The Maldives has some of the best waves in the world. This country has 1192 islands and endless surf breaks.
Maldives' waves can't be considered super powerful, as the swell normally reaches shoulder-to-head high, but it offers big chances of barrels and long, fun waves.
It's the perfect trip for intermediate and advanced surfers.
The surfing season in the Maldives depends on the Atolls, but most of the archipelago is good for surfing from April till October, yet March and November are also good and have the best weather.
Swell is amazingly consistent in this part of the planet, but even on flat days, there's always something exciting to do in the Maldives, like snorkeling or fishing.
The entire archipelago can be divided into three different surf areas: Male Atolls, Central Atolls, and South Atolls.
The main differences between them are swell size, consistency, and, most of all, crowd.
There are some great surfing spots in the country, but just a few are easily accessible from resorts.
The best breaks are on the outer reefs on the southeast sides of the atolls.
Most of the spots are very close to each other, so finding good surf is easy. The best way to reach them is, no doubt, by boat.
Some of them are nameless and yet to be found, especially in Central and South Atolls.
The best thing about the boat trip in the Maldives is the feeling of discovery, surfing perfect waves with no crowd in the water. Just you and your friends.
Please note that you can only have this experience in Central and South Atolls. Male Atolls can be quite crowded, especially between May and August.
The Malé Atolls
The Malé Atolls have been popular with surfers for quite some time, thanks to a variety of spots that stay fairly consistent, especially in the prime summer months, when south swells are abundant. This occurs between April and October.
March and November can be considered transition months, but sometimes they're surprisingly very good.
Winds blowing from west or southwest may be common at this time of year, but many of the surf breaks in this island reef chain are well protected and will remain clean, while others will be offshore.
Crowding can sometimes be an issue because of the relatively easy access to the breaks, courtesy of the many boats in this rich wave zone and due to the resorts that shuttle surfers out to the breaks.
The best surf spots in the Malé Atolls of the Maldives are:
The wave is located in Villingilimathi Huraa, an uninhabited island next to Thulusdhoo Island (on the other side of the channel).
This wave holds swell sizes from 3ft to well over 10ft and provides rides up to 500m long.
This is a long left-hand wave with two sections where you can easily get barrels on the last section of the wave.
On its big swell days and perfect wind conditions, it may be one of the best waves in the world, but it is only advisable for intermediate or experienced surfers.
The best thing about Chickens is it gets the most swell out of most of the breaks in North Male.
Works well with winds from northwest and northeast.
The name of this wave is due to the poultry farm that exists on the island and not due to surfers' reaction to high swells!
Also close to the Island of Thulusdhoo, this is a right-handed wave recommended for intermediate surfers or experienced, especially when the swell is big.
The wave It is a hollow and tubular right-hander that breaks over a shallow reef and is known as one of the best waves in the Maldives.
The wave's name is due to the Coca-Cola factory nearby on the island of Thulusdhoo. Works best with winds from the south and northeast.
This left-hand wave picks up plenty of swells and reaches perfection with a big south swell and north wind.
You may see some shifting peaks according to tides. Since it is accessible from the shore, it is very popular with locals.
It is an easy ride recommended to all surf levels.
Located on the island of Thaburudhoo (on the same island as Sultans), some consider it the best wave of the Maldives, but maybe not as popular as Cokes and Chickens.
When the conditions are met, it is truly world-class, that's for sure! It is a super long, left-hand wave that can double in the second section.
It is a fast left at 4-6ft and needs the right swell direction. Worth checking out if Sultans is crowded. It is an ideal spot for winter in the northeast wind.
Also known as Prison Point, situated on the island of Himafushi, this spot was only recently opened to surfers because it is located right across from the national jail.
Here, you will find a perfect right wave fairly fast that starts off low and grows as it advances.
A right-hander that works better with a big swell as it forms a longer wave; otherwise, it has three solid sections.
The name is because there used to be a prison on the island. This is probably the fastest wave in the Maldives, with long walls and three tube sections.
A Small and short left-hander that works very well with NW to N winds and rarely gets over 1 meter.
Named after the island resort Lohifushi.
Consistent left-hander that breaks in two sections, but if the swell is big enough, it can form a perfect long wave that barrels across the reef.
Between May and June, this spot hosted the O'Neill Deep Blue contest.
This spot works well with northwest and northeast winds, but it is ideal with swell from the southeast and winds from the northwest.
