Main Point Arugam Bay, The Complete Surf Spot Guide

Wondering whether Main Point Arugam Bay lives up to the stories, pictures, and Instagram reels? If the swell is consistent, when to visit, and what surfboard to bring? Welcome to our guide to Main Point Arugam Bay, with everything you need to know about Sri Lanka’s most famous surf spot.

Arugam Bay, the land of peeling right-hand point breaks, big carvable faces, and some beautiful barrels when the swell is pumping. Main Point is the wave that put this town on the map. The wave where those epic photos are snapped. Where surfers gloat about those 400-meter rides. And where goofy’s like me learned to fall in love with right-handers.

I enjoyed this wave so much that I spent all day every day in the water when I visited. There was no need for anything else. Just those fun drop-ins into that fast first section, endless turns around the headland, and a cruisy ride all the way to shore. After every wave, I just hopped out of the water and walked back up the beach to the peak to repeat it all over again and again until it was time to grab a beer. Chilling and chatting with the same familiar faces we’d just been surfing with.

Main Point, it’s such a vibe.

A man surfing a wave at Main Point Arugam Bay with a boat in the background

Why visit Main Point Arugam Bay

Every year more and more surfers come to enjoy Sri Lanka’s warm tropical waters and fun mellow rides. There are so many awesome waves to explore around the island, but if there’s one wave that’s a must-surf in Sri Lanka, Main Point would get the crown. Here’s why you have to visit Main Point.

World-class waves

Main Point is the longest and most powerful wave in Arugam Bay. This beautiful point break can throw double overheads, the occasional barrel, and 600-meter rides on its best days. There’s not another wave like it in Sri Lanka.

Ultimate convenience

Being right on Arugam Bay Beach, Main Point is only a 5-minute walk from most hotels, restaurants, bars, and surf shops. No need for Tuk Tuks, early morning commutes, or fumbling around with car keys, this is the kind of spot where you just pick up your board and go. 

When you get to the beach, you can almost walk out to the peak across the reef. There’s no stress, it doesn’t get any easier. 

Post surf vibes

Main Point isn’t just about the waves. It’s about the laughs, the chats, and that unbeatable post-surf vibes. Hang around after a session, and you’ll see what I mean. Everyone’s just chilling, grabbing a few beers, watching the sunset, and creating that good vibe energy. 

Main Point Surf Spot Guide

The wave

Like all waves on the East Coast, Main Point is a long right-hand point break that offers beautiful 200-500 meter rides. It’s the most powerful break in the area and typically throws 4-10ft waves that can barrel when the swell really hits. Even on the smallest days, Main Point is the only break in the area that works, so if you hit a dry patch, this is the spot to head to.

  • Wave type: Point Break
  • Wave direction: Right
  • Takeoff: Moderate
  • Rides: 200 – 500 meters
  • Level: Advanced / Intermediates
  • Paddle out: Easy
  • Tides: Any
  • Risk: Low / Medium – very crowded and the reef can get shallow

Main Point is an intermediate and advanced spot only. The take-off is moderately steep and it breaks over a waist to chest-deep mixed sand and reef bottom. The risks are low and you’re unlikely to hit the reef unless you get caught too far on the inside.

The wave has 2 to 3 distinct sections. The first is a fast wall section where you need some speed to make it through. The second is a more crumbly section around the headland that continues all the way to the third section, Baby Point, a very mellow beginner’s spot. 

What’s great about Main Point is you can find a place on the wave whatever your level. If the peak is too steep, move a little around the headland to where it starts to crumble. If you’ve never surfed before, chill at Baby Point until you start feeling confident on green waves.

Because of the length of the wave, there are 3 spots to get in and paddle out:

  1. Baby Point – get in the sandy patch near Mambos and paddle to the small break – it’s a long long paddle to the peak.
  2. Upali Resort – walk across the reef outside Upali Resort where the wave has lost its power and paddle around the outside, the reef is slippy, but it’s not sharp. This is the best place to get in.
  3. Main Point – if you want the shortest route, walk past the resort and walk across the reef in front of the peak. The currents are stronger here so be careful with your footing.

You’ll find some recommendations and advice online to wear reef boots. This isn’t needed, the reef is soft and not that slippy. We recommend braving it.

The lineup

Most of the surfers at Main Point are advanced or immediate. But this is by far and away the busiest spot near Arugam Bay, so you often have to share this wave with 50+ people most of the time. The crowds tend to mean the vibe isn’t the best, people are very competitive and you should expect quite a bit of snaking and a few drop-ins.

This, unfortunately, is the price you have to pay to hit the best wave in Sri Lanka. If you want to find a quieter spot we suggest exploring Peanut Farm or Lighthouse Beach. Two awesome spots on the East Coast that have a much more relaxed and friendly vibe.

When to visit

The best time to surf Main Point is between April and October, during the dry season when the Southwest monsoon brings consistent swells to the East Coast of Sri Lanka and nice offshore winds. 

