a diving mask. Snorkeling is enjoyed by both people who are afraid or scared to try out scuba diving and also by the scuba divers at the surface. Snorkeling is one of the easiest ways to enjoy the underwater life. Snorkeling is available at the locations where scuba diving is practiced.
Hikkaduwa, Weligama, Kirinda, Pigeon Island area
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) to breathe underwater. This should be tried by good swimmers who are well experienced or else should be guided by a supervisor. or trainers. This is an adventure where you can truly experience the world that we are so strange too. Enjoy the beautiful waters that surround Sri Lanka and experience the wonderful fish, coral reefs, and breathtaking views whilst scuba diving.
Hikkaduwa, Weligama, Kirinda, Pigeon Island area
Snuba is a form of surface-supplied diving in which an underwater breathing system developed is used. The swimmer uses swimfins, a diving mask, weights, and diving regulator as in scuba diving. The air comes through a long hose from tanks on pontoon rafts on the surface. Snuba often serves as a form of introductory diving, in the presence of a professional, insured guide, and following a half-hour lesson.
For the ones who are scared or unable to perform scuba diving, snorkeling which is similar to scuba diving but which only provides swimming through the surface could be enjoyed.
“Shipwrecks, they take us into entirely new dimensions, fascinate us with its beauty, terrify us with its ill fate and amaze us with its presence. There is a story behind every single wreck, which has been interrupted unexpectedly. There is a story behind every unfinished journey; the stories help us make history.”
Surfing is quite an adventurous water sport in which the wave rider or the surfer rides on the forward or deep face of a moving wave usually carrying the surfer towards the shore.
If you are into surfing, Sri Lanka would be the best destination to touch down. Being an island located in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has waves best to be ridden. The main surfing season for the south is from November to May – that’s when the waves are utter perfection. The best season on the east coast is from April to October when the waves are longer. Here’s what you need to know: there will always be waves somewhere.
South Coast – Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Weligama, Bentota
West Coast – Kalpitiya
East Coast – Arugambay
Kitesurfing is also a wonderful adventure you could do in Sri Lanka. Kalpitiya on the west coast of Sri Lanka is popular among kitesurfers. The kitesurfing season at Kalpitiya lasts from May to September. Hotels and resorts in most of the kitesurfing areas offer facilities for it.
Kite surfing is a thrilling water sport that requires a serious skill. You need to know how to control the parachute-like canopy using a rope while also maintaining your balance. But when you do it right, the result is amazing. With practice, you can try in-air stunts that may include jumps and 360-degree flips. Since the entire control of where you’re moving on the water is within your hands, it’s quite a tricky sport that needs to be done with caution. The coastal town of Kalpitiya in Sri Lanka has the perfect winds and sea condition for kite surfing and is very popular for the sport. You can find kitesurfing instructors there as well.
Windsurfing is also an adventure doing onboard and the shape of this board is pretty much similar to the board that is used in Surfing. This board is also connected to a mast – 2 sided Boom and a Sail. This adventure is not only about how you tackle and ride the waves but also how you handle the wind that affects your memorable ride in the ocean.
Wind Sailing involves using a sail attached to a surfboard to catch the wind and control the movement of the board across the waves. Once again it needs a great sense of balance and an immense amount of skill. Being able to take flight and do stunts, simply using the power of the wind, brings an exhilaration that cannot be explained. While many areas along the Sri Lankan coast have good conditions for windsurfing; Bentota is best for beginners. However, the western coast offers the best challenge for those with experience.
Bentota, Arugambay, Kalpitiya
Sea Kayaking is one of the most popular water-sports in the world. Sea Kayak or a Touring Kayak is developed to enjoy in open waters such as lakes, bays, or in the ocean. It is a small boat made with a covered deck and also has the ability to equip a spray deck to assure water does not enter into the ‘Kayak deck’. Solo Kayak can be 3 – 5 ½ meters in length and the one that allocates 2 individuals could be as long as 8 meters. It is the best way to spend time at the sea either alone or with your travel partner enjoying the beautiful surrounding near the selected lake, bay, or sea.
Weligama, Bentota, Kalpitiya
Jet Ski is a speed watercraft, perfect for individuals who look for thrill and adventure. Jet Skis are the ultimate water thrill ride. You can feel the adrenaline high from speed and from the Jet Ski’s glide over the strong ocean currents. Sri Lanka, surrounded by the sea is one of the best places in the world to experience jet skiing. The beautiful coastal views add to the experience.
Hikkaduwa, Nilaveli, Weligama, Bentota, Mirissa, Arugam Bay, Negambo
Waterskiing is similar to wakeboarding and the only difference between the two is the board as ‘Waterskiing’ uses ski boards.
Sri Lanka offers a best in class waterskiing experience complete with sandy beaches, colorful coral reefs, clear blue water and a backdrop of sunny warm tropical climates. The sport allows you to glide over the water using the skis on your feet while being towed by a motorboat. The sport can be done on any sizable body of water, but the best rush that you get is when you do it over the rolling waves of the ocean.
