Maldives Surf Adventures: Travel Guide

January 20, 2024

A surf trip to the Maldives offers the perfect blend of incredible waves that are also user-friendly, idyllic islands, and pure barefoot luxury. The Maldives is one of the most beautiful surf locations on the globe, perfect for a family holiday or a group trip with friends.

Maldives has long been a popular choice for tourists in search of a five-star vacation, but in recent years, surfing has emerged as a major draw to this cluster of picture-perfect islands.

While the swell in the Maldives seldom exceeds head height, there is still a good possibility of scoring a barrel or a long, exciting wave.

Surf Breaks Types

Point breaks and reef breaks predominate, but the swells are usually less than in Hawaii, Tahiti, or Indonesia. Surfers of all skill levels will enjoy the carved, rippable walls that the area’s light breezes and modest to moderate waves provide.

Level of Difficulty

Intermediate. While surfers will need to be confident over the reef, the waves are typically not too intimidating and rarely exceed 8-12 feet in face height. While the bulk of elite surfers travels to the Maldives to stack high-performance footage, there are a few hollower waves that will also appeal to experts. If you’re new to surfing, don’t worry; there are plenty of beginner-friendly waves in the area.

Maldives surf season

When it comes to surfing in the Maldives, there are three distinct zones that every wave enthusiast should know about: the Malé Atolls, the Central Atolls, and the Southern Atolls. Each of these regions boasts its own unique charm and allure, making for an unforgettable surfing experience that you won’t soon forget.

“Low-season” – December, January & February

The data demonstrates that there are long and medium-period waves that consistently reach heights of 4 feet. There is a lot going on in the open reef passages to keep you entertained. If you want to go to the Southern Atolls when the weather is certain to be nice, now is the time to go. With no other boats in sight, you have a good chance of catching the best waves of your life.

Despite being the ‘off season’, the Central Atolls can still offer some classic days during this time of year. Due to the increased distance that swells must travel, only the strongest pulses will reach this location.

The Malé Atolls are not ideal for surfing right now. Since the SE trade winds have not yet built surge, most locations experience onshore breezes. Currently, the best Maldives surfing can be found around the southernmost islands.

“Shoulder season” – March, April, October & November

The swell machine is either heating up or cooling down at these times of the year. Despite their regularity, the waves are rarely too large to enjoy. This makes the shoulder seasons ideal for surfers with more experience but less confidence in larger waves. During this time, while the two monsoon wind patterns are changing places, many days will have little to no wind.

The Central Atolls are another great choice, with crystal water and several breaks that get South and Southwest swell. Huge swells and hardly any other surfers. Dreamy.

The Southern Atolls are starting to see onshore breezes, but there are still opportunities for world-class days. The Maldives are so small that they are sheltered from the convective winds that create offshore mornings everywhere else. This makes it more of a coin toss as to whether or not you’ll score in the Southern Atolls. However, once you do, you won’t soon forget it!

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“Peak season” – May to September

The Indian Ocean is now experiencing peak swell conditions. The trade winds and the waves have settled into a regular rhythm.

During the southern hemisphere winter, Malé and Central Atolls see their busiest surf season. Although the Southern Atolls receive the largest swell during this time of year, onshore winds make it such that only the most fortuitous “in-between” days or the least surfed corners are optimal.

Throughout this period, both the Malé and Central Atolls have persistent swells in the 5-6ft range, according to seasonal statistics. This is also the period of the year when large Indian Ocean bomb waves are most likely to occur. The vast majority of sites have continuous WNW trade winds blowing offshore, providing superb conditions every day.

Surf Spots in Northern Atolls

Northern Atolls (North and South Male atolls) have long been popular with surfers due to a range of places that remain reasonably constant, especially during the peak summer months when south waves are plentiful. This happens between the months of April and October.

Crowding can be a concern at times due to the relatively simple access to the breakers provided by the many boats in this abundant wave zone, as well as the resorts that transport surfers out to the breaks.

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Chickens

Chickens is a left-hand reef point that offers the best surfing experience in the head-high+ range. It is situated near Thulusdhoo Island and can provide a ride of more than 500 meters.

