The best time for Maldives surfing trips is the Southern Hemisphere winter, which lasts from March ’til October. During this period, the roaring forties cause storms which bring the largest swells to the archipelago. The biggest waves are likely to occur in June, July and August. During this period, the wind is mainly offshore all day long. This paradise is exposed to the same swells as Indonesia is, except that its higher latitude and its South-East exposure offers cooler and less hardcore surfing. The typical madivian wave rolls up like most point breaks with workable corners, fun pockets and long rides. Very rarely will the sets wall up or close out the channels. The waves break on mostly dead reef, and very rarely will you come in contact with it unless you are surfing on a very low tide.
Surfing in the Maldives is tempered by the North-East and South-West monsoons. During the North-East monsoon (from March until April), conditions are optimal in the Southern Atolls. From May to October, during the South-West monsoon, the best surfing area is in the Northern atolls or the Central atolls. A Maldives surfing charter is one of the best ways to experience the many different waves and breaks. If you have any questions regarding our charter boats, what is included on the surf trip, or any other questions regarding the maldives surfing experience, please visit our FAQ page or contact us directly.
|Break Name||Left / Right||Best Size||Ability Level||Best Swell|
|Towns - Capital||Right||2-8ft||Advanced||Northeast|
|Break Name||Left / Right||Best Size||Ability Level||Best Swell|
|Outside Mikado||Right||2-8ft||Advanced||Southeast - Southwest|
|Break Name||Left / Right||Best Size||Ability Level||Best Swell|
|Tiger Stripes||Left||2-8ft||Medium||Southeast - Southwest|
|Antiques||Right||2-6ft||Medium||Northeast - Southwest|
|Two ways||Left||2-8ft||Medium||Southeast - Southwest|
|Kottey||Right||2-8ft||Advanced||South - Northwest|
|Air Equator Lefts||Left||2-8ft||Medium||Southwest|
|Shangri-la||Right||2-5ft||Medium||Southeast - Southwest|
|Madihera||Left||2-10ft||Medium||Southeast - Southwest|
The northern-most break in North Male Atoll, Chickens breaks off an island that was once known strictly for poultry. That was before Australian surfers Tony Hussein Hinde and Mark Scanlon’s boat shipwrecked nearby in the 70s. With the island’s poultry farm long gone, Chickens is now known as one of the longest and lively lefts in the Maldives.
A nearly mirror image of Jailbreaks, the left at Chickens is a reef break that can stretch almost three times longer than the left at Pasta Point, capable of producing over ten second barrels in the appropriate hands and conditions. The appropriate hands would be those capable of gliding through the strong current and then keeping up with the zipping lip. Considered the fastest wave in the area, Chickens basically has two main sections. The long shoulder starts at the second section, but the initial point hollows out nicely when the wind doesn’t interfere—a southwest wind really impacts your chances for that ten second tube.
Although fairly consistent, Chickens particularly favors clean groundswell from the southeast, meaning it performs best in the summer months. The wave handles all stages of the tide, but the best chances for getting that double-digit barrel are on wind-free days at incoming mid to high tide when there is the least amount of current. Since Chickens gets better with size—best at head high to double overhead—the ideal time to visit is between May to October, with the southeast swells of July and August providing the most consistent surf, typically ranging between 2-8 feet.
A world class right that breaks off an island housing a Coca-Cola factory, Cokes is also referred to as Colas—but strictly by Pepsi drinkers or anti-corporation activists. Soft drink loyalties aside, Cokes will quench the thirst of even the most barrel-starved. A hollow, pounding righthander, Cokes is the best big wave spot in the area, and the poster wave of the North Male Atoll.
Although shorter than the left at nearby Chickens or the right at Jailbreaks, Cokes has two really good sections that provide consistent, if brief, shelter from the heat of the Maldivian sun. The steep and heavy takeoff on the outside section guarantees quick shade time, followed by an even wider tube on the inside—compliments of the shallow reef. Although this is not the place you want to get caught on the inside, the inside section lines you up to make a shot for the channel, leading most surfers to overlook the sharp reef and charge the second section as well.
The location of the break makes Cokes consistently bigger than anywhere else, but that benefit comes with the price of being more susceptible to the southwest wind. It’s ideal during a straight south swell with northwest winds and head high to double overhead waves. Like Chickens, it is best on mid to high tide when the dreaded current is a little more forgiving, but a larger swell usually makes low tide manageable. This is one of those waves you must add to your boat trip schedule. Cokes is definitely most enjoyed during the magical Maldivian months from March to October that bring both consistency and size—peaking in July and August.
