The 26 atolls of the Maldives are coral formations born around the peaks of volcanoes, driven by the divergent boundaries of the Earth’s crust. These peaks, once their growth subsided, left the characteristic ring shape to the atolls, which now continue to develop along the original coast. All this has created a surfing paradise in the Maldives! These 1200 islands are part of a 2000km long chain that stretches from Lakshadweep to the Chagos Islands, and like all atolls, there are passageways between the various reefs in the middle of the islands. The swells coming from the southern hemisphere bring small and perfect waves to the reefs, while the monsoon winds rule the seasons. The most southern atolls, called Gaafu Dhaalu (South Huvadhoo), face SE and boast a dozen good spots, in an area that can be reached in just 2 hours. Charter boats are the only way to reach these atolls, and unlike the Mentawai, the number of boats operating is very low: for this reason a surf trip here will be quite expensive. The 2 options to reach Havadoo Atoll are: flying to Gaafu Dhaalu and then taking a charter boat, or arriving in Malè and sail for 2 days (in good weather conditions) to the area where you want to surf. There are no tourist accommodations on any of the uninhabited islands such as Thinadhoo, Gadhdhoo or Vaadhoo. The lucky ones will be able to surf excellent lefts at Airport’s in conditions of great swell from S-SW and wind from NE, but usually the boat does not stop there, but continues for 2 hours further south to the Beacons . Considered as the “top” wave of the Maldives, here it is possible to ride right-handed waves on a low and captivating reef that tends not to forgive even the smallest mistakes. Heading south we find Castaways , a spot located in an external reef, less heavy and dangerous than the previous one but still fast and fun, especially at low tide. Any N wind here is offshore, and the desert island scenery makes it idyllic. Both Beacon and Castaways often offer left waves along the passing channels which, apart from the days of the biggest storms, are not surfed by anyone. Blue Bowls is the most flexible right (as it is totally protected from SW-W winds) as it often offers long rides and bowl sections perfect for radical maneuvers. It work with all swells, all sizes and with any tide level. 30 minutes of sailing further east there is Five Islands , another right-hand point that breaks violently on an internal reef and capable of handling all sizes of swell. Near Five Island, there is Two Ways , a spot very similar to the previous one where the right is usually better than the left, but it only starts working above a certain extent given its rather sheltered position. Still next to it we find Love Charms, which holds up well the winds from east and any swell measure. The wave generally breaks on 2 sections and it is recommended at low tide when it is small. The next passage to the east is in the middle of the Gan and Gadhdhoo islands; here is the left wave of Tiger Stripes , the first wave surfed by local surfers and alongside the right of Antiques , usually a couple of feet smaller than the other. These two spots can be surfed with any variation of swell from south and with any wind direction from north. KH is on the east coast, here there are two spots very close to each other that join in a single wave with large swells and favorable tide. There are also two more waves further north (North Huvadhoo Atoll) located in Gaafu Alifu: Koodhoo and Viligili . These are exploited by all those who return by boat to Malè, but despite the idyllic location, the sea conditions could be dangerous due to the strong currents that come out of the channel.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|Departure||Huvadhoo Inn||Small Island Lodge||Finivaage|
|From 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020||€ 189||€ 221||€ 179|
The swells come from the Indian Ocean, guilty of storms, occasional cyclones and localized windswells. Given its size and position Gaafu Dhaalu is the only atoll exposed to SW-SE. The period between March and October offer more consistent waves, usually between 2-6ft in the most exposed places and between 6-10ft in the biggest winter storms. This period coincides with the SW monsoon (Hulhangu), and boats tend to stay ashore on stormy days and strong winds that characterize the months from May to August. The best season is the one in which the monsoon blows from the NE (Iruvai) to have sunny conditions and clean waves: therefore the months between February-April and September-October are recommended. Winds are usually in a direction ranging from northwest and northeast, but monsoons, which can arrive early or late, may bring SW winds during transitional periods. All winds from south to east “kill” perfect conditions in almost any spot, especially in small waves. In December-January you can find flat sea, even if the exposure of this atoll is better than that of Malè. The semi-diurnal tides make the passages between the reefs unpredictable, as they are able to create strong currents that push in and out of the atoll: ask the captain before you jump off the boat!
How to get there: Ask for a 30-days visa at the arrival. Malè is a place that can be reached from Europe and SE Asia with a medium-cost plane ticket. It is possible to move between the atolls either by small internal flights or by boats for south-facing trips. The island’s air service operates with 26-seat aircraft, with the Malè – Kaadedhdhoo route, operating 5 times a week (1h10min flight, 188 r / t), without additional fees for the transport of the boards as long as they don’t exceed the 20kg. Enjoy the wonderful scenery when flying.
How to get around: 2 boats with surf guides leave from Kaadedhdhoo. The new Handu is one of the few charters to provide double rooms with air conditioning, a reliable tender, plus a 30 ft dhoni that allows the transport of 2 groups of surfers at the same time or excursions for fishing lovers (1950 $ / 10 days for one excursion in the atolls). Another boat available is the 85-foot Orca (1400 $ / 12 days), or the Voyages Maldives (85 & / day).
Accommodation and food: Aboard the Handu you can find all the comforts and an extremely helpful crew on board. The food is varied, since it is only fish. Go snorkelling to find lobsters.
Climate: The climate is typical of tropical monsoon areas, with 2 well-defined seasons and high amount of rain throughout the year. The NE monsoon brings the driest period with light winds from northwest to east. During the period from December to March, temperatures are very high, the sun is abundant but it is accompanied by high humidity. The SW monsoon instead brings many storms, so the period from May to October is mainly characterized by stormy winds and regular rains. Consider this when booking a boat without air conditioning. The short wetsuit is almost useless since the water temperature is around 28-30 ° C (82-86 ° F), it is possible to surf in a suit and with a lycra.
Nature and culture: Typical culture of a boat trip: crazy fishing, snorkeling, surfing videos and board games. Vaadhoo and Gadhdhoo are provided with telecommunication services and tourist villages while Vaadhoo is renowned for its kunaa (hand-made mats).
Dangers and problems: At latitude 0°, the worst danger is the sun. High protection sunscreen is required. Always stay hydrated and carefully take care of the reefcuts. Also beware of strong currents between the reef channels. Alcohol, pornography, drugs and guns are not allowed at customs. There are few mosquitoes, even on the islands, where however there are cases of leprosy and dengue fever.
Tips: Bring your best two swimsuit and all your equipment. The surf shops in Male are expensive and not well stocked. The names are confusing (Gaafu Dhaalu is South Huvadhoo or Suvadiva) and many atolls have identical names but with slightly different spelling.
Exchange rate 1 EUR = 1.08 USD
Exchange rate variations (more than 3%) will lead to an adjustment of costs. They will be communicated within 20 days of departure.
The tariff does not include