DESTINATION GUIDE: MALDIVES
Stop lying to yourself, visit the Maldives!
Someone once said there are no such things as intermediates... They obviously have never been on a surf trip to the Maldives. The surf world is in love with the Mentawais and rightly so, but the truth is a lot of the waves over there are fairly unforgiving. If many of us were actually honest, we might admit perhaps sitting out low tide on the biggest day at the heaviest spots – and there’s no shame in that. But alternatively, instead of going all the way there shelling out top dollar to hope it isn’t as good as it gets, another option would be to head for the Maldives.
What are they? 1199 coral islands and 26 atolls, the Maldives are the stuff surf dreams are made of. Siting at the top of the Indian Ocean, the lowest country on Earth gets some decent swell exposure nearly all year round. Main pluses are warm water and the classic pointbreak set ups, lefts and rights, for all levels and type of boards. The Maldives are kind of like surfing’s Disneyland...easy access, good service, user-friendly stoke.
Season: The SW monsoon produces quality surf from March to November and the size depends on where you are i.e. Malé atolls (North) or D’Huvadhoo atoll (south). Wind wise, it can a bit shifty, but with some great glass off days at the end of spring. Water is 28° all year round in case you were wondering...
Why go there: Because you can take your honeymoon in one of the luxury hotels, which are plentiful and highly-rated, with your own private pointbreak spa. Compared with Indo, cheaper it is not. You basically can’t avoid hotel accommodation, unless you are boat tripping. No, you should go to the Maldives because it is closer, cleaner, more luxurious, has prettier snorkeling and diving and because... waves are easier! What’s the point of spending 3000 euros a boat trip to sitting on the shoulder at HT’s, on the boat at Greenbush and then socialising with 60 Brazilians at Macca’s? If you are true to your surfing self, you will probably have a better time in the Maldives, take more waves, wack more lips and bleed less.
Flights: You can fly out of any European airport and be surfing the next day in tropical water. The number of flights has increased significantly the last few years and the connections are fast. There is also a decent track record with boards on most of the serving airlines.
Boats: Boats are still perhaps the best way to go surfing, and The Maldives has plenty of operators with two distinct areas to choose from - either straight off the plane in the Malé region or to the remote atolls of the south. The Maldivian boat trip experience is really pleasant even if you are not a hardened seaman, as you’ll be mostly doing coastal navigation and sleeping at night in the calm waters inside the atolls.
Gear: Bring you normal surfing equipment, with maybe an extra stick, fins because there are no surf shops or ding repairs in the country. Bring fishing and diving gear because those coral reef are second to none. Don’t bring your booze, you will get busted at the airport, it is a fairly strict muslim country.