Here on the right hand side, we have beautiful pictures from Yannick de Jager (Protest rider) getting covered during an epic session at Cokes.
Named after the Lohifushi Island it breaks off of, Lohis is comparable to Pasta Point in not only having hosted its fair share of WQS events, but also in housing an on-island resort that claims exclusive rights to the break. It is another incredible lefthander with a less than welcoming crowd. But since the resort onshore at Lohis doesn’t enforce as strict of a cap on the amount of surfers that can stay there, it tends to get much more crowded than Pasta Point.
Located to the north of Ninja’s (but on a different island), the left at Lohis lacks Pasta’s perfection but tends to stretch much longer. Its two main sections are both a little more inconsistent than some of the surrounding waves, and only a big southeast swell and high tides really connect them together. When they do connect they provide North Male Atoll’s trademark barrel ride—long and hollow. The outside section holds up much better in the monsoon winds, and breaks more consistently than the inside section. The inside section can turn to slosh and chop pretty quick when the winds get out of control and the strong current only adds to that hazard.
Lohis is definitely surfable at all stages of the tide, while reacting best to northwest and northeast offshore winds, and straight south and southwest swells. Head high to double overhead is Lohis at its best with the May to October season most ideal, although the bigger months—June, July, and August—also have the disadvantage of bringing the wind that can cause problems for the inside section.
Although the name would seem to suggest that one need ninja-like skills to survive the potential pounding that this break might provide, Ninjas actually provides smaller waves that seem more characteristic of its less common name Piddlies (the name Ninjas is the result of the breaks traditional popularity with Japanese surfers).
North Male Atoll’s premiere location for longboarders and beginners, Ninjas is a righthander that breaks slower and with less shape than any of the surrounding waves. It even closes out when it gets over shoulder high, so anything 4 feet and under is perfect. A little less consistent and a lot shiftier than some of the other breaks, it is definitely a wave for those who like to cruise and improvise—its imperfections actually tend to be its main attraction. Because the takeoffs change and increase depending on the swell and tide, it is not uncommon to see one wave with several different takeoffs and different surfers each getting their own speedy drop-in.
Of course, the imperfections and unpredictability can also be a bit dangerous, especially if the waves are overhead and start closing out—which might be the only time the name Ninjas actually suits the break itself. It is definitely best with a west to northwest wind, and a moderate south swell, as too much swell really turns it into a mess. This does mean, however, that while it benefits from March to October’s southern swells, it is one of the few waves that does not always benefit from the June, July, and August increase in size.
Pasta Point is the wave-machine of North Male Atoll. Less affected by wind than any of the other spots, this reef break consistently pumps out pristine lefthanders of all sizes. Like any good wave-machine, Pasta’s long beautiful waves typically stay in the 4-6 feet range, but even in 1-2 foot waves it still breaks exactly the same. Although undeterred by a little onshore wind, the best time for Pasta is between May and August when the south to southwest trade winds keep the winds offshore and the southern swells are most consistent.
The former home to the Sri Lankan Airlines Pro WQS event, Pasta Point has three sections capable of providing over a 100 yard ride when done right. The initial takeoff section leads to what is naturally termed Macaroni Bowl, which spits you out for a cutback or some top turns before the fast and shallow end section known as Lockjaws—a subtle reminder to avoid the shallow reef of this section if you want to continue enjoying your macaroni.
Unlike the other North Male Atoll waves that break off of uninhabited islands, Pasta Point has long been intertwined with its onshore location. Taking its name from an Italian resort once located there (which had a tendency for dumping leftover noodles in the surf), the Chaaya Dhonveli Resort now located on shore claims exclusive access to the break and only allows 30 surfers to stay there at a time. Regardless of what Maldivian water regulations may stipulate, there is a strong, "if you don't stay here you don’t surf here"" vibe. Pasta Point is delicious, but exclusive.
Sultans location next to Honkey’s puts the uninhabited island of Thamburudhoo, which they both break off of, in the running for the most perfect island in the world—luckily the beach and the entire atoll are government property and remain unrestricted. Sultans righthander on one side and Honkey’s lefthander on the other makes it a double threat that is hard to beat, especially when you consider that if Honkey’s is onshore, Sultans is offshore. This is that location you have been dreaming about—it always has something to surf.
