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The Maldives are considered one of the most luxurious holiday destinations for a good reason. Eager to feel like there is nobody in the world except the two of you? You will be offered secluded villas with direct ocean access, dinner on the beach under the stars, and traditional spa rituals. Traveling with your family? Then you can enjoy:

  • Children's clubs
  • Many water activities
  • The opportunity to learn how to snorkel
  • Getting acquainted with the breathtaking underwater world

It is just a shortlist of entertainment alluring for both children and adults. Desperate to ride a surf with a view of the tropical beauty without a crowd of tourists? Maldives is an excellent choice.

Серфинг на Мальдивах
Asad Photo Maldives

Particularities of surfing in the Maldives

The Maldives stretch for 750 kilometers from north to south in the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. The waves on these islands are not as intense as, for example, in Indonesia or Tahiti, but in peak season they reach 2 meters and deserve attention.

Reef waves

The islands offer right and left-hand reef waves. Most of the “pipes” that we often see in the surfers’ videos and photos are precisely the reef waves, that appear over the coral reefs. Riding them requires a particular skill and is suitable for surfers of an average level and above. To protect yourself from scratches and cuts, you should ride in a wetsuit, even in warm water.

Important note: the currents around the islands can not only carry the surfer away from the spot, but even take him to the open sea. Therefore, it is worth considering the ebbs and flows, and to check the reference marks on the land as often as possible while riding.

Рифовые волны на Мальдивах
Reef Waves in the Maldives

History of the Maldives surfing

The pioneer of surfing in the Maldives is considered Australian-born Anthony Hussein Hinde. In December 1973, he worked on a ship sailing from Sri Lanka, when it suffered a wreck near the North Male Atoll. Repairing the ship for several months, Hinde became so impressed with the surfing opportunities on the local islands and their culture that he stayed in the Maldives. He later started a family with a local girl, converted to Islam, began teaching surfing, and thanked heaven for the shipwreck that changed his life.

Thus, surfing in the Maldives began to develop only in the 70s of the last century. Since then, the transport and tourism infrastructure has improved significantly, and the suitable climate, crystal water and excellent waves have remained the same.

Niyama Private Islands Maldives
Niyama Private Islands Maldives

Top Maldives Surf Spots

The entire archipelago is divided into three areas for surfing: Male atolls, central atolls and southern atolls. They differ from each other by the characteristics of the waves, and attract surfers at different times of the year. Let’s have a look where and when to ride, as well as the necessary level of training.

North and South Male

The Male Atolls are located in the northern part of the Maldives, are easily accessible and, therefore the most visited. The best time for surfing is from mid-spring to mid-autumn, the maximum waves are from April to August. The height and direction of the waves vary depending on the spot.

The best spots of the Male Atolls:

  • Jailbreak (Jail) located on the island of Himmafushi Kaafu Atoll, is suitable for both beginners and advanced surfers. Here you can find the right-handers and excellent conditions for learning. The point got its name because of the location opposite the former island prison. You can stay at the 4-star Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives or lower budget Himmafushi Surfing Home or Jailbreak Surf Inn.
  • Ninja's provides right-hand waves and is suitable for those, who have just stood on the board. This great place to learn the basics is located opposite the island of Kanifinolhu, the North Male Atoll. The Club Med Kani Resort is set here, from where you can also easily reach Chicken's and Coke's spots by speed boat.
  • Honky's on Thaburudhu Island is right-hand, peak waves for intermediate skill levels and above. You can stay nearby at Gili Lankanfushi, which is 5-minute boat ride away from Jail Sailing a bit north, you can ride at Chicken's and Coke's.
  • Sultan’s provides right-hand waves up to 200 meters in length. One of the most visited places of the northern atolls is on the same island as Honky's. It is advisable to have an average level of training and above.
  • Chicken's is named after a nearby farm. Spot provides the longest left-hand waves in the Maldives and is suitable only for experienced surfers. It is situated on the islands of Vilingili and Huraa, not far from Thulusdhoo. You can stay at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, located in the middle of the main places for surfing - Honky's, Coke's and Ninja's.
  • Coke's suitable for advanced surfers, is also located next to Thulusdhoo. Right-hand waves over the reef belong to the most complex and best in the Maldives.
  • Pasta Point of the North Male Atoll offers excellent left-hand waves, suitable for the intermidiate level and above. Access to this point is limited up to 30 people; you can ride here only if you stay at the Cinnamon Dhonveli Resort.
  • Lohi's provides left-hand waves, will suit the average level surfers and above. Not more than 45 people can surf here at the same time. To access the spot, you must stay at Hudhuranfushi Surf Resort on the island of the same name.

Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi
Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Resort

Central Atoll Surfing

The central atolls (Meemu, Dhaalu, Thaa and Laamu) are less known and popular than the northern ones, but they attract more and more travelers trying to avoid the crowd. The central atolls waves are of medium height and very fast. For some spots, the right weather is required to create excellent riding conditions, first of all, the optimal wind direction. When these conditions are met, there is no better place to surf, complemented by magnificent landscapes and privacy.
If you plan to surf in this area, you will need to rent a boat, as there is no other way to get to the local spots.

The surfing season on the central atolls lasts from March to October. The maximum wave height is reached between June and September.

The best spots of the central atolls:

The places on the central atolls are not as close to the resorts as on the northern ones. On the one hand, this advantage provides free riding on almost deserted waves, and on the other hand, to get here, you have to rent a sea transport.

  • Muli, Meemu Atoll, provides fast right-hand waves. You need a medium-plus level to ride.
  • Vodi, Dhaalu Atoll, offers left-hand waves suitable for medium and high-level surfers. To surf here, you need to stay at Niyama Resort.
  • Kasabu offers right-hand waves, suitable for beginners. Spot is 5 minutes by speed boat away from Niyama Resort.
  • Bowling Alley on the west coast of Thaa Atoll provides left-handers for level not lower than average. To get to the spot, you need to rent a boat.
  • Malik's, uninhabited island of Hirilandhoo of Thaa Atoll, offers left-hand waves, above average. Boat rental is required.
  • Refugee's Rights, Laamu Atoll, has extremely fast right-hand waves. Only for experts!
  • Ying Yang, Laamu Atoll, ensures right-hand waves for advanced surfers. Six Senses Laamu Resort is located directly opposite the spot.
  • Hocus Pocus offers right-hand waves for advanced surfers. It can be reached only by boat.

Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses Laamu

South atolls

Atolls of Gaafu-Dhaalu and Addu (Seenu) are located in the southern province of the Maldives. They are quite well-known, but there are much fewer rental boats and surfer charters, that’s why even the most popular spots are not crowded, compared to the northern atolls. Local surfing spots give the impression of remote paradise with perfect waves - the most secluded and idyllic in the Maldives. The waves are high-speed and strong. Either advanced or fearless mid-level surfers can catch them. You will remember surfing at the southern atolls long after getting back home.

South Atolls spots:

  • Tiger Stripes located between the islands of Gan and Gadhdhoo offers left-hand waves, suitable for a level above average. Beacons Surf Break guest house offers budget accommodation and a shuttle service to Love Charms and Tiger Stripes.
  • Antiques between the islands of Gan and Gadhdhoo provides right-handers, suitable for beginners.
  • Love Charms at Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll provides left-hand waves for the advanced surfers.
  • Two ways at Gaafu Dhaalu has left-hand waves for a level not lower than average.
  • Five Islands opposite Two ways is a right-hander, suitable for high-level athletes.
  • Blue Bowls is a right-hand wave, for the intermediate and advanced level. It is one of the most popular boat charter stops due to its excellent surfing location and the opportunity to visit a local village.
  • Beacon’s is usually the first charter stop on the Gaafu-Dhaalu Atoll, when moving from central atolls to the southern ones. The waves are right-handers, the level is expert.
  • Kottey is in the northwest of Addu Atoll and offers right-handers for an excellent level.
  • Shangri-la on the island of Vilingili provides right-hand waves forming on a reef on the east coast. Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa on the same island provides everything you need for an unforgettable vacation.

Shangri-La's Villingili Island Resort & Spa
Shangri-La's Villingili Island Resort & Spa

Boat and yacht rental

Ship charters in the Maldives are quite popular. If the number of travelers in your group is insufficient for a private trip (usually you need 8 people) or you are an individual traveler, you can join the shared transfer. These are scheduled cruises with clearly defined dates. With their help, you can explore the central and southern atolls, visiting several of the possible 47 spots at once. To get to the starting point, it is often necessary to take a domestic flight from Male.

