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“Awesome way to see a beautiful country” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Shaka Sign Surf Camps - CLOSED

Shaka Sign Surf Camps
Goviyapana Junction, Ahangama 10400, Sri Lanka
+94112625325
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Owner description: Shaka Sign Surf is the one stop shop for surfing and beach holidays here in Sri Lanka. We provide you with attractive surf training packages (Dry&Wet Program), Surf Explore for intermediates and budget packages for surfing backpackers. Beach holiday packages customized to meet your expectations, Yala Safari tours as well as other excursions including cultural and heritage tours are managed alongside the surfing in Sri Lanka while still in par with affordability.
Singapore
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Awesome way to see a beautiful country”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

I just went for a quick 3-day holiday and had an amazing time. I arrived at midnight on a Friday, which meant that I wouldn't get to the inn until 2am and the driver was prompt and had everything arranged for me.

The beach was lovely and I was able to stand on the surf board quite a few times in just some short lessons on the long board.

A tour through Matara, looking at temples, the Sunday market and a snake farm (which wasn't really a farm-- more like one guy's collection of big and venomous snakes in his garage), was really nice. Nothing was too touristy and everything felt very chill and fun-- it was almost like being taken around by some local friends.

The only things I didn't like as much were:
- too many places required our shoes off and Priyal had suggested that we walk barefooted to a temple, which (unknown to me) was across a metal bridge that was blazing hot from the afternoon sun. Little did I know that I was in for what felt like a walk across hot coals.
- our rickshaw kept stalling (at least 5 times within a few hours)
- and overall, there were just too many mosquitos in/near the inn, despite mosquito nets and insect repellant.

All in all, an excellent long weekend and a very efficient, cost-effective tour company!

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Akhila G, Public Relations Manager at Shaka Sign Surf Camps, responded to this review, April 24, 2013
Ayubowan!

It was a treat having you with us! Thank you for a great review and we hope that you will be back soon to experience the thrill of surfing in South Sri Lanka again. We will take the positives out of your reviews and look forward to improving on the negatives.

Warmest Regards,

Akhila Goonetilleke
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

35 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    24
    8
    1
    2
    0
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Hong Kong, China
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Offering doesn't matches expecations - it not a surf 'camp' at all”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013

Let's start with the good things: Airport transfer works excellent - even at 2am in the night a guy was waiting there with a name card an brung me directly to the place. Priyal who runs the place is easy going and totally relaxed - he has a broad variety of long boards and his tuck-tuck pick ups were pretty punctual (although some regualar breackdowns happend the week before). Wifi works well. Ryan, a very nice surfing professional who volunteers there, is very patient and really knows what he's talking about - he has always helpful tips. It's a pitty that he leaves soon. Without him I'd have left this place after a couple of hours but now stayed two nights to benefit from his broad experiance.


When you arrive at this remotly place which they call retreat you realize that it has a different name on their walls - it's impossible to find by yourself. The house with its four rooms that Priyal rents from this guy has nothing to do with a surf camp. Although there are some surfboards and some broken ones nothing else reminds you of a camp. No community, no pictures, posters, displays or an area, where you can hang out and comfortable chat with others. You will hardly feel the surfing spirit as Priyal mostly just picks you up/drops you off and then disappears for the remindar of the day. That's not really convenient as this place is just off the track. There are no tools to change your fin or stuff like that.

Every guest gets a different price for their package. They charge USD 20 for the room up to USD 100/day for surfing lessons and pick up/drop offs if you organize it via email. Compared to some other schools its just way off what they offer for that price. The rooms are very basic - don't have A/C or warm water - that's fine but if you look around at better locations nearby you'll pay half of it. If you walk around Mirissa beach or Weligama you'll find plenty of rental places where you can take some lessons. A full day surf rental directly at the beach costs you then USD 10-12 and with some lessons you'll pay USD 20.

As they dont offer much between morning surfing at 7.30am/8.30am and afternoon lessons at 3.30pm you'd better bring some good books or a map to get to yourself by local bus for USD 20 cents to the beautiful beaches.

My personal opinion: Priyal is more into money making than surfing - I've hardly saw him catching a wave - not sure how experianced he really is. Don't think that this concept will last long...
The best thing about this place is its webpage...

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Akhila G, Public Relations Manager at Shaka Sign Surf Camps, responded to this review, April 19, 2013
Hello Nic,

Thank you for your Review on Tripadvisor.

