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David Scard

Cheat Notes: Maldives

Ruler edge lines, luxurious accommodation and white sand beaches...These are just a few reasons to fill yourself with the sunny side of life, Maldives style!

The Maldives is an incredible archipelago with a veritable buffet of waves from North to South and East to West.
There are limitless options for surfers and their non-surfing partners or friends. Originally a destination for the ‘rich and famous’ the Maldives has become a lot more affordable and accessible in the last 5-10 years with charters boats, lux resorts and land camps all a terrific option for the annual surf trip with the boys, the girls, the family or by your lonesome.

Optimal Conditions

The best time for surfing in the Maldives is the Southern Hemisphere winter which lasts from March to October. During this period the roaring forties cause storms which bring large swells to the archipelago. Peak season is usually June, July & August but it isn’t uncommon to experience decent sized swells in the early and late season. Winds remain off-shore during this winter period and it is very rare to experience an on-shore day during this time. 

There are however exceptions to the rule with the huge variety of options the Maldives deliver throughout the year. For example, the Maldives is tempered by North-East and South-West monsoons. During the NE monsoon (Feb – Apr) the conditions are optimal for the Southern Outer Atolls, opening another world of surfing in the Maldives with Indo like reef breaks in very uncrowded areas of the island nation. From May to Oct, during the SW monsoon this area remains a viable option, but attention generally swings to the more Northern Atolls or the Central Atolls. The best way to experience these atolls is by charter boat however dedicated surf-resorts can also deliver an amazing surf experience and is perhaps more suited to couples and families who want something for the non-surfers to enjoy.

Waves, Set Ups by Region

Northern Atolls – The Northern Atolls are typically divided between the North & South Male Atoll, both offering a pretty good mix of lefts and rights, with some of the standout waves being Jails, Lohis, Honkeys, Sultans, Cokes, Riptides & Foxys. The Male Atolls are hardly ever flat and surf generally ranges from 2ft – 8ft throughout the SW monsoons. While the North Male Atolls have the highest concentration of waves, they also have a higher concentration of resorts, camps and charter boats to contest with…although rare, the uncrowded super session does still happen in these parts.

Central Atolls – Not as well-known or as frequented as the Northern Atolls but it is slowly increasing in popularity with surfers. It is made up of 4 atolls which all produce amazing quality waves where you can find something in most swell directions and wind.

Some of the stand-out spots include Inside and Outside Mikado, Ying Yangs, Refugees, Machine and Vodi point.

Far less traffic frequents the Central Atolls and with only a handful of surf charters who understand the reef, weather patterns and waves in this area you are in for a great uncrowded surf adventure. 

Outer/Southern Atolls – Few surf boats and resorts equal uncrowded line up after uncrowded line up. Of all the Maldives regions, the Outer Atolls is the most remote and resembles that of a Mentawai boat trip as you regularly pull up to empty line ups peeling down un-inhabited island point.

The Outer Atolls is made up of two distinct atolls called Huvadhoo and Addu Atolls. Huvadhoo is best known for waves like Beacons, Castaways, Tiger Stripes and Blue Bowls which are all absolute world class reef breaks that barrel down palm fringed islands. Addu Atoll is the furthest South atoll which picks up a lot of swell but is also left exposed to a variety of winds. Well known spots in Addu include Shangri-La’s, Approach Lights and Madihera.

The best way to surf the Outer Atolls is by surf charter and it is very unlikely you will ever share the line up with another boat with so many options to choose from.

Equipment recommended

It is very rare that you will need a bigger board or a gun in the Maldives. There are waves which pack a punch when its double overhead but because the swell travels over such a long & interrupted distance the waves are usually ruler edge and easier to paddle into. The reefs aren’t quite as steep as that in Indonesia which makes for easier take offs, rather than squared-out bottom dropping takeoffs from the sky.

The biggest board you should take is a step up (If you usually ride a 6’0’’ take a 6’3’’).

Take your standard performance board, the board you love to surf in more powerful waves and one that is responsive and manoeuvrable.

Your third board is often a choice between a back up performance board in case you damage one OR a fun board you would ride at home in small stuff. These boards regularly become your go to board if its 3ft or less. 

Other Experiences

The Maldives is an aquatic paradise for those who love anything to do with the ocean. It is stunningly beautiful with white sand beaches, crystal clear bath-like water, an abundance of beautiful marine life and waves that will blow your mind.

When you aren’t surfing, you can sit back with a beer or cocktail in hand and just watch in awe, alternatively you can jump in and be one with the ocean. Most charter boats or resorts at minimum, provide snorkelling gear and if you are qualified or want to get qualified you can go scuba diving.

The fishing is also a standout experience in the Maldives. Fish literally jump into the boat so if you can’t catch a fish in here, you wont catch one anywhere in the world!

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