Shangri-La's Villingili Island Resort & Spa
Shangri-La's Villingili Island Resort & Spa

The best time to surf in the Maldives

Surfing period in the Maldives depends on the location. It starts in March and lasts until November. Monsoons influence surfing here more than seasons.

  • From December to April, the northeast monsoon Iruvai blows. It is a dry season, more suitable for a relaxing holiday, fishing, diving and excursions.
  • March-April. Starting from March, optimal conditions are created for surfing in the southern atolls.
  • From early May to late October, during the southwestern monsoon Hulhangu, the air is saturated with moisture, waves appear on the sea, and the spots of the northern and central atolls become the best places. The wind blows from the shore, there are practically no windless days, not suitable for surfing.
  • In June and August, the height of the waves ranges from 1 to 2.5 meters.
  • October-November offer the perfect conditions for surfing on the southern atolls.

Where to stay for surfing

If you want to surf in the Maldives, you will have a choice of two options:

  • You can stay in one of the many hotels that, in addition to luxury apartments, sophisticated cuisine and entertainment, have private surfing schools.
  • Another option is to learn how to conquer the waves while staying in special camps for surfers.

Niyama Private Islands Maldives
Niyama Private Islands Maldives

Hotel surfing

  • The Float water entertainment center at Niyama Resort invites everyone to learn how to surf with a professional instructor. Training takes place in a calm lagoon or on a special wave. Beginners can learn the basics, and professionals can practice the technique with a coach. The nearest spot is Vodi, transfer to other ones is possible for a fee.
  • Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives takes care of the most comfortable ride. The nearest point is Pasta Point; Sultan’s, Honky's and Jailbreak are nearby, and can be reached in 10 minutes by speed boat. The first transfer to the spot leaves at 5:30 am. All transfer boats are equipped with radio sets for permanent communication, and instructors were certified by the International Surfing Association (ISA).
  • Four Seasons Kuda Huraa offers a special surfing package. For booking of 4 nights and more a free shuttle to the spot with a guide, classes with a trainer, equipment rental are available. The option is available for one guest.
  • Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Resort offers great spots nearby and full organization services. All guests planning to surf should register in advance in a particular surfing agency. The list can be found on the hotel website. For those who have booked a place, the resort provides free boat trips to other sites such as Ninja's, Sultan’s, Honke's, Jail, Coke's, Chicken's.

Important note: to surf at the resorts it is usually necessary to purchase an appropriate service package or a surf pass. It’s unlikely just to arrive and surf, so it’s better to clarify the details in advance when booking.

Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Resort
Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Resort

Surf camping

The choice of camp depends on several parameters:

  • Level of surfing
  • Preferred atoll
  • Nearest spots
  • Age of surfers and their number

There are camps for solo travelers, families, girls only, as well as for children of different ages. Usually, they offer accommodation, surfing lessons with qualified instructors, meals, as well as additional activities - snorkeling, access to a fitness center and a pool, tours to local sights and other resort entertainment.

Price: the price for staying depends on the selected package of options, and, in addition to lessons with professional coaches, includes board rental and transfer to various spots. The length of stay in the camp varies from 3 to 14 days. In 2020, the price starts at $ 320 for 4 days (3 nights).

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa

Tips for beginners

If you plan to go to the islands in order to learn how to ride a board, it makes sense to start preparing at home. The best surfing exercises include plank hold, push-ups, squats, and of course, swimming. Rowing is a great idea, as you will have to row to get to the spot. Yoga will help you obtain the maximum physical mobility.

Surf lessons and equipment cost

At the large resorts. Prices at the hotels are significantly different from those in surfing camps. Many services are included in a single package, which you choose immediately when booking. Any additional options are covered separately. The basic cost of surfing at the hotels includes approximately the following (based on Four Seasons Kuda Huraa example):

  • Instructor services: private lessons from $ 110, group (more than 3 people) - $ 85
  • Board rental: about $ 60 per day or $ 200 per week
  • Board repair: $ 30-50

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

At the surf camps. When booking a stay at the surf camps, you can choose the option when the cost of board rental and transfer to a spot are already included in the total price.
If you decide to rent a board from small local companies, it will cost an average of $ 25-30 per day or $ 145-175 per week.

The Maldives, which are usually associated with a relaxed vacation, are an excellent place for active pastime. Surfing here has its advantages and is possible for almost nine months a year. Do not hesitate! Set off to conquer the Maldivian waves!


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