Mannar Island Kitesurfing
Mannar is a secluded island steeped in a long history dating all the way back to Sri Lanka's mythical beginnings. Legend has it that Adam's bridge, at the edge of Mannar island, was created when the Hindu god, Rama, came across from India in search of his wife Sita. Only remnants of that mythical bridge remain today, and our favourite way to catch a glimpse of it is by lifting off on a kite! Mannar island with its consistent winds is great for both beginner and advanced kitesurfers, so come here to experience the ways of the kite, and enjoy the seclusion of this mystical corner of Sri Lanka.
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You can get to Mannar Island from Colombo either by car, or by train followed by tuk tuk.
🚗 From Colombo, the best way to get to Mannar island is to take a private car. It will take 5.5 hours to get to Mannar Island from Colombo by car. You can book one of our drivers for around US$50-55 each way here.
🚂 If you're taking a train from Colombo, take the train to Madhu Road railway station. From Madhu Road railway station, you would need to get a tuk tuk or taxi for the remaining 50 kilometers or so to Mannar island. This might cost you almost US$50 as there are not too many taxis to choose from in that area. The train will take approximately 3.5 hours, and the connecting tuk tuk will take approximately 1 hour.
If you are learning kitesurfing for the first time, or wanting to upskill, you will want to go with an instructor who can show you the ropes.
If you are already a pro, you can hit the waves on your own. Instructors are also there for kiters that may feel a little rusty and need a refresher.
In order to kitesurf, you should be in moderately good shape (i.e. able to walk for a few hours at a time) and be a good swimmer. Although the waters in the lagoon are not deep, you should be comfortable in the water as you will be trying lots of new and slightly uncomfortable things.
Like in Kalpitiya, there are two windy seasons for kitesurfing in Mannar: the summer months of May to October, and the winter months of mid-December to end-February. Though the winds blow strongly all-year long, the other months may not be as reliable.
Summer: The best season for kiting runs from May to October where the south-west winds are usually blowing around an average 20 knots.
Winter: You can catch the winter season from mid-December to end of February, with winds also in the 20-knot average but with a Northeast direction. Please note that suring this time, kiting the Northern side of the island is prohibited due to the migratory birds residing in the nearby sanctuary.
During both seasons, the wind tends to be lighter in the morning and grows stronger in the afternoon.
You only need a day to get a taste of kitesurfing, but if you would like to truly experience and start acquiring the skills, we would recommend at least a 3 day stay.
You will want to choose the option based on your kitesurfing level, and whether or not you would like accommodation to be included.
If you're a beginner Kitesurfer, you can pick any of the options other than the Advanced skills lesson. If you're already IKO certified Level 3 in kitesurfing, you can go for the Advanced skills lesson. If you need any lesson that's not listed here, please do let us know and we'll do our best to arrange it.
Sunscreen (zinc sunscreen is best for long water exposure!)
Light clothing to wear in the water (e.g. cotton t-shirt, sports shorts)
Mannar island is one of the best places in Sri Lanka for bird watching, with large resident and migratory bird populations in the area. Even if you're not a keen birder, the guides at Mannar will bring the birds alive for you with great stories about the endemic species that live around here. If you fancy a birding trip, Vayu would be happy to arrange one for you.
One of the most evocative sights at Mannar island is that of the baobab trees which are planted along the sea shore. The trees were an ancient gift from the Arab merchants, and make for an unusual sight in this part of the world. While wandering down the shoreline littered with baobabs, you might also catch a glimpse of Mannar island's wild donkeys.
If you're looking for a day trip, you may want to hop over to Jaffna, the northernmost city of Sri Lanka that has been isolated during the war years, and is now coming back to prominence. Here you can find Dutch forts, a great restaurant scene, as well as temples.
Another great day trip from Mannar island is Wilpattu National Park. It's one of Sri Lanka's lesser known national parks, and home to leopards, elephants and many other large animal species. You can take the road that cuts through the park, right down to the southern part of the park where you can find safari jeeps and take an afternoon safari.
You might be wondering about the references to the IKO certification that you'll achieve after the kitesurfing lessons. IKO is the world’s leading kiteboarding organization specializing in kiteboard education, promoting safe practices and enhancing the highest standards for the industry.
Here's a summary of the skills you'll achieve in each level of certification:
Intro to the wind and power with trainer kite
Guided set up and preparation of the kite
Safety system explanation and simulation
Kite flying exercises
Safety system and restarting
Launching and landing
Walking with the kite on the beach
Independent setup of the equipment
Body drag downwind
Power stroke exercises
Board recovery in deep water
Self rescue and pack down
Waterstart and riding
Right of way rules