As an oncoming swell starts to break, frothing like the jaws of a rabid dog, I begin frantically paddling towards shore. For one glorious moment the wave carries me along, until the nose of my longboard plunges beneath the water and I’m sent somersaulting head-first through the surf.
While soft-sand beaches and lowland jungles may be the first images that leap to mind when you imagine Sri Lanka, this tropical isle is endowed with a mountainous interior that is every bit as scenic as the coast, blessed by pleasantly cool temperatures that rarely tip 21ºC.
Many people rush through Colombo and make straight for the beaches, but linger and you'll find a city full of history, where stately British colonial buildings jostle for space with Sri Lankan dagobas (stupas), palm-shaded parks and Dutch colonial churches. Here are 10 great ways to explore this constantly evolving city for free.