Sultans individual claim to fame is that it never closes out. Never. In big waves or in in small waves it’s always fit for royalty as the name suggests. The takeoff can actually start behind the peak, which creates a nice open wall for some slashing and bashing before the wave meets the reef along the corner of the island on the inside and slingshots into that speedy and spacious tube that refuses to close out. Always rideable, the waves here are typically in the 4 to 6 feet range, but reach ideal form at about 8 feet.
An appetite for size means Sultans, like most of North Male Atoll, is best in the March to October surf season, especially June, July, and August. Another one of the more consistent waves in the area, it peaks at high tide, with a solid southeast swell and any wind from the west to north—this is a break you must ride during your surf trip.
Taking its name from the earliest and most frequent visitor(s), the Honky’s lefthander wonderfully complements Sultans (its righthanded sisterwave), while tending to outshine its sibling on a regular basis. A long, wrapping, left, Honky’s competes for the best wave in North Male Atoll when all conditions are met.
The takeoff is about 100 yards south of Sultans along the same reef, although this wave marries the reef’s semi-circular shape as it breaks and wraps around almost 90 degrees by the time you pull out. The ride can get well over 100 yards long, building in size as it moves inside. The inside section, known as the Ledge or Fred’s Ledge, jacks up almost two feet higher than the initial peak, often surprising its riders and creating unforgettable barrels—nothing quite like a last second boost on your way into the tube.
Best on the low tide (unless the swell is huge), Honky’s reaches perfection in the head high to double overhead range most common during the March to October season. Although it reacts best to straight south swells and north to northeast winds, Honky’s is the only wave that works on an east-northeast (ENE) wind—one of those potentially session-saving details that are always important to commit to memory. One of Honkey’s only downsides is the stubborn current that tends to plague the uninhabited island of Thamburudhoo, impacting both Honky’s and Sultans. This is a favorite destination for most of our surf charters, but be sure to squeeze paddling training into your pre-trip plans.
Jailbreaks was off-limits for years due to its location, churning out pristine right-handed barrels for hundreds of meters that only the daring risked trespassing to surf. Those few locals who surfed Jailbreaks said there was one key to avoid getting caught—drop in deep from the takeoff and stay covered up. The rights were so hollow and lined up that they could hide under the lip while they passed in front of the Maldives National Jail and kick out to open waters every time.
Today, there’s no need to trespass; Surfatoll offers surf charters that take you right up to Jailbreaks and get you shacked…legally. Located in North Male Atoll, this is an exposed reef break with consistent surf throughout each swell with the best waves during spring and into late summer. Expect the largest waves at Jailbreaks during June, July, and August when conditions are consistently offshore and the dominant swell direction is south-southeast (SSE).
During spring and summer you can expect waves in the waist high to a couple feet overhead range (2 to 8 feet), though late summer swells typically bring larger surf. The reef at Jailbreaks offers up a variety of waves depending on where you set your takeoff point, ranging from open and mellow walls you can hack and slash your way down to hollow barrels with a respectable lip. The popular takeoff spot is steep and fast but sets you up for the perfect right. Though the wave stays good all day long here, the best waves will be had on a rising tide with a 6 to 8 foot swell.
Towns breaks on the eastern reef of Male, the capital and most densely populated island in the Maldives. Its location on Male means it is a popular spot with the locals, and you will see everybody out here on shortboards, longboards, and boogie boards. The Towns break is also accessible from the shore, so this is one of the few spots you don’t need a boat to get to, and it makes it easy to share a session with Male’s rising generation of shredders—an opportunity that should not be passed over lightly, even on a trip in search of utterly abandoned peaks.
Towns, also called Raalhugandu, is essentially a couple of shifting peaks that break both left and right. It is best in a north or northwest wind, and although it doesn’t stretch as long as some of the other breaks, it catches its fair share of the southeastern swell. If you find yourself on Male for any length of time, be sure to check out this spot during your Maldives surf trip.
Twin Peaks is a sectiony left with a surprise ending when the right swell and wind delivers. Located in Southern Male, Twin Peaks is situated in what seems like the perfect spot for maximum swell exposure and often picks up more swell than the other breaks in the Southern Atolls. The wave here is best with a strong southern swell and as high a tide as you can get, but when those conditions combine with a good northern wind you’ll have wide open lefts that you can rip from top to bottom. Towards the end of your ride the wave at Twin Peaks often kicks back up and offers a beautiful section to end on.
Due to its location you can only access this break by boat, but this also means Twin Peaks is less crowded and you can usually score a session with just your friends. This break is a favorite spot for surfers and one you have to experience yourself.
