The best Maldives surf is on the eastern and southern edges of the atolls, which have the best orientation to swell and wind direction. All the surf breaks over coral reefs, with the surfable waves forming at gaps or passes in the reef where channels (“kandu” in the local language) flow in and out of the atoll lagoon. During the Maldives surf season, consistent, straight swell lines produce perfect, peeling waves, clean walls and long, hollow tubes.
Many Maldives surf breaks have multiple names. The list below gives the most preferred name first, with alternative names in brackets.
The Maldives Surf Season
The Maldives Surf Season runs from mid February to November, when low pressure systems in the southern Indian Ocean generate consistent swells.
The early part of the Maldives surf season has the most stable weather, with light, favourable winds. The Maldives surf swell consistency and size improves from February, with March, April and May having very clean conditions.
June to August have the most potential for big swells, although tropical storms can be more common in these months.
September and October are also very consistent months for swell, with winds less variable and tropical storms becoming less frequent. November is still quite consistent for small to medium size waves and the weather is usually perfect for a beach holiday.
Swells during the Maldives surf season are consistently from the southeast, which is the ideal direction for nearly all the main breaks in the country.
To view current conditions click here Maldive surf Reports
Maldives Surf – North Male’ Atoll Breaks
North Male’ Atoll has the biggest concentration of Maldives surf resorts and the most accessible, best-known, and most popular surf breaks in the Maldives. The very best option for surfers is to stay at Cinnamon Dhonveli, which gives exclusive access to Pasta Point, and is very handy to Sultans, Honkys and Jailbreak, as well as all other breaks using Atoll Adventures boats and surf guides. A good alternative is a boat-based Inner Atoll Surf Charter boat trip.
Going clockwise from the northeast, the Maldives surf breaks in North Male Atoll are:
Chickens: This long, fast left was one of the first Maldives surf breaks discovered by Tony Hinde when he was wrecked here in the 1970s. At its very best on rising to high tide with a swell over 2m and a light northerly wind, the wave goes up to 500m from a fast walling first section into long barrelling second section – a world class wave for skilled surfers, but great for intermediates in smaller swells.
Colas: (Cokes), across the channel from Chickens, this steep, hollow right hander breaks over a shallow reef, and is strictly for advanced surfers when the swell is up. With a big swell and southwest wind, it’s one of the best barrels in the Maldives.
Lohis: Two-sectioned left off Lohifushi island – access is restricted only to guests of Huduranfushi Resort, but can still get busy. The sections link up best on a big swell at high tides – with a northerly wind it can be a really long tubing wave.
Piddlies (Ninjas): across the channel from Lohis, and accessible to anyone on a boat, this mellow right is a good long-board wave and suitable for beginners. It’s best with a northwest wind (or no wind) on a moderate swell – it closes out over 1.5m.
Pasta Point: Breaking over the house reef of the Cinnamon Dhonveli resort, and limited to only 30 guests, this wave is never crowded. It’s a perfect, long, peeling left and probably the most consistent Maldives surf break. Works in winds from southeast, northeast, north and northwest. Small swells (under a metre) are ideal for intermediate surfers. At its best at 2m and over. It’s an easy takeoff to a long wall leading into the ‘Macaroni Bowl’, finishing with a fast, shallow section called ‘Lockjaws’. A classic.
Sultans: At the northeastern corner of Thamburudhoo island, this excellent right can handle any size swell. Best at high tide with wind from the south to the west. Even on a small swell it’s a fun, fast wall; over a metre, there’s a great peak takeoff that turns into a thick tube on the inside. The end section reaches barrelling perfection over 2m.
Honkys: At the southeastern corner of Thamburudhoo island, Honkys is a mirror to Sultans – a long wrapping left that’s best at low tides and in north to northeast winds, ie when it’s blowing onshore at Sultans. Perfect 150 yard ride with long walls and an inside section that stands up bigger than the takeoff. Best wave in the Maldives on its day.
Jailbreak (Jails): Himmafushi island is no longer a jail, but the break at its eastern tip has kept the name. It’s a long, fast right, best in a southwest wind, on a mid to rising tide. On a small swell it works as three sections, but up around 2m the three tube sections connect with long, super fast, walls.
Tombstones: (Furana) Off Furana island and the Sheraton Resort, this fickle right-hander needs a big swell to work well. With 2m plus, and a southwest wind, it’s a long, fast, hollow wave.
Maldives Surf – South Male’ Atoll Breaks
South Male’ Atoll waves are usually a couple of feet smaller than other Maldives surf zones, typically a couple of feet smaller than those in North Male’ Atoll, but they can be excellent if there’s a big swell. Consequently, the season for reliable waves a bit shorter, with April to September being the best months. There are a few resorts here, but none are really set up for surfing. The best option for surfers is a boat-based Inner & Central Atolls Surf Charter trip.