This is a hollow and fast right wave that breaks over a shallow coral. It's "Goofys Paradise," or if you're fast on the backhand, you will love this wave.
It breaks for 100 to 150 meters and provides many barrel opportunities. Best with SE swell and NW wind.
On transfer, you will visit both Foxy's and Rip Tides, so you get the best of both worlds.
Slow right-hander, good for beginners and longboarders. Presumably named because it's one of the favorite waves of Japanese surfers.
Best conditions on W-NW winds with a moderate S swell. However, swells larger than 4ft ruin it.
Wave that is exclusive to the guests staying at the Chaaya Island Dhonveli Resort.
This wave is an amazing left that has two famous sections, one named Macaroni Bowl due to its bowling type of section and Lock Jaws, which only works on days when the swell is big and grinds into very shallow water over the reef.
A right-hander breaking for 150 meters on a reef in the middle of a channel. Only accessed by boat.
The wave was named as sometimes very strong currents can sweep you seaward, so we always check current conditions before settling in for a session.
Great wave for the longboarders and shortboarders as well as low intermediate surfers, providing very carvable walls with the occasional hollow section.
Best with S swell and SW wind.
Superfast right-hand wave that works better with bigger swell and can become very long with swell from the south. Best conditions are found with winds from the west and high tide.
If Honky's is onshore, then Sultans will be offshore. An easy right-hander with an inside a little faster.
It is one of the most consistent waves, and there will always be something to surf.
The Central Atolls
It's not hard to guess that conditions in Central Atolls are something in between Male Atolls and South Atolls.
This means that surf season can be extended from March to November. Prime season is still northern hemisphere summer (from June till September).
This is when a bigger swell arrives at the shore, and winds are blowing continually offshore.
These breaks are far less popular, and it will be hard to find someone else surfing with you.
If you find a reef-sucking barrel that looks rather intimidating, you'll likely find a more welcoming and forgiving wave just around the corner or on the next reef pass.
Numerous world-class breaks have been discovered in the Central Atolls, mostly in the form of right-handers.
You will find spots protected from all wind directions except a rare straight easterly breeze.
The best surf spots in the Central Atolls of the Maldives are:
Muli breaks in two ways: Inside (F1) or Outside (Mushrooms).
Muli Inside/F1 is a very fast barreling righthander with long walls and hollow. It can be shallow, but still with a safe ending.
Very well protected from southerly winds but needs bigger swells to work.
Muli Outside/Mushrooms usually picks up more swell, good in SW winds; it's a right-hander with long walls and an easy exit on the corner.
This is another two-way wave. The right can hold bigger swells and is easy to ride even when it is big.
Good for intermediates and even beginners.
The left is faster, very shallow, and works only in certain types of conditions.
A perfect left-hander with a long wall. Easy take-off with several options with long rides. Not too heavy - great fun.
This right-hander needs bigger swells and northerly winds to present its nice barrels. It can have fast, hollow, and shallow sections.
However, it can be a very long wave with the right conditions.
Finnimas is a shallow, fast left-hander with some great barrels that need NE, N, or light NW winds to break perfectly.
When the wind is blowing from the southeast, and the swell is large from the southwest, we head to the island of Hirilandhoo.
This left hand can produce some great barrels on long and speedy walls. There is not much consistency, as most of the swell comes from the southeast.
The most consistent wave in Thaa but less protected from winds.
It's a very powerful right-hand wave with fast, hollow walls that can produce some great barrels.
Outside, Mikado works best with high tide, and when pumping, it gives you the surf of your lifetime!
Bedhuge is a remote, perfect right that breaks on big SE swells and any W wind. Although, it's worth trying if other breaks seem very heavy.
On the northeast tip of the atoll is Isdhoo or Langon Bank, a rarely surfed right hand that comes alive in big S-SE swells and is very well protected from southerly winds.
This spot is rarely surfed due to a lack of anchorage.
Another wave to consider if the swell is big and the wind is blowing from the NW. It may be worth heading inside the pass to Mada's, a short and shallow left.
This is pure perfection in big swell conditions.
Unfortunately, this wave is always small, and currents can get very heavy to make it impossible to surf.
It has three sections: the outside, the corner, and the inside. All three parts connect when the swell is right and make the wave tons of fun.
The reef is pretty straight and shallow here, but you can pull into the barrel just after take-off.
You have to get some speed to get to the corner and perform turns in a mellower wave.
