LAST UPDATED 25/11/2007
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Level of surfing


Quality of surf


Call code


Net code





644 km


Tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March)


Difficult Access

Best Months

April - September




Rufiyaa (MVR) rufiyaa per US dollar - 12.8 (2006)

Time Zone


Special Requirements

Private Beaches, Special Pass / Permits, Strict Religious Observance


NASA: The Maldives; 2007

The Maldives are one of the great archipelagic countries of the world consisting of 26 atolls and an associated 1192 islets of which 200 are inhabited by local communties. Much of the recognised surf potential of the islands is focused on he south eastern atolls all easily reached from the capital Male.

The Maldives are ideally suited to exploration by boat though many resorts on the east coast can arrange trips to the local breaks for you. A great place to bring the wife and kids as the luxury resorts offer something for everyone. The Maldives is the flattest nation on earth, with much of the land being no more than 2.5 metres above sea level. The 2004 Boxing day tsunami caused 108 casualties and displaced 1 in 4 citizens.

Fourteen foot waves washes over many atolls and destroyed 21 resort islands. Many resorts have since rebuilt or are in the process of doing so. Today cartographers are in the process of remapping the Maldives as some areas of the coastline were not only destroyed but obliterated from the map, such was the force of the tsunami.


Shahee Ilyas: Male, capital of the Maldives; 2006

It is generally accepted that the first settlers on the atolls were Dravinian fishermen from south west India who migrated 1000’s of years ago. By the 12th century, the area came under the rule of the great Buddhist empire of Ashoka ruled from India. Eventually the presence of Islamic traders eventually promoted an alternative and from 1153 to 1968, the country was run as an independent Islamic Sultanate.

The country was at times a Portugues (1558), Dutch (1654) and then British (1887) colony until it gained independence in 1968. The population was very quick to realise the tourism potential of their country and the Maldives have been a recognised holiday destination since the 1970’s. A brief coup in 1988 saw a local businessman recruit Sri Lakan mercenaries to overthrow the government. Upon request, India intervened on behalf of the government and restored order to the country. The country has remained fairly stable since, though there have been riots as recent as 2004 in protest to the lack of democratic rights of the people. The current emcumbent government is presently in it’s sixth term of office.


Jolle: Maldives Reefscape; 2006

There are many resorts on the east coast that you will want to investigate in using as a base for your surfing on the islands. The known breaks are really divided into three regions. Male, north Male and south Male. Depending on how long you have, spending a week at each destination will place every named location no more than a 30 minute boat ride away.

Having said this, there are a wealth of un named option awaiting the explorer to the north of the islands. The west coast is not as well known for its surfing due to the monsoonal pattern of wind and swell not being conducive to good long period swell and superior surface conditions, the main season for surf on the east coast is generally considered to be April to June which falls within the changeover from the north eats to the south west monsoons, hence you maximise the chance for good long period north easterly swell with offshore south westerly winds – offering superior surfing conditions.

One of the best breaks in the islands is Pasta Point, you will have to be staying here though at either the Four Seasons or Tari Village Resort to surf it though. This break is right next to Sultans, one of the best right handers in the world.


Remi Jouan: Dhoni without lateen sails; 2006

You will be flying into Male. It doesen’t matter where you are coming from it is going to be a long flight. Most major carriers connect from Singapore. Once you arrive in Male you are likely to spend one night in a hotel depending on your arrival time. Next morning you will grab either a speedboat or a light plane depending on your final destination. Most of the resorts adjacent to the named breaks are reached easily by speedboat. Once you get to your resort you are likely to still need boat access to reach the waves.

The local boats called Dhonis can get pretty busy so it’s often worth booking one in advance – before all of the divers get them.