Located near the Kandooma Resort, Natives is another one of those breaks known by different names depending on who you ask. Sometimes called Foxys and sometimes called Natives, in the right conditions nobody is really concerned about the name, as this wave can barrel up as nice and stretch as long as some of the best North Male Atoll waves. Although it tends to be smaller than the North Male Atoll breaks, it will definitely be less crowded than North Male Atoll when a big summer swell is pumping through. And make no mistake, when a solid southeast summer swell meets the northwest wind, this wave can stretch to 150 meters and definitely provide you with that perfect ride you flew halfway across the world and scheduled a surf charter for.
While most of the breaks in the Maldivian Atolls could be called "Riptides", this speedy righthander has obtained exclusive rights to the name—and definitely earns it. The Riptides break is located near the inhabited Guraidhoo Island, the wave actually breaks off of a small reef in the middle of the channel. It breaks pretty close to the southern side of Guraidhoo, but remember the name and don’t be fooled by the close proximity. The strong currents pretty much make a dhoni transfer the only way to access the wave. Those who have attempted to paddle out to it have mostly lived to tell the tale—they just tell it from a dhoni after being rescued from the open sea.
In spite of the famously strong currents, the Riptides wave itself is another one of those long Maldivian waves that led you to Google Maldives boat trips in the first place. Since it breaks in the middle of the channel, just catching waves here is an extraordinary experience. Some of the sections do hollow out occasionally, but the break mostly provides long open waves perfect for longboarding, while also breaking fast enough to keep shortboarders more than satisfied—a good wave for all levels. It breaks best during a south swell with southwest or west winds.
Like your local bowling alley, “Bowling Alley” is the break on the west coast of Thaa Atoll where you can have very good times. It is that reliable deep-water peak that stays in the range of 3-10 feet and remains consistent through any stage of the tide. It breaks best with some east wind during a southwest swell, closing out onto a reef inside the atoll.
This is one of the best spots to find great waves in a truly picturesque setting, a must ride wave during your surf charter even though the right wind conditions to surf it are difficult to get. If you have ground South West swell with South West wind don’t hesitate and and ask the captain to go to Bowling Alley.
Malik’s is that incredible wave that doesn’t always want to cooperate and located on the inhabited island of Hirilandhoo. Malik’s has its good days and it has its bad days. It is not so much the tide as it is the swell and wind direction. Malik’s loves a south to southwest swell and easterly winds, the combination of the two being the trick to finding Malik’s on a good day—make that potentially incredible day. A cooperating Malik’s means a fast lefthander that can range anywhere from 3-10 feet, with nearly perfect Maldivian barrels — a must ride wave during your boat trip in the central atolls.
If you are not enough people to charter a boat in this region (usually 8 people), make sure to visit our shared charters page to check if there is an open cruise to join. Fianally remember that the best time to surf in the central atolls is between May and October during the South-West monsoon.
The inside and outside of Mikado are so different they are really considered two different spots. Outside Mikado is a fast and section-filled wave that closes out at the end over some pretty uneven reef. The wave is one of the more powerful in the area, so you definitely want to watch this wave break a time or two before dropping in and charging down the line toward that reef. The wave increases in size and speed as it moves inside, meaning a great wave for power surfers, but the scattered reef makes it really hard to surf when crowded.
Outside Mikado tends to typically range between 2-8 feet, but receives a good amount of swell—which it handles pretty well. The wave is best at mid to high tide, during a southeast or southwest swell, when the winds are either calm or lightly blowing from the north or northwest. The fewer people at this spot the better, although if it is crowded there is usually a phantom left nearby with long streaking sections and occasional barrels that lights up with big swell.
Inside Mikado is the perfect wraparound righthander you will find just to the east of Outside Mikado. The wave doesn’t really work on a low tide, meaning it is a little inconsistent, but it has the potential to be a total trip changer when it delivers on a mid to high tide. The waves are typically between 2-6 feet, and peel down the line like a landscape painting, with short but pristine barrel sections.
Inside Mikado is better protected by Kanimeedhoo Island than Outside Mikado, and the chances for some barrel-time shade increase when the southwest wind starts blowing in from offshore during a south or southwest swell. The picture perfect line up will smear, however, if the west or northwest winds pick up.