Stay on from there to the inside, and you will get another long and heavy barrel section.
This left-hander picks up probably the most swell of all east-facing spots in the Laamu Atoll.
It's an excellent wave with the right swell angle, but since the reef is quite straight, it tends to close out though. It is well protected from westerly to northerly winds.
It offers three super fun sections, starting with a sweet barrel on the takeoff, then a fun wall for some turns, and another barrel at the end section.
Yin Yang is the most consistent wave in Laamu, working best under strong SE swell when thick barrels and a powerful inside section can be punishing.
The wave starts out quite friendly with a nice wall before it backs off for a while and then becomes aggressive, offering a long inside section that can produce some amazing hollow barrels.
Outside is a mellow wall with safe rides in deep water.
The South Atolls
While most of the atolls in the entire Maldives have their prime season between April and September, South Atolls have a more extended season from February to November.
Some say that the best conditions occur between February and April, just before the southwest monsoon begins, and also from September to November when it ends.
From May to August, there can be wind issues on the south-facing spots, but that's when you motor to the east-facing part of the atoll, where there is more protection.
The east-facing breaks will still have plenty of size, as this is the peak swell time.
South Atolls still remain the last frontier on surf trips.
This is one of the most remote areas on the planet where charter boats are the only form of access, making this an exclusive and relatively expensive surf trip.
Due to political reasons, a special government permit is required for boats to travel here.
The first surf boat charters only began in 1993, but most of the surf spots still remain secret and are yet to be found.
Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll (also known as the Huvadhoo Atoll) is generally known to have the best conditions for surfing in the Maldives because it picks up more swell than any other atoll in the Maldives and from every direction.
The best surf spots in the South Atolls of the Maldives are:
If you don't want to surf the lefts in Tiger Stripes, then you head up to Antique's rights.
This is considered to be a second-choice wave, which is always a couple of feet smaller and way more forgiving than the lefts.
Advanced surfers only! Not like much of Maldives's waves, this one has an unforgiving shallow reef.
Just remember that SW swells will break down the reef, but an SE swell will create peaks slamming straight onto close-out sections of coral.
Voodoos or Blue Bowls
A very long right-hander, very exciting, especially at 4 to 6 feet, and protected from SW-W winds.
This wave is surfable all the time, all swells, all tides, and all sizes. It is a good length for an easy ride and has nice sections for some moves.
It is a soft right-hander that can be surfed on all tides but is better surfable in high tide when the swell is bigger than 4 feet due to its shallow reef.
Just like Beacons, it gets good with N wind.
Surfing here is the idyllic setting of the Maldives, with plenty of marine life around and an isolated island just in front of the lineup.
Five Islands/Gani Point
Another right-hander, protected from the south-south-west winds.
A hollow wave that breaks hard on a shallow inside reef, so it's better surfed at mid-high tide.
This is maybe the wave that handles the biggest swells at all tides.
Right next to Two Ways, there's this very consistent left-hander working on any swell size.
This wave can be surfed at every tide and handles different wind directions, but the best conditions occur when it's small in size, low tide, and E winds.
Beautiful long wave with two sections: take-off on the hollow wall and some nice little tubes at the inside section.
Tiger Stripes or Rockets
A fun left-hander, not very hollow, but with long workable walls and a complicated take-off into a long speedy wall before presenting an inside tube section that gets smooth and breaks out easily in the channel.
Very consistent and can be surfed at all tides - best conditions with west-northwest winds.
This is a simple and neglected wave when small, but it can be really challenging in a strong swell.
Two Ways/Twin Peaks
This is a right and left-hander, but the rights tend to be better, funnier, and longer.
It's not hollow, and it needs a big swell to reach perfection. So, this is one of the favorite waves within intermediates.
Fun, peeling, long walls with a bit of depth to the water.
A left-hander located on the south side of the bay that may be the right choice on those days of small swell. You can expect short but fun rides.
This could be considered a spoiled wave as it picks up a lot of swells, but it needs a very specific set of conditions to be surfed.
In the right wind direction, it offers a fun left-hander with two sections and several take-off points.
The waves start breaking in deep water and provide some heavy barrels on certain spots of the reef.
The bottom of the reef is a bit rough, which makes the waves funny, and they change from heavy to soft in just a few meters.
A new resort built on Viligili island named this wave.
On small, clean, westerly swells, you can find a funny right-hand reef break wrapping along the east coast of the island.
Words by Surf'inn Surf Camps