NOAA Satellite and Information Service: Pseudo-color visible image from October 19, 2005 at 1315Z

The Maldives experiences a tropical monsoonal climate, with two distinct seasons: dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon). The temperature varies very little throughout the year, while winds and rainfall are determined by the strength and position of the Asiatic high; a semi-permanent, subtropical area of high pressure over the Asian continent, and the equatorial trough of low pressure (inter-tropical convergence zone).  The Northeast monsoon extends from November to April and brings clear skies, and sunshine for most of Maldivian Atolls during the period. The southwest monsoon is the wet season and runs from May to October and brings with it days of rain. However being small land masses in the ocean and located almost on the equator, the monsoons are relatively mild.
Dry Season (November-April)

The southwest monsoon rain days end around November as the Asiatic high becomes stronger in response to the rapid cooling of the Asian landmass. The ITCZ is forced south and the airflow over Maldives becomes northerly. The north and central atolls get clear skies, sunshine and light winds for most of the period. The southern atolls have most of their rainfall during the early stages of the north-east monsoon, but dries our quickly. Late April sees a weakening of the Asiatic high and the ITCZ is on its northward journey again. Surface winds are generally from the northeast during this season around 5-10 knots. Sea breezes can occur though are dependent on size and orietation to the prevailing wind of the Atoll land masses. Rain falls 4-6 days per month, mainly during November and December. Temperatures are constant during the northeast monsoon with mean highs in 27C to 28C.  The mean lows hover around 25C.

Wet Season (May-October)

The South-West monsoon starts in the very south in May with a continued northward movement of the ITCZ through June.  By July, it is north of the Maldives.  The South-west monsoon brings rain, slightly stronger winds and the occasional thunderstorm. While the Maldives is open to the warm, moist, unstable air of the southwest monsoon, conditions are still favourable and combined with the consistent source of long period swell from south Indian ocean lows, make this the ideal time for a surf safari Winds are from the southwest in Maldives during this season which sees conditions offshore at the well known north Atoll breaks, and can set up classic big lefts at Pasta Point. Rain falls in the central and north up to 10-12 days during the season. In the south rain falls up to 14 days, though in between showers sees sunshine.  Temperatures are fairly constant during the season. The mean highs are 26C to 28C.  Mean lows are 25C to 26C.

where to stay

Thulhagiri Bungalows; 2006

Lots of options and a few budget places as well, obviously the best option is a boat cruising the islands which gives you the ability to check out a lot of waves during your visit but this isn’t for everyone – especially the family guys. 2 year olds get very bored on boats. Lohi’s and Pasta point are waves that you can actually paddle out to if you are staying there and there are a few resorts that have exclusive access to these breaks for guests.

Don’t feel sorry for the guys on the boats that can’t surf there though – they have plenty of options. It can be frustrating if you are on a boat and have paid a lot of money to be there only to turn up at a break with 20 boats in the water. Encourage the tour operator to try somewhere else until you are happy with the crowd levels – there are lots of options away from the named breaks that a good guide will know.

what to pack

Douglas Whitaker: Reef Booties; 2006

You wont need to bring a lot of clothing with you, most resorts are very casual and swimmers, sarongs and t-shirts are the norm. If you head into Male you will need to dress appropriately as it is a muslim country – nothing radical but the ladies may wish to put on a t-shirt. Sunscreen film, asprin and all the basics are available at the resorts but very expensive, best to bring your own if at all possible. Bring your own reef boots, these can be notorious to find in shops and few places have them for hire. Depending on how much snorkelling you are planning to do you may wish to bring your own mask and fins, all resorts have them but they can get booked out pretty quickly and some of the gear may be a little ‘tired’. Don’t even bother trying to bring alcohol into the country, it will be seized at the airport and held until your departure. It is not advisable to attempt to put your booze into another container, this is viewed as smuggling and it is likely you will be on the next plane back to Palookaville if you are caught.

dangers and warnings

Janderk: Titan Trigger fish, Maldives; 2006

The sun is extreme on the islands, both the latitude and the glare contribute to make sunburn a real danger for the unprotected. Make sure you wear reef boots whenever you venture near the coral, cuts can be very painful and may require additional treatment for infection weeks later. One of the fish species local to the reefs is the Trigger Fish. Trigger fish build ‘nests’ in shallow areas near coral and during breeding season can be very territorial. Snorkelers have lost everything from a chunk of flesh to a toe and even a separated achilles tendon due to these aggressive coral feeders, if you see one in the water, just move away and you will be fine.

