David Flide is a British surfer and a longtime fan of the Maldives. However, his eighth trip to the archipelago was not a dream come true. This is his story on paying premium fees for surfing in paradise.
"We tried to return to Lohis for the eighth time and enquired for the first two weeks of October. We found a really good price that matched their 3-star offering as a resort - £4,400 ($5,680) for two adults and one baby for 14 nights."
"Last year, we had an awesome time, although the waves only existed for four of our 16 nights. But hey, that's surfing."
"I'm not a great fan of privatizing waves, but something had to be done at this resort and, a fair few years ago, to stop hundreds of surfers being in the water and the associated punch-ups, they introduced a 45-surfer cap and charged a daily fee of $50 a day to surf."
"It was acceptable and really worked to keep the line-up safe and made sure everyone had a good time."
"Last year was no different. But this year, they state that you have to book through one of their dedicated surf agents."
"However, I soon found out that eating the same food, staying in the same rooms, traveling on the same transfer, have the same resort service would now cost me - for the exact same dates as I've stated above - a staggering £7,700 ($10,000)."
"So, doing simple math, it makes the cost of taking a surfboard onto the island, walking down, and jumping into Mother Nature a staggering £3300 ($4,260), or £235 ($300) per day more."
"If it's flat or very poor surf, you still pay. They even have the audacity to charge you more to go to the other waves around the islands!"
"I have contacted the resort and the surf agents directly regarding this, but they pretty much have palmed me off."
"If that's the management's decision, they have just lost a very dedicated regular customer of the last eight years."
"It's a shame when corporate greed spoils such a lovely part of the world and disregards loyalty, which I'm sure is what builds brands."
"If you have got that amount of money, you can go to the Mentawais and stay in luxurious 5-star resorts for less than they want for this one."
"I'm expecting some generalized management response which does not address any of the points in a factual explanatory manner, which will just prove that they do not care and have lost their way as a brand and as a resort."
"Australian and UK-based surf agents, as well as the Maldivian surf resort, should be ashamed of themselves for setting these prices."
"Despite their good surf travel 'brand image,' I'd rather check elsewhere before booking with them for any of their destinations. When I contacted the agents, their response was one of not really caring."
"I hope surfers think twice. It's really not worth the money. There are plenty of other places around the world you can go for far less money and the same of even better waves."