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18 Westgate Drive, Massey, Auckland, NZ • P.O.Box 84003 • Ph: (64 9) 831 0019 • FrPh: 0800 336660

Surfing in the Maldives

The Republic of the Maldives is a sprinkle of coral atolls and tiny islands in the Indian Ocean, just south-west of Sri Lanka. These postcard-perfect tropical islands hold an amazing set for surfing, diving and sailing in the tropical 28 deg water.

The Maldivian archipelago consists of a chain of 26 coral atolls that extend over 750km of the Indian Ocean, to just south of the equator. The capital of the 1200-odd islands (only about 290 are inhabited) is Male (Mar-lay), a densely populated island of only 2sq.km.

All the waves in the Maldives break on coral reefs, with the best surf on the eastern and southern edges of the atolls where the reef catches the right swell and wind direction. There are a number of breaks throughout the atolls that vary in intensity.

The main surf season runs from April to October when swells are produced by winter low pressure systems in the southern Indian Ocean. However, this coincides with the south-west monsoon season which can bring rain and some tropical storms.The surf generally ranges between 4-8 feet during these months.

March and November are also good months for swell, with variable winds and tropical storms becoming less frequent. November is still quite consistent for small to medium size waves between 2-4 feet and the weather is usually perfect. The north-east monsoon season - November to April - brings fine weather but small swells in the Inner Atolls. Surf in the Outer Atolls is still very good.

Packages are available to Cinnamon Dhonveli/Chaaya Island Resort. The resort has an exclusive perfect left hand (Pasta Pt) break out in front, limits its surfing guests to 30 and has easy boat access to the other breaks. The resort is on a beautiful island with amazing snorkelling and diving also available.

Island Holidays have access to a number of land-based resorts and adventurous boat charters that explore the Inner and Outer atolls for perfect surf.

Flights to the Maldives are via Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Sri Lanka.

INFORMATION + MAP (click to open/close)

CURRENCY

The currency in the Maldives is the Rufiya (Rf). You don't need to carry money at all if you stay at a resort since everything will be billed to your room. Almost all resorts accept travellers' cheques or credit cards (American Express, Visa and MasterCard are best). The US dollar is the best money to carry, but British pounds, German marks and Italian lira are all pretty acceptable. You won't need Maldivian rufiya unless you're using local shops and services.

VISA

Visas are required for most nationalities, but are free and can be obtained on arrival for a stay of max 30 days.

CLIMATE

Generally, the year is divided into two monsoon periods. The first is the north-east monsoon or ruvai, which lasts from December to March, and are the drier months. The second is the south-west monsoon or ulhangu, which lasts from April to November, and is wetter, with more storms and occasional strong winds. Daytime temperatures are about 28°C (82°F) all year.

The humidity is slightly lower in the dry season but most days there's a cooling sea breeze. The high season is from December and April, when it is sunny and dry. Christmas is busiest and most expensive part of this season. During the low season (May and November) it's still warm, but the skies can be cloudy, humidity is higher and rain is more likely. The transition months of November and April are said to be associated with increased water clarity and better visibility for divers.

LANGUAGE

Maldivian Divehi.

RELIGION

Sunni Muslim Islam is the national religion and all Maldivians are Sunni Muslims. No other religions are permitted, though ancient beliefs still survive.

HEALTH/MEDICAL FACILITIES

Health Risks: Sunburn.