Finnimas might end up being the reason you pack an extra duplicate board . . . or two. Despite the exposed reef, the barrels at Finnimas keep surfers coming back for more. Like Malik’s, this lefthand wave is also a little "finicky," though that often results in a righthand wave breaking across the nearby pass, so watch for that. The left really needs a north or northeast wind to break properly, but it can handle northwest breeze if the breeze isn’t too heavy. The wave tends to be on the smaller side, ranging from 2-10 feet, typically reacting well with a southeast or even southwest swell. Since it is so shallow, you want to make sure the conditions are right and the tide isn’t too low.
True to its name, Machine is usually the best option in the Laamu Atoll. Although locals will tell you the name is not only because the spot breaks like a machine, but also because it requires machine-like physical conditioning in order to be surfed. The lack of a channel and the high seawall the waves breaks against pretty much necessitate constant paddling—both when catching the waves, and then escaping the waves once you’ve enter the crunch zone. The coral reef only adds to the hazard, as you can dive deep, but no too deep.
Despite the amount of work it requires, Machine is probably the best righthander in the area, with the crowd to prove it, especially when it is really firing. It lights up pretty regularly in medium to larger southeast or even straight south swells—whenever there is enough water to wrap through the north of the island pass. The winding wave typically ranges from two to six feet, but stays rideable on even the smallest of swells, and in any stage of the tide. It barrels up best on an incoming tide in a westerly wind, although an incoming tide is also when the current and rips are the strongest. Machine is another spot that requires a lot of work, but always has something to surf.
Refugee's Rights is the nearby alternative to Lefts for the restless natural footer and/or goofy footer looking to perfect their rail-grab drop-in. It handles the southwest swell better than Lefts, but needs some size to work properly. Yet, even when working properly, Refugee’s Rights is still a break only suited for those need-for-speed surfers who thrive on racing the close-out.
Rights is actually one of the more dangerous waves you’ll encounter in the Maldives surf. The take-off is fast and steep, pitching onto an extremely shallow and uneven reef. If you make the drop-in and snap into the pocket, it is a pretty pristine barrel ride that spits along the whole way and shoots you out like a rocket. Yet, even though it breaks pretty fluidly, it is still a hang-on-for-dear-life kind of ride—not for the faint at heart. Typically ranging from two to eight feet, Rights breaks in any stage of the tide, but gets really good during any southern swell with any westerly wind.
Refugee's Lefts are just across the pass to the north of Bedhuge on the east-facing side of Laamu Atoll. The “s” at the end of “Lefts” is more than just slang or a forgotten apostrophe—a few different lefthanded peaks break here. The lefts that roll through here are short and shifty, but enough to attract a lot of interest. A southeast swell can cause the different peaks to line up, but the direction needs to be pretty specific. Most of the time the waves are quick bombs that close out pretty quick—a big drop-in followed by a big splash is pretty much the norm.
Refugees Lefts typically ranges from two to six feet, but picks up a little more swell than other surrounding spots—making the already heavy waves all the more powerful. Although ideal conditions are a solid southeast swell, it can still be a whole lot of fun during any southern swell, with any stage of the tide, and a northerly wind. The break is also called Froggie because the nearby island host very noisy frogs…
More remote than secret, Bedhuge is a righthander that—like many of the Maldives best spots—is really only accessible by surf charter. Located on the east-facing shore of Laamu Atoll, the wave breaks south of Refugee’s Lefts. Although Bedhuge tends to only range between two to four feet, it is often considered the favorite stop of a Maldives surf trip.
This “perfect right,” wraps around the atoll with a consistency the natural footers dream about, and goofy footers can’t help but love practicing their backhand on. While it is a bit remote, it is definitely worth the effort, especially on a big southeast swell with any westerly wind. Although it works in any tide, a little lower tide usually leads to good things and the cleaner the swell the better.
Ying Yang is a powerful righthander first surfed on a 1996 Maldives boat trip headlined by Pat O’Connell and Satoshi Sekino. Boat charters have been making it a regular stop ever since, and not just because one of the Endless Summer guys surfed it—it’s also the most consistent wave in the Laamu Atoll area.
Located on the southeast side of the atoll, the wave transitions between a mellow outside and a tubular inside, divided by the type of corner that makes the Maldivian Atolls so unique. The outside wall breaks in deep water, so it is a safe wave that forms pretty slow and starts off really mellow as it bends into the corner. When it hits the corner it briefly mushes out, but then wraps around into a long and speedy inside barrel. The bigger the wave the thicker it barrels, providing some serious shade for those who can avoid the punishing sections.