Beware of sitting or sunbaking under coconut trees, especially if the wind is up. A coconut striking you on the head from 30 feet is an event that you will not forget in a hurry.

restaurants, shopping and nightlife

Jolle: Maldives Market Scene; 2006

Once you arrive at your resort you will be at the mercy of the buffet…pray you have a good cook or more importantly a decent caterer that has budget for the correct number of guests. I remember coming back from a surf to the buffet only to find that it had been destroyed by a horde of british tourists. All that was left was a little bit of fruit that was obviously too healthy for them. I remember a particularly portly gentlemen waddling past me saying “Was lucky I was got the last helping of pancakes did I, only me fifth en all.” Most resorts are fine however and will usually run a theme night. Italian one night, European the other etc etc. The Maldivian night is very good, lots of traditionally prepared fish and seafood curries…no pork unfortunately. The capital Male offers a few great restaurants, 24 Degrees Taj Exotica one of the more popular for ala carte dining. The salsa café does a great pizza,

The local masks and carvings are very beautiful. Be careful of purchasing any thing other than treated hardwood however as your own customs department may confiscate suspect items when you bring them home. The local sarongs are very popular with tourists and locals alike and available everywhere. There are a couple of excellent photographic coffee table books floating around at resort shops with great showcases of some of the atolls that would make a great souvenier. Plentry of fridge magnets, tea towels etc as well if you are into that stuff.

If you are into blowing your tits off until 4 in the morning and carrying on like a pork chop to the latest remix coming out of the UK then reconsider. This is not Ibeza. Most people come here to relax and either dive of surf during the day so plenty of people get to bed pretty early. The resorts offer their own entertainment, hermit crab races, bingo and karaoke – just roll with it and you will have a ball. Male has a few night spots but they are mainly just late night bars, lots of fun for the singles out there.

what to do when it's flat

Meal in the Maldives, pastries, fish curry, papadhu, grilled fish, rice and sweet black tea.; 2006

Diving and snorkelling are the most rewarding non-surf related past times. Sunset cruises and fishing will keep you busy as well. A cruise to one of your nearby islands will offer a great diversion for a day. Any resort will be able to tee this up for you with a little notice.

useful phrase guide

Siyajkak: The Ten Indus Script, Dholavira c.5000BC; 2007

How much are you paid each month? - Mahu musaara kihaa vareh?

How much money do the resort owners make from my stay in your beautiful country?
Aharen thiya reethi Dhivehi raajjeyge resorteh gai hurumun ethanuge verifaraathah kihaa varakah faisaa libeyne?

What is the cost of living? - Dhiri ulhumuge kharadhu kihaa vareh?

How much is your rent in Male'? - Male' gai kuli kihaa vareh?

Have any of your relatives been arrested? - Thimaage meehaku bandhu kurintha?

Is there any way I can help you with your struggle for freedom and democracy? - Minivan kamaai democracy hoadhumah aharennah dheveyne ehee akee kobaa?

Where is the nearest NSS office? I wish to complain about their arrest and torture practices. - Emme kairi NSS office kobaitha? Aharen beynun emeehun, meehun bandhu kurumaai aniyaa kuraa kamagu shakuvaa kuran.

Where is the Human Rights Commission chairman? I wish to complain about the NSS treatment of the people of Maldives. - Dhivehi rajjeyge insaanee haggu thathakaa behey ofeehuge veriyaa kobaitha? Aharen beynun NSS in meehunnah dhey theyrey kanthaththa kuraa gothaa beyehey gothun shakuvaa ufulan.

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