Bentota, Beruwala, Aluthgama, Trincomalee
Wakeboarding is similar to riding a skateboard, except that it’s on the water. The board is towed by a speedboat. While you need impeccable balance to even ride it without falling, with skills and practice you can even stunt on it, just like on a skateboard. And the experience is totally thrilling!
Fishing as a recreation or sport is quite a popular activity among tourists world over. An island located in the Indian Ocean with an endless coastline and many tanks and rivers, Sri Lanka is a fine destination to do recreational fishing. Many hotels and resorts on the island offer facilities to tourists for recreational fishing. Those who are into fishing could cast their rods or lines with baits in shallow waters or deep-sea once they visit this paradise island. You could do fishing in Sri Lanka round the year as the east coast is best from May to September and the west coast from November to April.
Deep-sea fishing is a great water sport with a challenge. You get to see the exotic marine life of the region while trying your skills at catching large deep-sea fish. It’s not just a sport, it’s a battle between life and death. The Southwestern Coast and the Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka are excellent for deep-sea fishing. The fishing is seasonal, depending on the monsoons. You can catch a number of large prize fish such as Jack Trevally, Spanish Mackerel, Skipjack Tuna, Yellow Fin Tuna, Sail Fish, Marlins, and Frigate Tuna.
Banana Boat Rides and Tube Rides
Banana Boats are large banana-shaped inflatables that between three to ten people can sit on depending on the size. The tube, on the other hand, can only be used by one person and is a tire shaped rubber inflatable that you can sit on in the water. You may see it being used in amusement park rides on the water slides. The banana boat and tube are not internally powered and are simply towed behind motorboats. They are child-friendly rides that give you a decent thrill ride in safety.
White Water Rafting and White Water Kayaking
A water-based adventure mostly practiced in rivers. The idea of rafting is to navigate over the body of the water. This is practiced in white waters or at a certain degree of rough water to make the adventure more thrilling and interesting to the passengers. Rafts are available for single usage and also for groups. However, as this is practiced in rough water, it is considered as an extreme adventure.
White water rafting involves riding the rapids on an inflatable raft holding between four to ten people while using a paddle to control the raft. While it involves some skill its considerably easy for beginners. Anyone over the age of 10 years is allowed to white water raft with the proper safety equipment and an experienced team of river guides. The experience itself is a rollercoaster-like ride that will satisfy any thrill seeker.
White water kayaking, on the other hand, is a different ballgame. It involves riding white water rapids in a kayak. The control of the kayak is entirely dependent on the person in the kayak, and a single moment of losing focus can end up in the kayak flipping and possible injuries. As such it requires a lot of skill.
In Sri Lanka, whitewater rafting can be enjoyed at Kitulgala – a paradise for whitewater rafting. Sri Lanka has both, white water rafting and white water kayaking. Kithulgala, a little town within the jungles that line the banks of Kelani River, is an epicenter for such water sports. With white water rapids that graded at level two and three, the Kithulgala stretch has five major and four minor rapids over a distance of five kilometers.
Avissawella is also popular for white water kayaking amongst more experienced kayakers. It has the Sitawaka River with 7 rapids graded between 3 to 4, stretching for a distance of 6.5 km. Though the intensity and force of the rapids are higher, the comparatively lesser number of rapids spread over a longer distance means that kayakers get to pass through calm waters occasionally, giving them the chance to rest and rejuvenate.
Either way, white water rafting, and white water kayaking take the top place as the most thrilling water sports to do in Sri Lanka.
Canyoning, in general, may any mix of hiking, abseiling, cliff jumping, swimming, white water rafting and etc. However, in Sri Lanka, canyoning is done as a water sport in the ancient gorges carved by the natural force of the Kelani River. Kithulgala, where canyoning is often done, is surrounded by deep jungle and the walls of the gorge, with the river at the bottom forming small rapids and white water. It involves sliding down rapids with the proper safety gear and can be quite thrilling. There are several companies in the area that provide qualified and experienced guides for the sport.
Sri Lanka has many rivers flowing down to the sea from its Central Highlands. The flow of the rivers creates various ecosystems, marsh, lands, islets, and lakes. Madu River, in particular, is famous for its swampy marshal region with a rich ecosystem of flora and fauna. With a number of explorable islands and many interesting sights, it’s perfect to sightsee at. The Madu River Safaris also allow you to try your hands at the tiller on clear stretches, giving them a river boating experience as well.
A number of rivers, lakes, and lagoons in Sri Lanka that receive tourist visits, often have duck and swan-necked paddle boats docked along their shores. These are hired out by the hour or half-hour and can be taken for a spin on the rivers or other water bodies. You can get a chance to see many water birds and other fauna, and visit some small islands depending on where you are paddle boating.