Although it meets up as one wave, ideal conditions are different for the outside and inside portions of the wave. Northwest winds blow out the inside wave, while the deep-water outside holds up pretty well. On the other hand, southwest winds chop up the outside wave, while really igniting the inside section. It is definitely one of those waves where you kind of have to show up to see what you got, but—ranging from 2 to 12 feet and breaking in any tide—there is always something. Altogether Ying Yang is probably best in a strong southeast swell, with the wind directly west, if at all.
To the northeast of Love Charms, in a narrow inlet between the islands of Gan and Gadhdoo, a lefthander breaks across a reef adorned with narrow gouges that look like stripes on a tiger. Tiger Stripes, sometimes referred to as Rockets, is an open lefthander that doesn’t get as hollow as some of the other nearby waves, but makes up for that with long and consistent carvable walls, fit for a variety of surfers and fun in a variety of conditions.
Although Tiger Stripes is pretty unimpressive when small, it luckily ends up being a lot bigger than everywhere else. After a tricky takeoff, the wave leads into a steep wall that speeds up as it turns the corner to an inside section that wraps around and occasionally barrels before mushing out into the channel.
Regularly noted for consistency, Tiger Stripes is the type of wave that—if there is swell—you can always count on to perform. It is a notoriously easygoing and cooperative wave, handling all stages of the tide and any variation of southerly swells, while breaking best during a southeast swell with northerly winds. It typically ranges from two to eight feet in size, but is definitely better the bigger the swell—a prime option when everywhere else is closing out.
Located in the same inlet between the islands of Gan and Gadhdoo, Antiques matches every left that Tiger Stripes pumps out with a smaller, and more forgiving righthander. As the name indicates, Antiques is slightly less fierce than its nearby sister wave but almost as consistent.
Ranging in size between two to six feet, Antiques shares Tiger Stripes consistency, but lacks its power and size—making it a pretty good spot for beginners and intermediate surfers, especially natural footers.
Similar to Two Ways, the close proximity of these two waves breaking in opposite directions leads this area to be another boat trip and surf charter favorite, which sometimes can lead to crowds, but nothing too unreasonable when you are dealing with two separate peaks. Like Tiger Stripes, Antiques nearly always breaks at any stage of the tide, but gets particularly noteworthy during a larger southerly swell, with northwest winds. This might not be the wave you sail out to on its own, but the close proximity to Tiger Stripes makes this narrow little inlet pass a real treasure.
Love Charms is Huvadhoo Atoll’s lovely little patch of lefthanders that you can always count on. Located right next to Two Ways, Love Charms is a love letter to all you goofy footers out there who spent or spend countless hours drawing left-breaking waves in the corner of your notebooks. This place is always breaking, and in the right conditions can churn out some really amazing waves.
Love Charms is one of the few waves in Huvadhoo that transforms entirely depending on both the tide and the size of the swell. On a lower tide, during a smaller swell, Love Charms breaks up into two distinct sections—which is arguably the best case scenario. Bigger swells and higher tide tend to connect the waves into a long and hollow wall that can offer an incredibly long and hollow ride, if it holds up down the line—but even if the wave sections off the inside barrels up into protected pockets.
Breaking in any stage of the tide, and handling pretty much any swell size or wind direction, Love Charms is at its best when breaking between two to ten feet, with northwest winds during any southerly swell.
Booga Reef, called Two Ways because it breaks to the left and the right, is located just across the pass from Five Islands. Really similar to Sultans and Honky’s in North Male Atoll—Two Ways (as the name promises) offers two incredible waves that peel in two different directions from the same southern point of the island. Two Ways is the kind of set up that surfers everywhere have been imagining for years, but never thought quite possible. Basically, Booga Reef is one of the many stops along your Maldives surf trip where dreams come true.
As opposed to the shallow and speedy surrounding waves, Two Ways offers slower waves that peel nice and easy through deeper water, a little less powerful, but great for intermediate surfers hoping to practice some more technical maneuvers that the three-second rides at their local break have not allowed. Protected a little bit more than the lefthander, the right is usually a bit bigger and holds its shape a little better than the left, but it also requires a bigger swell to reach its protected position.
With waves that typically range between three to six feet, Two Ways is that place on the Southern Atoll boat trip that everyone remembers with the word “fun” because it is a good spot for all levels and usually offers surf charters the best refuge when the southerly facing reefs are blown out or simply out of control. This, of course, means an increase in crowds, but remember you are dealing with two perfect waves—so there’s always the chance everyone else will be lining up for the righthanders, while you pull into left after left of pure bliss. Since it breaks in all levels of the tide, be sure to check this spot out during a southerly swell and in northerly winds to find it at its best.
