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Surfing The Maldives

The Maldives are a tropical surfer’s paradise of twenty-six atolls and 1,192 islets, strung like a “garland of islands” along 73° east longitude – which puts it exactly halfway around the world from New York City.

Some scholars believe “Maldives” comes from the Sanskrit maladvipa, meaning “garland of islands,” or maybe from mahila dvipa, meaning “island of women.” Whatever, to the surfing world, the Maldives name is associated with one thing: SURF.

Before the Mentawai, the Maldives were the chain of “M” Islands that surfers dreamed of: The islands that inspired people to save money and vacation time all year for the 24-hour plane trip and two week blasts of warm, tropical water, coral reefs and perfect, dream surf.

The Maldives are a fairly recent surf discovery, a happy accident in 1973, when Australians Tony Hinde and Mark Scanlon caught a ride in Sri Lanka on the yacht White Wings headed for Africa. Three hundred and fifty miles southwest of Sri Lanka, the sailboat ran aground on a reef in the middle of the night. The next morning, Scanlon and Hinde were still alive, their gear intact, and found themselves in a fantasy land of perfect surf breaking in turquoise waters along coral reefs rimming an island nation of conservative Muslims that was mostly unknown to the outside world.

“I am a thousand colors away from home,” Tony Hinde once wrote home in a postcard. They managed to keep it quiet for 15 years, and although Tony Hinde converted to Islam, married a local girl and changed his name to Tony Hussein Hinde, he got lonely and spread the word to two friends, and they told two friends..… The first surf resort operation began in 1990 and now, almost 20 years later, there are resorts and charter companies catering to all levels of surfers who make the haj (pilgrimage) to the Maldives every year to get a taste of surf paradise.

The Maldives are a spectacularly beautiful water world of islets and coral reefs – one of those places that lives up to the hype and even surpasses it. WaterWays Surf Adventures has an exclusive relationship with Atoll Adventures which was founded by Tony Hussein Hinde and his family to manage the Surf Program for Chaya Island Dhonveli Resort (formerly Tari Village & Dhonveli Beach & Spa) which later expanded into yacht based operations in the Inner Atolls (North and South Male Atoll, Central Atoll and Outer Atoll Adventures know the Maldives better than anyone else, as they discovered most the breaks going back to the beginning and through Tony’s children and Atoll Adventure staff continue to live the experience every day.