The ideal hands for this activity would be those that are skilled in navigating through strong currents and maintaining a steady grip on the fishing line. Chickens is renowned for being the swiftest wave in the vicinity and is primarily divided into two key sections. The ideal spot for catching a ten-second tube is at the initial point, which can be affected by a southwest wind. However, the long shoulder begins at the second section and can provide a great ride when the wind is not a factor.

For optimal surfing conditions at Chickens, it’s recommended to plan your visit between May and October. The southeast swells during July and August offer the most reliable surf, with wave heights ranging from 2-8 feet. Keep in mind that Chickens is best for surfing when the waves are head high to double overhead.

Cokes

This surf spot is a right-hand wave that derives its name from its proximity to an island where a Coca-Cola factory is situated. Cokes is a surf spot that is recommended for experienced surfers due to its consistently large waves.

While the inside section may not be the ideal spot to be caught in, it does offer a prime opportunity for surfers to make a shot for the channel. However, it’s important to note that many surfers tend to overlook the sharp reef and charge ahead to the second section. The best time to visit is when there is a straight south swell accompanied by northwest winds, resulting in waves ranging from head high to double overhead.

For optimal conditions, it is recommended to plan your visit to coincide with mid to high tide when the current is less challenging. However, if the swell is larger, low tide may be more feasible. This advice is similar to how one would approach a chicken’s behavior in the same situation.

Lohis

Lohis is the most reliable spot for catching waves in the Maldives. As a travel expert, I would like to inform you that guests staying at the Hudhuranfushi Resort can enjoy the privilege of accessing Lohis, a surf break located just off the coast of Lohifushi Island. Although staying at the resort is an option, it is not mandatory to enjoy your trip.

Lohis is often busier than Pasta Point since the onshore resort does not limit the number of surfers that may stay there. Lohis may be surfed on every tide, but it’s at its finest when there’s an offshore breeze from the north or northeast and a swell from the south or southwest.

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Ninjas

Ninjas is a prime spot for both novice and experienced longboarders. This righthander wave breaks at a slower pace and with less shape compared to the other waves in the vicinity. The ideal conditions for surfing would be waves that are no higher than four feet, as the waves tend to close out when they exceed shoulder height. This particular surf break may not offer the same level of consistency as other spots, but it’s perfect for those who enjoy a more unpredictable and spontaneous surfing experience. In fact, the imperfections of the wave are what makes it so appealing to many surfers.

Jailbreaks

Located on Himmafushi, this surf area is also known as Prison Point due to its closeness to the country’s infamous prison. A right-hander with three solid portions, although it works best with high swell since it generates a longer wave. With its long walls and three tube sections, this wave is among the Maldives’ fastest.

Late summer swells often bring heavier surf, but during the spring and summer, you may expect waves anywhere from waist height to a couple of feet overhead (around 2 to 8 feet). You may find anything from open and mellow walls to hollow barrels with a reasonable lip off the reef at Jailbreaks, depending on where you choose to launch from. The standard launch position is a steep, quick drop that guarantees a solid right.

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Sultans

With a right-handed Sultan on one side and a left-handed Honkey on the other, it’s a formidable 1-2 punch, especially when the onshore Honkey is counterbalanced by the offshore Sultan.

This destination is the perfect place for surf enthusiasts, offering consistent waves all year round. The ideal takeoff point for this particular surf spot is located just behind the peak. This allows for a great opportunity to perform some powerful and aggressive maneuvers before the wave breaks onto the reef along the corner of the island. Once the wave reaches this point, it will transform into a fast and roomy tube that will provide an exhilarating ride without closing out.

Honky’s

Honky’s, a long, wrapping, left, is a contender for the finest wave in North Male Atoll on a good day. This wave matches the reef’s semi-circular form as it breaks and loops around about 90 degrees by the time you draw out, therefore the takeoff is around 40 meters south of Sultans along the same reef. As the ride travels deeper inside the skyscraper, its length increases to well over 40 meters. The ideal swell size for Honky’s, which typically occurs between March and October, is between head high to double overhead at low tide (unless the swell is enormous).

Gurus

The wave on the left-hand side is known to catch a lot of swells and is at its best when there is a significant south swell and north wind. For optimal surfing conditions, it is recommended to seek out waves with a north or northwest wind and a southeast swell of at least 4 feet in size. This combination will showcase the wave’s full potential. The wave’s speed and will make it ideal for performing maneuvers and possibly even aerials, depending on your skill level.

