Many people say that Kalpitiya in Sri Lanka is one of the best kitesurfing spots in the world.
ON THE WATER
Thanks to its huge lagoons, epic downwinders and two reliable windy seasons, Kalpitiya has steadily increased in popularity, developing a strong reputation among kiters world wide. Flat water’s the key attraction around Kalpitiya, but now that there’s a beach hut with rental gear and a safety boat, Donkey Point has become far more accessible – offering onshore wave riding across the sandbar. Kitesurfing Lanka provide free safety boat cover at Donkey Point.
Kalpitya Lagoon, otherwise known as ‘Big Lagoon’ is just outside Kalpitiya town and is the most popular kite spot in the area. Working best in the dry season between November and early April, the northeasterly trade winds blow through and that time of year is very popular with beginners and freestylers alike. The hairdryer-like winds turn the warm, chest-deep lagoon into a natural cable park!
Flat water steeze
Kappaladay Lagoon is close by and is a bit smaller, but turns on in the southwesterly winds that blow from May until early October. Both lagoons are enclosed and protected from the open ocean and there are rescue boats operating (not that you should need them because the wind isn’t offshore). The lagoons are free of rocks / obstacles and, although there can be the occasional sharp shell lurking in the shallows, most people don’t bother with wetsuit boots.
Experienced riders should consider a trip up to Vella Island to camp overnight on an uninhabited island before riding downwind, all the way back to Kalpitiya through crowd-free lagoons. Vella is only reachable by 4×4 and then boat, but Kitesurfing Lanka run regular trips to Vella and also organise twice weekly overnight camping trips during the summer. It’s a really unique experience with phosphorescence glowing in the water at night and a true feeling of disconnectedness from normal life.
Kitesurfing Lanka also organise a weekly crew downwinder to Puttalam lagoon during the summer season and, for the really adventurous, they offer a 200 kilometre downwind trip from Mannar back to Kalpitiya with an overnight stay in the Wilipatu National Park. You’ll be accompanied by a safety boat with food, water and spare gear if you need to change kites along the way.
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER
The summer time tidal range is really small and, with 90%+ days over 20 knots, the conditions work perfectly all day long, so you’ll be blessed with lots of regular session time! There are two annual seasons: the summer runs from May until October and is the strongest of the two, with breezes of 25 knots or more five or six days a week. The winter season begins in mid-December and finishes in early April.
The winter season is less reliable and lighter, but if you have a 12 metre kite then you can still get plenty of sessions on the water. If it’s really light then there’s also the option of foiling on the open water or potentially in the lagoons with a short mast.
Weather-wise, Kalpitiya is extremely humid with air temperatures averaging 30°C / 86°F and water temperatures of 26°C / 79°F throughout the year. The sun is very strong in this part of the world, so make sure your skin is protected.
OFF THE WATER
Kitesurfing Lanka also run a weekly beach party out front of the camp with DJs or live music and, although there are no bars or nightclubs around Kalpitiya, there’s still a good social scene at KSL with BBQs and gatherings. Kitesurfing Lanka have lodgings to suit all tastes and wallets with beachside bungalows, deluxe tents, a family-sized four room villa apartment and even a catamaran!
A good alternative is the Red Coral Resort which sits on the south tip of Kalpitiya lagoon and is just a stone’s throw away from the never-ending palm-tree line of the majestic Indian ocean beach. For non-kiters, the resort will fit the bill: read a book, snooze on cozy couches, play board games in the shade or enjoy a drink out on the verandah. Also, the chef is ready to cook a meal for you at any time!
Also check out the other guest lodges, like KiteWorldWide’s, which has a beautiful terrace overlooking the lagoon.
The food in the camps is fantastic, with well-crafted local dishes and plenty more international options. You’ll find some good local joints in town too, but be warned: Sri Lankan people like their food spicy! There are very few self-catering properties, so you probably won’t do any cooking yourself, but there are some shops in town as well as an ATM and pharmacy.
If it’s not windy during your stay then there’s SUP / kayak rental in Kalpitiya itself and you can surf or surf foil over at Donkey Point. There’s even better surf elsewhere in Sri Lanka, which is fast becoming a really popular country for the sport, so if you’re going to be around for a while and want to travel then check out some of the many surf camps and schools that operate in the country.
You can also visit the nearby lost city of Anuradhapura, which is a UNESCO heritage site, or you can go whale and dolphin watching. At the Willpatu National Park (midway point on KSL’s marathon downwinder from Vella to Kalpitiya) you can see elephants, leopards and other endangered wildlife in their natural habitat.
GREAT FOR: A very laid back cultural experience with large expanses of warm, flat water
Kalpitiya is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Colombo (CMB) airport. Transfers can be organised by your school or tour operator at around €55 for the vehicle.
Kalpitiya is in the North-West of Sri Lanka, with lots of small sand islands formed by sandbars and protected by the reef, flat water lagoons perfect for kitesurfing. It is perfect for downwinds and camping on the islands.
The wind in Kalpitiya is super constant with an average of 20-30 knots.
The best windy months for kitesurfing are between May and September.
From December to March there is usually wind in the afternoon with thermal with winds of 15 to 20 knots and it is a good time to see dolphins.
The water and air temperature is between 26 and 28 degrees, ideal for sailing in a swimsuit without neoprene.
There are many spots in a few kilometers, and it is perfect for downwinds from one spot to another.
KITESURFING SPOTS IN KALPITIYA – SRI LANKA:
The Kalpitiya lagoon is a perfect spot for people who are begginers and freestyle.
It is very close to the kitesurfinglanka school where they have a rescue boat, kite lessons and you can also rent kitesurfing equipment.
VELLA ISLAND – KSL HIDEAWAY
One of the best places in the world for kitesurfing.
You have to go by boat from Kalpitiya through a wonderful landscape. A small sandbar island in which a downwind is made through fishing villages.
Donkey spot is just 300m from the kitesurfinglanka school, it is a wave and flat water spot.
The wind is very stable and constant.
PUTTALAM LAGOON – THE BIG KAHUNA
It is a huge lagoon, 30km long and 15km wide, with flat water ideal for downwinds or sailing around small islands and sandbars.
A downwind can be done exploring the area and ending near Kalpitiya.
Dream spot is about 15 minutes by boat from the Kalpitiya lagoon.
It is a spot where there is a sand barrier separating a wave spot in the Indian Ocean with a flat water lagoon.
This spot is located in front of the Elements Hotel.
It is a small flat water lagoon that is not connected to the sea so it is very safe and only 15 kiters fill at the same time.