STEP 1 - CHOOSE YOUR ATOLLS
Malé (North & South), Central, Southern or Northern
Starting from an Oxbow Trip in 2004 produced for Oxbow, Maldivesurf was launched right after those Central atolls spots were discovered. Since 2005, Maldivesurf operated around 110 groups on that itinerary trip being Malé – Laamu or Laamu – Malé with a domestic flight in or out. Various boats have been used (Maha, Vindhu2, Vaareydhuni, Cobia, Dinasha…) but now, Atoll Challenger, Oomido, TLM and Hariyana1 are the main boats. There are 26 atolls in the Maldives, here is quick breakdown.
North Malé: best density of lefts & rights, best consistency during heart of SW monsoon (June-August), best proximity to Malé airport, thickest crowds (6-14 surf boats, 3 surf resorts, 10 surf guesthouse, local surfers), 2 spots exclusive to resorts, best swell orientation (S-SE).
South Malé: 1-2h30 cruise from Malé, 2-4h from North Malé (Sultan’s), easily combined with North Malé, needs big SW swell or medium SE, still quite uncrowded when on, exclusive right at Kandooma resort, part of Central atolls itinerary trip (Riptides).
Central (Laamu to Meemu): itinerary surf & cruise, best swells (SW, SE), ideal season (April-October), 20h cruise altogether, worldclass rights (YinYang, Mikado, Hadigilla), which gets sometimes crowded, usually May-August, one way domestic flight.
Southern (Gaafu Dhaalu): best swell exposure, ideal season (March, April, May, Sept, Oct, Nov), 20 spots, 10 being in 2h cruise radius, gets crowds in spring, none in fall, requires a return domestic flight, 3days cruise from Malé.
Northern (7 atolls): almost unknown surf territory, 30% less swell consistency than Malé, home of Kakuni & Kamati, 8h-12h cruise from Malé, newly opened airport at Dharavandhoo (Baa atoll), requires a return domestic flight (or one way), best season (May-Sept).
STEP 2 - CHOOSE YOUR ACCOMODATION
Safari boat, Guest-house, Resort or Rental dhoni
Although safari boats tend to be the best way to surf the Maldives, a handful of surf resorts can offer better and more reliable ground operations while guest-houses have recently been burgeoning at some surfing islands. For budget small group, a new idea is to rent a dhoni and go wherever the surf is.
Safari boats (liveaboard): those big boats (20-35m) garanty the best ocean experience (fishing, snorkelling, multiple sessions) and some flexibility depending on swell& wind conditions but safari boats require safe anchorage (best to have a dhoni for sunrise and sunset sessions), can get rough seas sometimes and only offer limited space (although Maldivian vessels are quite spatious). Some single options available (Ocean Explorer) but best suited to groups (6-14). Pricing: 100-400usd per day.
Resort: for couples, guests prone to seasickness or those looking at high-end services (food variety, high speed internet, spa & massages). Or just looking at spot exclusivity (Lohi’s left for Huduranfushi, Pasta Point for Chaaya Dhonveli). Only available at few locations and availability at some busy periods might be an issue. Pricing: 300-800usd per day. including Surf package ( spots access and unlimited dhoni use).
Guest-house: get to live on a local island, meet the natives, save money. Since Thulusdhoo (Cokes) opened doors in 2010, homestay becomes very popular in Maldives, especially with the Chinese. For solo travellers and backpackers, or small groups. If location is good (ie guesthouse facing the wave), you may access the surf whenever you like (remember reef access usually means booties). Bear in mind private airport transfers can be costly (public dhonis are cheap but only once a day) and favour guesthouses with organized surf transfer to nearby breaks. Remember: no beers & alcohol available on islands, no bikini suntan on the beach. Pricing: 70-110 usd per day.