In the Maldives you can find some of the best waves in the world: 1192 islands and endless surf breaks. Reason enough to put together a little summary for all surf culture enthusiasts among you.
Maldives’ waves can’t be considered super powerful, as the swell normally reaches shoulder-to-head high, but it offers big chances of barrels and long fun waves. It’s the perfect trip for intermediate and advanced surfers.
The surfing season in the Maldives depends on the Atolls, but most of the archipelago is good for surfing from April till October, yet March and November are also good and have the best weather. Swell is amazingly consistent in this part of the planet, but even on flat days there’s always something exciting to do in the Maldives, like snorkeling or fishing.
The entire archipelago can be divided into three different surf areas: Male Atolls, Central Atolls and South Atolls. The main differences between them are about swell size, consistency and most of all in crowd. There are some great surfing spots in the country, but just a few are easily accessible from resorts. The best breaks are on the outer reefs on the southeast sides of the atolls.
Most of the spots are very close to each other, so finding good surf is easy. The best way to reach them is, no doubt, by boat. Some of them are nameless and yet to be found especially in Central and South Atolls.
The best thing about the boat trip in the Maldives is the feeling of discovery, surfing perfect waves with no crowd in the water. Just you and your friends. Please note that you can only have this experience in Central and South Atolls. Male Atolls can be quite crowded, especially between May and August.
The popular Northern Atolls
When people think about surfing in the Maldives, they think about the Male Atolls. Although a lot has changed since the Male Atolls were originally “discovered” by shipwrecked surfers in the 1970s, the waves continue to remain the same—pure and beautiful. Having hosted several international and professional contests, the once secret Northern Atolls have emerged as an integral part of the international surf scene, as well as the hub of the growing Maldives surf scene.
The Northern Atolls are divided between the North Male Atoll and the South Male Atoll, both offering a pretty even mix of lefts and rights, with some of the standout and more internationally known breaks including Pasta Point, Chickens, Coke’s, Jailbreaks, Sultans, Ninjas and Lohi’s in the north, and Foxy’s, Guru’s, and Riptides in the south. Although hardly ever flat, the waves are best in the spring and summer when it typically ranges between two to eight feet, with the largest surf coming through in late summer.
While the North Male Atoll is in contention for having the best waves in the Maldives, it unquestionably hosts the most popular spots, and definitely provides the longest rides, with both lefts and rights regularly stretching over 100 meters. However, South Male Atoll is closer to Hulhumale airport than the North Male Atoll, and doesn’t get nearly as crowded. While many boat trips and surf charters stay in the North Male Atoll, Surfatoll hits all the spots in the Northern Atolls.
Surfing perfect waves in the Central Atolls
The central atolls may not be as well-known or as frequented as the North or South Male Atolls, but Thaa and Laamu Atolls in the central region have been increasing in popularity as surfers look to escape the northern crowds. Numerous world class breaks have been discovered in the Central Atolls, mostly in the form of right-handers. You will find spots protected from all wind directions except a rare straight easterly breeze.
Although the central atolls don’t get the same kind of size as the Male Atolls, its breaks continue the Maldivian tradition of providing consistent surf and pristine barrels. Medium-sized waves are as abundant and perfect as you could ask for. Some of the stand-out spots at Thaa Atoll include Malik’s, Finnimas, Outside Mikado, and Inside Mikado. Laamu Atoll has a few better known spots including Ying Yang, Refugee’s Lefts, and Refugee’s Rights. Most of these waves are fast and sectiony, with the kind of speedy barrels that force you to burn down the line trying to make the section. Not for the faint of heart, the waves of the central atolls are still accessible to the more intermediate surfer.
Some of the spots need specific conditions to really light up (basically a strong southerly swell and an optimal wind direction), but when those conditions are met, there is nowhere else you would rather surf—a feeling only further accentuated by the idyllic setting and solitary surroundings. If you do plan a surf trip here it will have to be a boat trip, because surf charters are the only way to access this region’s breaks.
The Southern Atolls
Huvadhoo and Addu Atolls (referred often as the Southern Atolls) are located in the most southern section of the Maldives, which surfers are continually reminded of when they arrive upon empty surf break after empty surf break. Although it may not be completely abandoned, fewer surf boats and surf charters operate in this area, causing even the most popular spots in this region to be less crowded than the Northern Atolls. Of all the Maldives surf spots, the breaks in the Southern Atolls remain among the most secluded and idyllic, preserving the reality of a remote island paradise that comes complete with incredible waves.
photo credits: Visit Maldives