Surf History

In 1973 two Australian surfers, Tony Hussein Hinde and Mark Scanlon, were on their way to Réunion Island from Sri Lanka, but were shipwrecked on the shore breaks of the Maldivian island of Malé. This event was the unlikely catalyst for the start of the Maldives surfing scene. Tony spent months trying to repair the wrecked boat, but was soon distracted by the excellent surfing conditions around the northern islands, and decided to stay. After becoming a citizen, he managed to keep Maldives surfing a secret amongst friends for over 15 years. However, due to more and more resorts opening up and the increase in tourism, Tony opened Atoll Adventures, a surfing camp, in the mid 1980s – and so began the Maldives surfing scene boom.

Over the years the Maldives has become an extremely popular surfing destination with a surfing environment that suits beginners and seasoned professionals. The average water temperature is around 28oC and the conditions are pretty consistent throughout the surfing season, which runs from mid February to November. March, April and May see the cleanest waves with June to August bringing the biggest swells. Wave heights average around four to eight feet, but they have been know to exceed this.

Many resorts have taken advantage of the popularity of surfing in the Maldives and will provide equipment to surfers, including boats that will take you beyond the breaks and the crowds. If you are really keen there are charters available to help you scratch that surfing itch. Prices vary depending on how big of a group you want to go with and how long you want to go for. Charters can last for just a single day or two weeks if you really want to go all out on your surfing holiday.

For those of you who are an occasional surfer or a total beginner, there are a number of surf schools that will be able to take care of your needs. A level one course will teach you the basics, such as safety, equipment, reading the waves and how to catch them. A level two will get you up on your board and riding waves in no time. If you’ve got the cash you can hire a personal guide or teacher, private speedboats or even your own seaplane to take you to the best spots.

There’s a good opportunity to see some of the best surfers in the world at the yearly Association of Surfing Professionals SriLankan Airlines Pro World Qualifying Series, which is held in June. Over 120 international surfers from 20 nations flock to Pasta Point in Malé Atoll to compete. Pasta Point is not just famous for this competition or its legendary waves; it is also the place where Tony Hussein Hinde setup his surf school and where he unfortunately passed away in 2008.

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