The best months are typically July to September when the sands have moved back fully after the winter monsoons, creating waves with a better shape and a higher chance of scoring those long 500-meter rides. Occasionally you can get lucky in early June or October when there are much fewer people to share the wave with.

Main Point gets busy, so the best time of day to hit it is sunrise. Even if you’re the first person out, you’ll be joined by 10 others soon after.

The weather also follows the earlier the better. In the morning the winds are generally lighter with much cleaner conditions and Main Point is relatively exposed so it tends to blow out around 11am-12pm. The winds die down in the afternoon giving another chance to surf from 4pm all the way to sunet.

Board type

Shortboards are typically best to hit Main Point and longboards are great if you sit a little on the inside.

Board rental

Being within walking distance of Arugam Bay, there are plenty of places to rent boards near Main Point. The best option is to find a board you like from one of the many surf shops on the main street, rental is typically $2-3 a day.  If you want a convenient quick session, you can grab a foamie or epoxy directly on the beach from Mambos or Upali Resort for $3-5 a session.

Beginners and lessons

Main Point is definitely not a wave for beginners. But if you want a session or lesson within walking distance of the town then you should try Baby Point. This part of the wave has lost most of its power as it gets further inside the bay. We also recommend Elephant Rock or Peanut Farm Beach which are two great beginner spots nearby.

The cheapest and best option is to organise a private or group lesson from one of the many surf shops in town, you can typically get them for under $10. The best way to find someone is to walk around a few shops and see who you vibe with. If you’re already at Baby Point, you can organise a private lesson for $15 for 1-2 hours on the beach near Mambos, we do suggest planning ahead though.

Where is Main Point

Main Point is located towards the southern end of Arugam Bay Beach at the top of the headland past Mambos and the other beach bars. It’s a walkable distance from anywhere within the town. Just walk south on the main road or beach and around the headland then you can’t miss it. There will be lots of surfers in the water or chilling on the beach nearby.

Where to stay near Main Point Arugam Bay

With Main Point being located right in town, there are endless options to choose from, some really suspect places too. It’s tempting to pick one of the hotels on the beach close to the break, but this is also where there parties happen, so the dreams of early nights and dawn patrol might be a little disrupted. We spent 6 weeks moving around and trying some places out, here are our top 3 to help you out.

Surf Gangs – Best all-rounder

Surf Gangs is without a doubt our favourite place to stay in Arugam Bay for digital nomads. This is a relatively new property built by Tom, a super down-to-earth guy from New York, who has put so much care and attention into the quality of the rooms and the vibe he’s creating.

We spent 3 weeks here in total and just kept extending, nowhere else came close. For $40-50 a night you can get a giant balcony room 30 seconds from the beach with a stunning garden and a pool. It’s the small things that made this place so amazing though, the aircon worked perfectly and they had a fan, the showers had warm water with actual water pressure, the rooms and the sheets were cleaned daily and the internet actually worked. These may sound like basics, but if you spend some time in Sri Lanka you’ll get what we mean. 

In the end, Surf Gangs was such a comfortable place to work and enjoy Arugam Bay from there’s nowhere else we will choose to stay when we return.

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Two balconies and a palm tree of Surf Gangs Arugam Bay

Oasis Bay – Budget value

If you’re looking for a budget hotel with friendly staff and the best free breakfast, then Oasis Bay is a great option. At $25-30, it’s still not budget, but Arugam Bay does get expensive in the peak season, and nowhere apart from hostels will be really cheap. 

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The Spice Trail – Amazing quality

If you want more luxury and comfort then the Spice Trail is our top pick. This accommodation has amazing rooms looking out onto a super chilled pool area. If you’re looking for the best quality under $100 a night, Spice Trail is the place.

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The swimming pool at sunset at the Spice Trail in Arugam Bay

Things to know

Where to eat post-surf

If you’ve had one of those big 3/4 hours sessions and need a refuel, here are a few of our favourite places to eat nearby.

  • Salty Swamis – this is the coolest little beach spot, we suggest trying their French toast or pesto sandwiches, this place has the best bread in town and some of the best coffee too.
  • Emily’s – run by the nicest English couple, Emily’s has the best burgers in town and on Sundays, they do some amazing tacos.
  • Squeeze me – if you want a smoothie bowl this is the place to go, these guys carve out pineapples and coconuts to make one of the most stunning bowls around.
  • East Falafel – falafel pitas, shakshuka, and shawarmas from a native Israeli, what more could you want? Don’t forget to ask for their spicy sauce.
  • Shady Lane – the best avocado toast in town served in one of the coolest jungle chillout spots.
  • Mama’s – all-you-can-eat Sri Lankan curry for $2, it doesn’t get much better.

Read more: 8 Best Restaurants in Arugam Bay + 1 Hidden Gem

What to bring 

This spot is so convenient you don’t really need to bring anything apart from your board and some zinc. If you plan on staying the day you can leave a bag under the palm trees on the beach, it’s unlikely anyone will steal anything.

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