We are very sorry for the bad experience that you had to go through with us during your stay.
After Getting an almost 26 xxcellent and very good reviews (out of 28!) it was indeed a shock to receive a review like this.
But we sincerely apologies for the inconvenience caused to you during your stay and we will make sure the issues will be fixed as soon as possible.
In the mean time let me explain about some of the issues you have raised and the reasons.

Name - The Name printed on the wall of The Retreat is Royal Surf Resort, which is the name under which the property is registered. We do not find this necessarily a problem as we only have reservation guests for whom we arrange transportation from the airport, meaning we do not take walk ins. However, we will be taking a full renovation to the house including a new painting for the outside walls.

Also I must point it out that The Retreat is only an outside hotel (which is not owned by Shaka Sign Surf), and our business model is such that we work with many hotels in Madiha, Mirissa, Unawatuna etc which we select according to our client's needs and budgets.

Surf boards - Of course there are some broken surf boards as in any surf camp around the world, but we pride ourselves in being one of the only surf camps in Sri Lanka to have a variety of surf boards for beginners, intermediates, and advanced, including an Infinity Noserider, and 4 Stand Up Paddles.

I will accept that fact that the house does not have many posters or a feeling of surfing community. As the name Retreat suggests, it is meant to be a place where you can wake up to the sound of squirrels in the morning, grab your surf board and paddle out in the wonderful reef break in front, and get back for a huge breakfast made by the housekeeper Gallage.

We encourage our visitors to leave their surf-mark in the house, as done by Harmut Warse, in the form of a huge surf wall painting in the living room.

Surf tools - There is a wide variety of alenkeys to remove the finds, wax bars, rash guards, etc available in the surf board room, and we can make these available to you on request. May be you though that we do not have them because it is in the staff-only room.

Package price - Everyone gets a different price for their package, depending on the number of surf sessions booked, and any other additional tour such as whale watching and yala wild life tours. In fact the previous reviewers have rated our ability to offer the best available prices in Sri Lanka for surf lessons, board rental, hotel booking, and for a range of other services that we provide.

All in all, it is sad that you have misunderstood our staff and operation and rated us poor, even after they offered a very good discount to you on departure and of course some free surfing sessions.

Thank you,

- Shaka Sign Surf -
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Portland, Oregon
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great and organized overall experience- worth a return trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

This is a GREAT little travel/vacation company that went beyond just surfing. I wanted some scuba and they got me some scuba. I needed transportation to/from the airport to my hotel, one trip at a crazy hour at 10:30pm on Sunday from the airport (it's 2 hour drive w/no traffic), and they got me transportation. Amila did all the logistics and has all the contacts you need for whatever vacation you want in the Mirissa area. Amila worked with me to get the complete package I wanted (place to stay + activities), she was organized, and she was very prompt at answering my questions.

As for the scuba and surfing, they were both great. Indika (scuba) is a very good scuba leader and knows where to go to see lots of fish, schools and what not as well as variety. It's not coral reefs, but boulder beds, different and neat environment without scuba crowds (helps that the water is warm). I saw octopus, different types of moray eels, variety of fish including schools of blue fish swimming around in different patterns. Priyal (surfing) is patient and attentive to all my needs, surfing and beyond (I stole this sentence from another review but it's accurate). If you want to get better at surfing quicker, its always helpful to always have someone watch each wave you try and catch and give you a tip on what you missed or could do better, which is what Priyal exactly did.

Finally the Mirissa beach area is beautiful. Clean beach, clean water, not very commercialized, not big crowds. So if you visit Mirissa, cherish it, and don't do something stupid like litter (ie, don't pollute and properly throw away your garbage/waste)!! If you see garbage, pick it up (I actually picked up two beer cans off the bottom of the ocean when I went snorkeling one day)!!

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Super organization! Great experience!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

Priyal was absolutely amazing. Very professional and attentive to all our needs. He adjusted the schedule to fit exactly our needs and was very accommodating with anything extra we required. If anyone were to go to Sri Lanka looking for some surfing lessons I would advise to go through these guys.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lucerne, Switzerland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Learn to surf in Sri Lanka”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

Pryal and his patience for ten was amazing. These guys have my full respect. We spend a great time and their hospitality is sheer infinite. Should you ever be there, do not miss to contact Shaka Sign Surf.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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