Originally inspired by a section in Thomas Campbell's Sprout, we recently visited Sri Lanka — specifically Arugam Bay. Naturally expectations were high. But like all real-life surf trips (as opposed to the ones you see edited in movies) the forces of nature don't always come together in the way one would hope. In our case, this meant that some of the breaks we (well, mostly I) wanted to surf weren't working at all, and the others, while fun, weren't performing to their full potential. After traveling for thousands of kilometres to surf it's a bit disheartening to know that for whatever reason, you'd lucked out.
Despite this, we had a great time. What surprised me most was firstly the number of stoked surfers we met in the water who came from landlocked countries, who either only surfed once a year or who were complete novices, absolutely charging. The second surprise was how amazing the local people were: genuinely friendly, funny, hospitable and with freakish memories — after a few days you couldn't help but feel you were friends with everyone in town.
Even though we did manage to get some fun waves, at the end of the day I still think that on the surf front, we missed out. But as this trip proved to me, sometimes it's ok to get skunked.