Friday, July 30, 2010

SURF CONDITIONS, July 30th, 2010

The wildness of the Indian Ocean has calmed down, the wind and rain seem to have subsided for the time being and everything is back to normal on Male, the island capital of the Maldives.

Got a call from James mid-morning and snuck down to Male Point (‘Towns’) to have a look at conditions. With the sun out, a light westerly blowing and 2-3ft swell it was a great opportunity to get into the waves after the massive conditions of the last week. I spent perhaps an hour catching cheeky lefts with a young Brazilian girl called Mariana and then went off to meet my girlfriend for lunch. Life is good in the archipelago.

“Boat-trips (Surf In Maldives Pvt Ltd.) and the occasional surf camp are the only ways to surf this unique group of 1,200 coral islands based around 26 atolls. Typically the reefs passes are deeper than in Indonesia and the South Pacific with classic set-ups abounding. Swells travelling south-west across to Indonesia bestow part of their energy on this chain before continuing their journey. Separated into the North Atolls and South Atolls (the south has the most spots) the region boasts year-round swell with high period being March to April. Two monsoon seasons, the north-east monsoon from December to April and the south west monsoon, from May to October breaks up the surfing season shifting the focus from north to south accordingly. Predominantly reef-passes, waves like Sultans and Tiger Stripes have developed deserved reputations for epic barrels and raw Indian Ocean power. Sea temperatures remain steady at about 27ºC or 81ºF.” Magic Seaweed

Mental waves in the Maldives ~ And a return to Shutter Island ~

Guraidhoo, South Male Atoll – Stepped off the ferry to the sights and sounds of another beautiful evening in the rural islands; surfboards being off-loaded, a man-made tidal pool with sharks and turtles, the chatter of locals and the gentle murmur of the Imam’s call to prayer. Apart from the island being home to the local mental asylum and a few scary looking loafers, the streets looked relatively safe and clean and the waves curled and crashed at Riptides and Natives breaks, in the distance.

Four English folk, two locals, a Brazilian, a Finn, a Sri Lankan and a South African clambered aboard a local ferry at 13h30 local time yesterday, lightly laden apart from a barrage of boards of all shapes and sizes. Reef breaks were everywhere; with The Taj Exotica, Embudu Island Resort and Anantara all showing off waves. Our local Saturday surf dhoni always heads for the same North Atoll breaks and we decided there and then that the next time there was any big swell around we would definitely venture due south.

After a very relaxing and uneventful boat ride south, we docked at Guraidhoo at 15h30. Bags and boards were off-loaded and dumped at our accommodation for the night and within half an hour of coming ashore, we were whisked off to meet one of the local Guest House owner we were hoping to do business with in the future. Once done with business it was time to get down to some serious wave hunting and we climbed aboard what looked like the original catamaran to be taken across to the waiting surf dhoni. The original plan was to check out Riptides, the Guraidhoo home break, but the waves were so good at Natives (Kandooma Resort corner) that we stopped right there and splashed in. An Aussie, a Norwegian, an incredibly beautiful Danish lass and heavy, 6ft barrels greeted us. Life was good! With a good two hours of banter, epic sets and wipe outs requiring a good dosage of testicular fortitude we pulled ourselves back aboard the waiting dhoni and set-off, quite literally, into the setting sun.

Once back amongst the group, a few fresh fish were purchased along with the necessary spices, as we looked forward to another cracker evening out amongst the palm fronds of the tropics.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Surfing in the Maldives need not be a bank breaking experience. Exotic sunrises, tropical waters and crystal, clear barreling waves are, after all, free for everybody to enjoy. So with a few decent boards and a bit of local knowledge, there is the potential to piece together not just an incredible surf trip, but also the experience of a lifetime.

There are a number of options available to you as a wave seeking traveler in The Maldives. The options range from days spent amongst locals on the Male break, a day trip on the surf dhoni, out to reefs within an hour away, overnight stays at the more remote surf spots and sea-plane trips for those also wanting to chase the more distant breaks to the south.