Similar to Blue Bowls, Five Islands is a long righthander well protected from south to southwest winds. More of a cannon than Blue Bowls, Five Islands throws harder and hollows out more as it breaks along the reef. Breaking in a series of different sections, the wave needs a good southerly swell to combine all the sections, but creates one of the longest and cleanest barrel rides in the Southern Atolls when it does.
The outside section forces a deep take off, which is a little challenging but provides the necessary speed to make the subsequent sections. After the takeoff it is off to the races, and the surfer to make the most sections wins not only an epic wave, but an easier paddle back out.
Five Islands can handle the biggest swells and all stages of the tide, but typically ranges from two to eight feet and is best at mid to high tide—which also helps you avoid the shallow reef on the inside. If you are thirsting for tubes, Five Islands is one of the more consistent barrel spots in the Southern Atolls.
Blue Bowls is a favorite stop for boat charters in the Maldives, not only because it’s a long and smooth righthander, but also because anchoring there means an opportunity to meet the local population and spend time in the local village—one of the great advantages to having amazing waves in a truly unique location.
Also known as Voodoos, Blue Bowls is a flexible right that is unusually protected from onshore winds, due to being tucked away inside the pass between Castaways and Five Islands. More of a point style wave, this protected peak wraps smoothly around the point before opening up into a series of bowls (hence the name). The sections repeatedly bowl up into wide and open faces leading to a nice long ride, fit for shortboard shredders, but mellow enough for funboards and longboards.
The protected setting from the wind makes Blue Bowls almost always surfable, especially since it handles all stages of the tide really well. Blue Bowls ranges between three to eight feet but is particularly ideal at four to six feet, with westerly wind during a southeast or southwest swell. This is definitely the place to head towards if unsure about everywhere else.
In line with the name, Beacons is the first spot surf charters usually stop at when traveling to Huvadhoo Atoll from the central atolls. Yet, even though it is first, it may not be the best break to ease into your Maldives surf trip, as many consider it the most powerful wave in the Maldives.
An exposed reef break, Beacons is a righthander that is both fierce and fickle. While consistently providing surf, it is really only surfable in a clean southwest swell. Swells from any other direction almost always lead to straight close-outs onto an unfriendly and unrelenting coral reef. Thankfully Maldivian summers are partial to southwest swells, and Beacons often lights up during the clean ground swells of summer.
Although the reef is always a little shallower than preferred, the right swell direction causes the wave to break cleanly down the reef in all stages of the tide. When the northerly wind meets that southwest swell, Beacons barrels up into the type of wave you have set as your computer screensaver—beastly, hollow, and beautiful. Ranging from two to ten feet, Beacons is certainly not the safest wave to surf in the Maldives, but it may very well be the most exciting—especially when it gets big.
Kottey, some times referred to as Kottey Hithadhoo or just Hithadhoo, is located on the Northwest shores of Addu Atoll. This unique little island has a thriving population with some of the largest villages in the Maldives. Up until 1976, the British Royal Air Force had a military base on Addu and as a result, the island has paved roads making it easy to get to most the breaks from the land. Unfortunately, the military base and the tourists weren’t totally ocean minded and Kottey sits in front of a garbage dump and often muddy lagoon. But recent efforts have helped to erase those issues, leaving a large reef break with waves that often wedge up over the coral.
The main wave at Kottey is a left that works best with southern or eastern winds and a medium tide. Like most of Addu, Kottey has large swell exposure, meaning it churns out consistent, powerful waves due to those Indian Ocean swells. During the winter (April to October) swells average 4 to 12 feet and tend to back down to 2 to 6 feet during the summer months. Because of its tendency to wedge up, the wave at Kottey breaks quickly and the lip can get heavy. Since Addu is the southern most Atoll in the Maldives, the line ups aren’t very crowded and you can often enjoy Kottey with just your friends.
A two hour plus dhoni ride from Kanda Muli leads you to a largely unridden spot known as Air Equator Lefts. Located on the northeast point of Meedhoo Island, these fast and full barrels were first spotted by Andy Burr, the Air Equator airline pilot who became known as one of the first “local surfers” of the southern atolls. The remote location of Air Equator Lefts means it is almost never ridden and very few people come back reporting anything other than solitary barrels, zipping down the line one after another begging for some attention.
