Conditions & Breaks

The little stretch of coastline we’re based near to is pretty straight so for waves to not just dump on the shore we’re looking for anything that will give some shape to the swells, jetties, river mouths, rocks, sand banks.

Kerala Surf Season

Smaller Swell Season

The peak tourist season, and driest, sunniest months, of December, January & February coincide with the small swell season here which is fine for beginners learning to surf, yet even then it’s still knee to waist high most days with one or two bigger swells a month that will give us some head-high waves. Fingers crossed.

Bigger Swell Season

The waves are generally bigger and there’s more of them in Oct/Nov and Mar/Apr/May but there’s more chance of storms and rain in these months. It won’t be flat at these times of year but there may be a swells coming from different directions confusing the breaks a little. That said we have our best surfs in these months and some of our local breaks can become classic. Double-overhead is the best we’ve seen it, and that’s good enough for us!

Kerala Surf Breaks

We began our explorations here armed with wishful thinking, google earth and a scooter. Varkala had always been painted as just a close-out beach break that wasn’t worth bothering about. Well Varkala main beach often does close out, but that doesn’t matter for learners and with just a little bit of adventure in our veins and the wind in our hair we began to explore…. To be honest when we decided to set up our Surf retreat here we were winging it and had only discovered a couple of better breaks than the main beach. But it was enough for us to know that with more time and a bit of luck we’d find many more…. And we did. Here’s our knowledge so far, but it’s a work in progress and we’ll be adding to it as we go…

Local Kerala Breaks — North to South
River Temple A sluice gate empties the backwaters into the Arabian sea at this river-mouth. When the flow isn’t too strong the sand-bar creates a beautiful A-frame which gives us some much needed rights and some fast lefts that reels and races down the line. Be careful of the fast flowing outflows and rocks on the inside. Late season the sand builds up and makes this a great all-levels surf  spot. We’re keeping an eye on another A-frame peak a little further south from here. We’ve not surfed it properly yet but it creates some size and could be good on the right day.
Kappil Mouth It’s rare as a hen’s tooth to find the southern end of Kappil lake open, but just south of Kappil bridge the lagoon there sometimes breaches the sand. If it does, it looks like it could be party time down there. Never been surfed on a proper swell but we’ve driven past and seen spitting barrels on more than one occasion here, but were frothing to reach Jay Bay or Ed’s and didn’t stop to surf.
Ed’s   Cringingly named after my-self and a navel gazing blog-post I wrote upon discovering this little rocky point break. However, blushes aside, this is a local classic. When the sand is right and the swell direction is direct south this little beauty is a ripper. It’s fast, it barrels on take-off and it’s a super-fun race down the line before depositing you in ankle deep water. Watch out for the fishing boats coming in and going out all morning and the rock and these days the crowds. Oh, and I don’t know who, but some idiot stuck a rock right in the take-off zone. Great tea and doughnut shop on the beach.
Black Beach This beach-break at the northern end of Varkala cliff seems to work pretty well in the early season before the sand disappears up coast. Fun & peaky up until December.
Varkala Point There’s an infamous Youtube clip showing a beautiful looking wave at the foot of the cliffs. To be honest I’ve never seen it break myself, but if you wait until just before the monsoon and the sand is right and the swell is big then you might get lucky. Just watch out for the rocks all the way down the line.
Varkala Beach This is where all the tourists in the area sit and sun themselves, and where you can rent some knackered old boards from the umbrella men. It can be good fun to surf here and it certainly picks up the swell and if the banks align it can be really good fun here. In the peak season from December to March we’ll be running a safe, professional Surf School on the beach here for beginners.
In-Betweeners In front of the rocks between Varkala beach and Temple beach the banks sometimes line-up to produce more than just close-outs. My first winter here I got a month of great, fast lefts here. Fickle f**ker though.
Temple Beach (Papanasam) I always overlooked this spot, where the swamis sit and pilgrims do puja. But we drive past it regularly so finally, one day last November the stars aligned, the banks sat up and the swell angle contrived to give us a month or more of consistent, fun, walled up lefts. Who’d have thunk eh?
Golden Beach The beach break at the bottom of our steps. It’s never really a classic, but keep an eye on it. If the sand banks and swell angle get it together you can get some really fun rides here and it’s literally a stone’s throw from our gardens.
Shirleys Named after the small temple at the top of the hill here, Shirley’s is a good bet if it’s small. There’s a series of small boulder jetties and one of them usually produces a workable bank to groom the swells. Such a beautiful location too with the red cliffs, palms and hilltop mosque
The Ali Surfing so much at Shirley’s we often get caught out by the ‘greener-grass’ syndrome – looking up or down the beach thinking the waves look better over there. Well one time Varghese put his money where his mouth was and paddled down the beach from Shirleys and for once the grass was actually greener. For a month last November a perfect bank formed, an A-Frame appeared and we had a right old time of it… then it was gone.
Jengos A couple of weeks after we first opened our doors a swell appeared on the charts. I’d marked a large jetty on google earth as a potential and our guests were game. When we breached the large sand dune the sight of big, long, walling, point-break style waves reeling down from the head of the jetty proved the gamble to have paid off. When it’s on here, boy is it on. It seems to work either early season or late season when’s there’s plenty of sand about, so we didn’t see a breaking wave there from mid December until the end of March last season. But good things come to those who wait. Don’t they?
Moustachios It was right under our nose. That’s why Jay named it that, we like it. It’s a river mouth just outside Trivandrum. It’s not always open, but when there’s a flow it’s such a fun wave. It’s a bit rippy, shore-dumpy at the end, stinky on a dropping tide, no good for beginners but it’s really worth a trip when it’s on.
Kovalam The only place in the region where you’ll encounter a crowd. Many people think Kovalam ‘IS’ Indian surfing so they don’t travel elsewhere. It’s worth a visit for the variety; the right off Lighthouse rocks, the artificial reef on one of the rare days that it breaks, Hawa beach if the swell angle changes but otherwise we tend to leave the crowds to themselves and surf our own spots.
Secret Spot It’s been on the cover of Surfer magazine, any pros in India surf it, it’s been named and shamed in surf press all over, but we promised the locals we wouldn’t name it. So we haven’t. If we told you, we’d have to kill you. In fact I don’t even know where it is or what you’re on about.


Guest Reviews

I am back in Dubai in the same old life which is not so bad but still feel like going back to Varkala right now!!!! I had amazing time and I would like to Thank you for everything!!!! I’ve never been in such a place where I would feel so comfortable right away and enjoyed […]

Alena, Dubai