Going clockwise from the northeast, the main Maldives surf breaks in South Male Atoll are:
Gurus: Across the channel from the tiny island of Gulhi, this left-hand reef break picks up the most southerly swells, and works well with a north wind. If it’s 1.5m or more, it has a long, fast, workable wall. A fun wave for intermediate surfers.
Twin Peaks: (TwoWays; Panabal) At the eastern tip of Gulhi, the reef point breaks left and right, like Sultans-Honkys in North Male Atoll. The left is best on high tides; the right is more reliable. and popular with local surfers
Quarters: (Workers) at the south edge of the channel, this small, quick right needs a bigger swell to work. Punchy barrel in the right conditions.
Kates: short little left-hander works best with a bigger swell, high tide and a north to northwest wind. Nice, steep take-off with a fast wall ride.
Natives: (Foxys) hollow right breaking in shallow water over the reef, this is not for beginners. With a north-west wind and a solid swell it forms long, fast barrelling waves.
Kandooma Right: off the Holiday Inn Resort island, exclusive to its guests, this right hander breaks off the eastern edge of the reef with a relatively easy outside take-off. Works best on a bigger swell with a west to northwest wind, when the wave wraps around the reef corner jacking into a fast barrelling wall.
Last Stops: (Riptides) fast right in the middle of a channel – beware of strong currents when the tide is running. On a biggish southern swell with a southwest wind it gives a 150m wall with hollow sections and a great bowl towards the end. Longboarders love it; short boards rip it.
Maldives Surf – Southern Atoll Breaks
Now well established on the Maldives surf scene, the southern South Huvadhoo Atoll (also called Gaaf Dhaal) has over a dozen named breaks on the reef channels round its southeast coast. There are now some hotel and guest house options but few of them are in the surf zone with a professionally organised surfing program. The best way to surf this region is still with an Outer Atolls Surf Charter.
The main surf breaks on the southern coast, going clockwise from east to west are:
Tigers: (Tiger Stripes; Rockets) This long, wrapping left breaks over a coral reef with parallel grooves like the stripes of a tiger. With a solid swell the tricky take-off leads into a long wall that wraps around and gets faster and steeper into a final barrel section.
Antiques: Across the channel from Tigers, its right handed twin is a smaller wave, easier to handle – better for beginners, especially when the swell is bigger.
Love Charms: Very reliable left-hander works on any swell, but changes as the swell gets bigger. At low tides with a small swell, it has two sections starting with a hollow wall then some nice little pockets. When it’s bigger, the sections join up in a long, solid wall with a series of barrels.
Two Ways: (Twin Peaks; Booga Reef) A more relaxed wave that goes both left and right off the southern tip of the reef. It works at all tides, breaking into deeper water than many of the shallow reefs around, so it’s good for intermediate surfers and a fun wave for everyone. The right needs a slightly bigger swell, but they both work at any swell over a metre with long, peeling walls.
Five Islands: (Gani Point) On the southeastern corner of the same reef pass, this long and solid right-hander needs a south swell and a mid- to high tide (can be dangerously shallow at low tide). Needs a swell of well over a metre and handles twice that and more. When the section link up, it’s a long, hollow, barrelling and very fast wave for advanced surfers.
Bluebowls: (Voodoos) At the eastern tip of Vaadhoo island, the reef point forms a long, wrapping right hand wave. Good at all tides, and protected from onshore winds, it works on small and large swells but is ideal around 1.5 to 2m with a westerly wind, when it has a whole series of bowl sections linked by smooth walls. Fun wave for shredders and longboarders alike.
Castaways: (Dhiraagu) Breaking over the eastern tip of an isolated reef, this right hander is definitely for high tides. The take off is easy, but gets steep fast, and shoots into the speedy end section over shallow reef. A great wave when the swell gets to 2m or more.
Beacons: On the western edge of the Fiyoari channel, Beacons is one of the most powerful Maldives surf breaks. A fierce and fickle right, it’s strictly for skilled and serious surfers. Needs a clean southwestern swell to make it peel along the edge of a shallow reef, forming an epic tube. Southeast or even southern swells will close out unpredictably onto the coral.
Maldives Surf – Equipment
Most Maldive surfers will find a short fun board suitable for most conditions in the Maldives Surf, but bring a longer board for bigger swells. The water is warm enough to swim without a wetsuit, though a light suit or rash vest is a good idea, for protection from the sun and from the coral. Booties are essential for picking your way over exposed coral reefs, and a helmet is recommended.
If you’re doing a boat-based surfari holiday, bring all the gear you’ll need because nothing will be available in the atolls. Atoll Adventures has a range of quality Rental Surfboards available at Cinnamon Dhonveli resort.