Natives

This is a fast and hollow right-hand wave that breaks over a shallow coral reef. If you’re a skilled surfer, you’ll definitely enjoy riding the wave at “Goofys Paradise.” The location features a break of 100 to 150 meters, offering numerous opportunities for barrel rides. For optimal conditions, it is recommended to plan your travels during a time when there is a Southeast swell and Northwest wind. While the North Male Atoll breaks may be larger, the South Male Atoll offers a less crowded surfing experience during peak summer swells.

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Riptides

The Riptides surf spot is situated in close proximity to the inhabited Guraidhoo Island. This particular wave breaks off a small reef located in the middle of the channel. Due to the strong currents, the most feasible mode of transportation to reach the wave is by dhoni transfer. One of the unique experiences that this destination offers is the opportunity to catch waves in the middle of the channel due to its unique break.

Surf  Spots in Central Atolls

Kasabu

The sole municipal airport in the Dhaalu atoll is on the island where Kasabu is situated. When the wind is coming from the northwest and the wave is coming from the southwest, conditions are ideal. When this occurs, you will see a beautiful wave peeling down the reef, providing exhilarating rides for surfers of all skill levels. The final portion, which fades out deeper into the lagoon, is suitable for beginners.

Outside Mikado

A rapid, section-filled wave that closes out over a rather uneven reef is located outside Mikado. You should certainly watch this wave break a few times before jumping in and blasting down the line into that reef because it is one of the strong ones in the region. A terrific wave for power surfers, the wave grows in size and speed as it travels inside, but when crowded, the scattered reef makes it very challenging to ride.

Generally speaking, the outside Mikado ranges from 2-8 feet, but it gets a considerable bit of swell, and it handles it very well. The ideal conditions for this wave are high tide to mid tide, southeast or southwest swell, and no wind or mild north or northwest breezes.

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Inside Mikado

Just to the east of Outside Mikado lies Inside Mikado, a beautiful wraparound righthander. The wave is a little inconsistent because it doesn’t really work on a low tide, but it has the potential to be a huge game-changer when it delivers on a mid-to-high tide. Usually standing between 2 and 6 feet in height, these waves peel down the line like a scenic painting, featuring brief yet perfect barrel rides.

If there is a south or southwest swell and the southwest wind is coming in from offshore, the chances for some barrel-time shadow at Inside Mikado are higher than they are at Outside Mikado. However, if breezes come from the west or northwest, the picture-perfect alignment will blur.

Finnimas

When traveling to Finnimas, it’s advisable to pack an extra duplicate board or two to avoid any inconvenience that may arise. Finnimas is a popular surfing spot known for its challenging barrels, despite the exposed reef. Similar to Malik’s wave, this left-hand wave can be a bit unpredictable, but it can also cause a right-hand wave to break across the adjacent pass. Keep an eye out for this.

For optimal surfing conditions, it is recommended to have a north or northeast wind at the left break. However, a northwest wind can also be suitable as long as it is not too strong. Based on my experience, the wave in that area usually ranges from 2-10 feet and is most compatible with a southeast or southwest swell.

Machine

Machine, as the name suggests, is typically the best option on the Laamu Atoll. Although locals will tell you that the term refers not just to the fact that the place breaks like a machine, but also to the fact that it demands machine-like physical training to be surfed. The absence of a channel and the steep barrier against which the waves break demand continual paddling—both while catching the waves and avoiding them after you’ve entered the crunch zone.

Despite the amount of labor required, Machine is definitely the greatest righthander in the neighborhood, with the crowd to back it up, especially when it’s really fire. When there is enough water to loop through the north of the island pass, it lights up very often in medium to big southeast or even straight south swells.

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Bedhuge

Bedhuge is another popular surf spot in the Maldives, located in the southern atoll of Gaafu Dhaalu. As a travel expert, I can tell you that Bedhuge is known for its long, peeling left-hand waves that can reach heights of up to 6 feet or more. The wave here is ideal for longboarders and intermediate surfers.

