Just married and Surfing Sri Lanka during lockdown

April 10, 2020 4 min read

Just married and Surfing Sri Lanka during lockdown

For most of us getting married and going on a (honeymoon) surf trip – sound like the most idyllic combo. Until Corona shook the world to a standstill and you face lockdown in a foreign country, away from friends and family. But for Emma Smith, the lockdown windows make the surf experience worth it!

Here’s a letter from her (being in lockdown) with surf hubby and a local family in Weligama.

Hi Ryd family!

I am currently in a lockdown in Sri Lanka. Like everywhere else, it happened really quickly. One minute we were surfing and the next we were told that we can’t leave home. All the shops have closed, and this bustling little coastal town has ground to a halt. When they say curfew here, they mean it, and other than our neighbour who shouts “Maaaio!” (fiiish!!!) at the top of his lungs every morning, you can’t buy a thing anywhere!

There are a lot of surf spots along the coast, but we have stuck to surfing mostly one place. It’s a right reef break and more tide dependent but that at least helps with crowds. The window is roughly once a week (although we never know exactly when) allowing markets to open and the town once again heaves back into life for half a day or so. While the rest of the town’s population packs out the local markets, we’re first light in the water, whatever the tide or swell we are there! And with reef cuts to show for it too! This way, we usually get half an hour to ourselves and at least we’re always getting a little bit of swell on the days that curfew is lifted. Come 12pm and we begin the race back; picking up whatever supplies we can on the way home for the days of lockdown to follow.

Our yellow stained fingernails tell the story of our diet the past weeks, it’s curry and rice three times a day, seven days a week. But being able to connect with a local family here has made the whole experience so enjoyable and more than anything I am overwhelmed with what a privilege it’s been to share meals, chat and even perfect one or two local dishes. Safe to say we have nailed coconut milk dhal!

People always make the trip for me. This time has been tough for everyone. But for many of us, it’s an opportunity to re-evaluate and review our value systems: realising what we store and build up over years can disappear in an instant. But the relationships and community that we build into are an eternal currency that deserve far more time and energy than we usually are willing to devote to.

As a self-proclaimed energy bunny this season of being cooped up in a tiny hot room has been challenging to say the least, but I’m learning more and more to re-channel that energy into hopes and dreams that had previously taken a backseat. I still feel useless most days (lol) but I am also aware that as productive as some people are in this time, a lot of us are away from home, being caught off-guard when the lockdown was implemented. So, it’s also okay to be okay with not having too much to “show” or prove after this. (Or even if we come out a little chunkier!)

It’s been quite a crazy experience to be on honeymoon while most of the world shut down but it’s such a special time to just connect, have quality time and at least we’re together. Luckily, we are both surf frothers so we’re wide awake at 4am on the days curfew is lifted to make sure we are getting in as much surfing as possible! We chose Sri Lanka as we love the people and culture and mostly so we could have a good surf trip, but now it’s more of a honeymoon trip because we’re not exactly surfing so much, haha.

I’ve also realized how grateful I am for surfing and the lifestyle and community it has created. I would not be the person I am today without it. It has changed the way I live my life! Surfing brings so many different people together, even when we’re all out in the line-up bobbing like penguins, we have no idea what someone’s status or story is. I love that it’s such a unifying sport and a lifestyle that anyone can have. It’s not limited to whether you can stand on a board or land the perfect air. It’s the stoke and togetherness that counts.

Finally, if you’re like me and you’re feeling like your surf tank is running on fumes right now, check out Cyle Myers’s list of free surf doccies, they should keep us all going till this eventually ends!

Stay safe and enjoy the time with your loved ones! Life will go back to normal (so fast) and we should cherish these quality times with them. That’s what life is truly about! The waves will be good again…


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We’re all about keeping the stoke alive during this time of limited surfing: sharing stories, fun ideas and training tips. Feel free to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more! Let’s RYD this out and may your health be good wherever you are.

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