After a two hour plus dhoni ride, this is one of those spots you’re going to surf no matter what it looks like, but it always helps to know a little about what you’re heading towards. As a way of preview, it typically ranges from two to six feet, breaks over dead coral, and is best with a southerly swell. Northwest winds are offshore, and it handles all stages of the tide, so it is definitely one of those breaks you’d expect to be better more often than worse.
Kanda Muli is the swell magnet of Addu Atoll that cannot always handle the amount of swell it attracts. Located on the southeast side of the atoll, opinions differ on when Kanda Muli is worth checking out. Some feel it is not worth bothering with in small swells, while others claim it is the best reprieve during small swells. Hey, every respectable boat trip needs a surf spot to argue about—even in a place as perfect as the Maldives Atolls.
The reef Kanda Muli breaks off is too straight for a point break, so it leads to a few different peaks instead of one killer. The peaks break both left and right, but neither of them last very long. A small swell with any northerly wind means a ton of short but surfable peaks, which can be a lot of fun (especially the lefts), but not quite screaming barrels. This lefthander picks up a bit more during larger swells, when the reef line starts breaking a little more fully, creating fast and heavy walls that pound right into the safety of the lagoon. Unfavorable side winds from the east or west, and too low of a tide can, however, end up making this powerful left nearly unrideable.
Ultimately, Kanda Muli is a reef break that typically ranges between two to four feet, and breaks best during mid to high tide on a southern swell with northwesterly winds. You’ll have to surf it to get an opinion on the debate over when it is best.
Villingili Island also houses the Shangri-la Resort, which has been trying to pull a Pasta Point and claim exclusive rights to one of the best peaks in Addu Atoll. Although it is not as defined as Pasta Point, Shangri-la Resort wants to enforce a strict “you can only surf here if you stay here” policy. If you get the chance, try and take advantage of any uncertainty and hit this spot—it will be one of the more memorable moments of your surf trip.
Taking its name from the adjacent resort, Shangri-la is a clean righthander that wraps around the reef on the east coast of the island. It breaks best during a solid southerly swell, but is unusual in also benefitting from a more easterly swell direction as well. Ranging between two to five feet, it tends to break the best and get the most size during the summer months. It breaks at any stage of the tide, so if any open opportunity to surf Shangri-la presents itself, definitely jump on it.
To the east of Approach Lights on the south side of Villingili Island, off the tip of Madihera islet, a pristine lefthander starts out at the point and wraps all the way into the inner lagoon. A long and sectiony wave, Madihera can turn from good to incredible with a sudden change in the wind.
Particularly susceptible to the wind, Madihera is a place you want to convince the rest of the passengers on your boat charter to hit early before the winds pick up too strong. It picks up a ton of swell but needs northeasterly winds to make the whole wave rideable. Any southerly or even northwest wind will totally kill the heavier barrels on the outside. The speedy, if smaller, inside waves, however, can suddenly light up during southeast winds, so keep your eyes open. The direction of the wind should definitely judge what part of the wave you want to campout on.
Madihera’s uneven reef bottom causes it to change as it breaks, meaning it offers a lot of variety as it wraps into the lagoon. The several different sections also lead to several different takeoff points, so it can be an entirely different wave depending on when and where you decide to drop-in. The sections break in long speedy walls that barrel up the heaviest where the wave hits the reef from deep water. The changes in the reef mean the wave transitions from absolute pounding to mushing out within a few feet. Typically breaking between two to ten feet and in all stages of the tide, Madihera always has a little something—and on occasion that something is incredible.
There is an airport runway on the beach in front of this spot, with approach lights that not only help guide airplanes to a safe landing, but also orient surfers in the water on where to be in order to catch the most surfable section of this long and exposed righthander. Although it breaks down along the live coral reef, the runway approach lights really mark the best place to drop-in and snag the more rideable end section.
Approach Lights’ location on the southern tip of Addu Atoll exposes it to potentially harsh southern winds, but also opens it up to receive the full force of the summer’s southern swells—fortunate for a place that craves size. Since any wind with a northerly direction ends up being offshore, this is a great spot to visit later in the season when the northerly winds meet some of the best southern swells.
Typically ranging from two to ten feet, Approach Lights gets pretty intense at anything over head, as the outside sets start to throw harder and faster with the increased volume. It is always best and safest at high tides, especially during a big swell when you want as much cushion between you and the shallow reef as possible. Walking to this spot from Equator Village and paddling across the wide lagoon is an option, but it is a long trek and not nearly as safe as using a dhoni or surf charter, which can dump you straight into the lineup and save you much needed energy.