The surf break at Bedhuge is situated on a reef that is about 200 meters offshore. The wave typically breaks in a predictable and consistent manner, making it an ideal spot for surfers who are looking to improve their skills or just enjoy a fun and relaxed session in the water.

The best time to surf at Bedhuge is during the Maldives’ dry season, which runs from November to April when the swell conditions are optimal. During this time, surfers can expect to find clean and glassy waves with light offshore winds.

Ying Yang

The wave changes between a calm outer and a tubular inside, separated by the sort of corner that distinguishes the Maldivian Atolls. Because the outside wall breaks in deep water, it is a safe wave that builds slowly and begins mellowly as it bends towards the corner. When it hits the corner, it mushes out briefly before wrapping around into a long and fast inside barrel. The larger the wave, the thicker it barrels, offering enough cover for those who can escape the severe parts.

The inside wave is blown away by the northwest winds, but the deep water outside holds up nicely. Southwest winds, on the other hand, chop up the outside wave while really igniting the interior part. It’s one of those waves where you have to show up to see what you’ve got, but with waves varying from 2 to 12 feet and breaking at any tide, there’s always something.

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Surf Spots in Southern Atolls

Tiger Stripes

Tiger Stripes, sometimes known as Rockets, is an open lefthander that doesn’t become as hollow as some of the other adjacent waves but compensates with long and steady carvable walls that are suitable for a wide range of surfers and exciting in a variety of situations.

While Tiger Stripes may not appear remarkable in its smaller size, it, fortunately, expands significantly larger than other destinations. The wave’s takeoff can be challenging, but it leads into a steep wall that accelerates as it turns the corner. The inside section of the wave wraps around and sometimes forms barrels before losing power and flowing into the channel.

Antiques

Antiques is a surf spot situated in the inlet between Gan and Gadhdoo islands. It offers a smaller and less challenging right-hand wave that complements the left-hand waves produced by Tiger Stripes. Antiques is a surf spot located near its sister wave, known for being slightly less intense but still offering a high level of consistency.

Antiques is a surf spot that is ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers, particularly those who are natural footers. It shares the same Tiger Stripes consistency but is smaller in size and less powerful. The waves typically range from two to six feet.

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Love Charms

Love Charms is a unique wave located in Huvadhoo that undergoes a complete transformation based on the tide and swell size. During a low tide and smaller swell, Love Charms can be observed breaking up into two separate sections, which is considered to be the optimal situation. When the swells are larger and the tide is higher, the waves tend to merge into a lengthy and tubular wall, providing an exceptionally long and tubular ride if it maintains its shape. However, even if the wave breaks up, the inside barrels into sheltered pockets.

Love Charms is a versatile surf spot that can handle various tide stages, swell sizes, and wind directions. However, it is recommended to surf here when the waves are between two to ten feet high, and there are northwest winds during southerly swells.

Two ways

Booga Reef, also known as Two Ways due to its left and right breaks, can be found across the pass from Five Islands. Similar to North Male Atoll’s Sultans and Honky’s, Two Ways provides two fantastic waves that peel in opposite ways from the same southern point of the island. The Two Ways setup is a dream come true for surfers worldwide, who have long envisioned such a possibility but never thought it could be a reality. Booga Reef is a must-visit destination for surfers on their Maldives trip, offering an unforgettable experience that will exceed your expectations.

Blue bowls

Blue Bowls is a popular surf spot, also known as Voodoos, located inside the pass between Castaways and Five Islands. It is a flexible right that is known for being unusually protected from onshore winds. The wave at this location is characterized by a point-style break that wraps smoothly around the point, eventually opening up into a series of bowls, which is how it got its name. The surf spot features sections that consistently form into spacious and unobstructed areas, creating an ideal opportunity for a lengthy and enjoyable ride. This location is suitable for both experienced shortboard surfers and those who prefer the more relaxed style of funboards and longboards.

Beacons

Beacons is a right-hand reef break that can be quite challenging and unpredictable. Although this location offers consistent surf, it is important to note that the waves are only suitable for surfing during a clean southwest swell. When waves approach from any other direction, it is highly likely that they will result in straight close-outs onto a coral reef that is both unfriendly and unyielding. Fortunately, during the summer season in the Maldives, there is a tendency for southwest swells, which often result in clean ground swells that light up popular surf spots like Beacons.

