The Epic Downwinder, Sri Lanka

145km of flat water, waves, lagoons, secret camping, elephant spotting and not a soul in sight.


The She Flies team popped to Sri Lanka this May for a quick visit - it turned into 3 months. You have been warned.


As soon as we arrived, the welcome was warm and the country was mesmerising, so we got to it straight away and organised our first event, Kitesurfing in a Saree. The attendance and stoke for the day was incredible, the She Flies stamp was well and truly established and the community of female kiters in this spot was bubbling with excitement. We knew immediately that we needed to do more than the one planned She Flies Progression Kite Trip 2020.

Now, most people think of the famous 'Kalpitya' when talking of Sri Lankan Kitesurfing but those of us who have been know there are some hidden gems if you put some effort in: Vela, Kapalady and Dream Spot to name a few. In fact, this super helpful guide written by Grace at Extreme Nomads give you a great insight into what's on offer.


But at She Flies, our aim is to get women doing adventures they never knew they could do, and we knew Sri Lanka had more, even more, to offer….

145km of flat water, waves, lagoons, secret camping, elephant spotting and not a soul in sight.

Our pals started talking of a downwinder, it had been done before, but not this year, and this wasn't just a little downwinder, this was a true adventure. One that was longer, more adventurous and more exciting than any they'd heard of in the world. 145km in fact, 145km of flat water, waves, lagoons, secret camping, elephant spotting and not a soul in sight. We were listening.


Not the kind of girls to hang around; we got on board and a few weeks later, some long negotiations with the right contacts and some big senior officers in the Sri Lankan Navy, our partners and friends were ready to take us for a trial run.


This article is to tell you how it went and to let you into a secret, we are formally hosting it as our Adventure Edition Kite Trip next year.

"Our girls work together, looking challenge in the eye and giving it a wink"

Have you ever felt pride so strong that your cheeks ache from concealing your smug smile for days on end? Get ready for that. It's a challenge, of course, but if you're a comfortable independent rider, you can do it - trust us. She Flies is all about getting women to step out of their progression plateau and do something that they'll never forget, to lead others by strong example and share the stoke for women in extreme sports.


Join us and spend the rest of your days telling you friends how awesome you are.


Day 0: The all important briefing.


Our pal Keira set us down, got his maps out and put on his serious face. This is a challenge, he reminded us. He talked of the importance to follow the safety guidance, to understand the route, to consider each other and to be aware of the group as a whole. Well, he's a professional, of course!

"This is more than just a downwinder, it is an unbelievable cultural experience."

As he started drawing the route over the laminated maps, his serious face started to lag. His excitement and memories of last years trip came back to him and his smile was hard to hide. This is more than just a downwinder, it is an unbelievable cultural experience. Yes, this is a challenge, indeed, but it was one of the best challenges he's ever done. "You are going to love it" he ended with.


Whatever nerves were floating around during the briefing got lost as we all started catching each others eye, our smiles were infectious. The morning couldn't come soon enough.


Day 1: On the hunt for Elephants.


Having spent the week training; fitness, downwind practice and talks, we were ready bright and early and feeling strong. The boats were waiting for us as we arrived, piled into our true Sri Lankan flat back truck, we unloaded our equipment and did the final checks that we had it all.

One of the girls riding yelled out "oh my god you girls are incredible"

We arrived and set up our kit at our starting island - one of the aforementioned kite spots - as we started our team warm up, word got out of the mission we were about to start. The whoops and yells came from the water, wishes of good luck. One of the girls riding yelled out "oh my god you girls are incredible" - the pride began before we'd started, we just wished it wasn't too late to persuade this girl to come with us!


The first half of day 1 is crossing the National Park. It's a rough ride, possibly the hardest of the journey, it's a choppy terrain and the wind direction means there are elements that you can't change tack. The training we did prior helped to avoid any cramps and we were switching to and from heel to toe side to ease any over worked muscles.

...we may as well have been singing some version of The Circle Of Life as we glided through...

But the views….. Oh my. It's a National Park, you know the safaris you pay for and you drive in a jeep on well trodden tracks? This is the same place, but from the ocean. Untouched. There are no jeeps, there are no tracks, there are no people. Deep red cliffs, lush rainforest, countless eagles souring above our kites - we may as well have been singing some version of The Circle Of Life as we glided through (Note to self: There are no Lions in Sri Lanka).



Lunchtime came soon and we stopped off in a small fishing village within the park. The villagers greeted us with smiles, surprised eyes and open arms, all shyly interested in us and our kites, we set them safely back from the shoreline and were welcomed into our friends arranged home for our picnic. A beautiful spot under a purple flowering canopy providing shade for our tired bodies. It couldn't have been more relaxed.

...this small village is known for spotting Elephants...

Being a National Park, this small village is known for spotting Elephants at night so we kept our ears to the ground in case one made it a day trip. Sadly, no luck this time.

A relaxed lunch and a welcomed rest we were all set for the afternoon. Keira gave his second briefing of the day and our kites were up before we knew it.

This afternoon took us the towards our camp site, outside of the National Park where we would meet the support truck again. The route there was open ocean so we were expecting a rough ride. It was nothing of the sort.


The direction of the wind and the conditions of the swell bought long