The ideal swell direction ensures a clean break of the wave across the reef, despite it being slightly shallower than desired. This occurs consistently throughout all tide stages.

Kanda Muli

Kanda Muli is a popular surf spot located in Addu Atoll that can sometimes become overcrowded due to its high swell attraction. Kanda Muli is situated on the southeast side of the atoll and opinions may vary on the ideal time to visit this destination. Opinions vary on the usefulness of engaging in this activity during small swells. Some argue that it may not be worthwhile, while others contend that it can provide the ultimate relief during such conditions. A crucial aspect of any noteworthy boat excursion is the inclusion of a surf spot to discuss, even in a destination as idyllic as the Maldives Atolls.

Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives

Maldives Surf Resorts

While the primary focus may be on spending ample time surfing, having a comfortable and conducive place to unwind after a long day is equally critical. Therefore, when contemplating a surfing excursion to the Maldives, it is imperative to meticulously evaluate the resort’s location. It is advisable to factor in your preferred surfing spots before making accommodation reservations to facilitate easy access to the water and optimize wave-riding opportunities.

Due to the diverse range of travelers who frequent resorts in the Maldives, the traditional concept of a surf resort, whereby both the establishment and the majority of its guests are oriented towards surfing, does not apply. Instead, luxury resorts in the Maldives typically provide access to nearby waves, with some even featuring an exclusive wave break off the resort’s island. It is thus not accurate to describe the Maldives as having dedicated surf resorts.

The Maldives offers a wide selection of surf resorts ranging from boutique hotels to more budget-friendly options. If you fancy the ultimate island getaway experience, you can turn your dreams of staying in a water villa on stilts above the ocean into a reality, and enjoy uninterrupted views of the water throughout your stay.

The Maldives is a destination that presents a plethora of options when it comes to surf resorts. From exquisite boutique hotels to more affordable lodgings, there’s something for every traveler. But for those who want to experience the ultimate island escape, you can make your dreams come true by staying in a water villa perched on stilts above the ocean. Enjoy uninterrupted vistas of the pristine waters as far as the eye can see, creating a serene and unforgettable experience throughout your stay.

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Private island resorts

If you’re seeking a tropical escape that caters to both surfing and non-surfing partners, while still enjoying the luxury of excellent service, and amenities such as alcohol and Wi-Fi, then a surf resort is your ideal destination for a surf vacation. You can find surf resorts that provide access to the best waves and private breaks, such as Lohi’s left on Adaaran Hudhuranfushi and Pasta Point on Cinnamon Dhonveli. However, in the event that your resort doesn’t have a wave out front, or you want to explore beyond your local peak, you can opt for resorts that organize surf transfers. It’s important to note that the waves can get crowded, so it’s best to plan your surf sessions accordingly.

Local islands

For those seeking a more affordable option, a guesthouse can provide a budget-friendly alternative to expensive resorts. To fully immerse yourself in the authentic Maldivian experience, consider setting up your surf camp on one of the few islands that offer this type of accommodation, such as Thulusdhoo, Huraa, or Himmafushi. To ensure access to the best surf spots, make sure to book a package that includes boat transportation. It’s important to note that the Maldives is a Muslim country where alcohol is not available in public spaces and most beaches prohibit bikinis. Additionally, during Ramadan, restaurants may be closed during the day.

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Maldives Surf Charters

One of the many surf charters offered in the Maldives would be a fantastic choice for you if you want to maximize your time on the waves. You may optimize the time you spend surfing The Maldives by selecting a surf charter as opposed to being on dry ground. You may enjoy a brand-new vacation experience, meet new people, and do new activities by booking a trip on a surf charter.

You may go directly to the nicest reefs, which might not be reachable otherwise, by booking a trip on a surf charter. Your tour guide on the boat will be familiar with all of the greatest surfing locations and be able to take you directly to some of the more secluded, undiscovered sites where you can catch some amazing waves without having to contend with crowds.

Many surf charters in the Maldives can be booked for exclusive hire by grouping together with a bunch of friends. You can enjoy delicious meals and drinks, as well as chill out on the sundeck between surfing, making it an ideal choice for anyone wanting to get away from it all, and simply enjoy surfing.

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