The Maldives is a tropical surf paradise of which everyone wants a slice. The Indian Ocean nation comprises over 1000 islands, many of them hosting world-class waves. The sort of perfect blue-water reef passes we dream about and draw on our school books. Many of the best Maldivian surf breaks come without the power and intimidating nature of Fiji or the Mentawais. Today, we dive into everything you need to know about surfing in the Maldives. From how to get there, where to stay, where to surf, and when to go, here’s everything you need to know.
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Best Time of Year
The best time to surf in the Maldives is between April and October. This is when the largest swells from deep in the southern Indian Ocean reach the islands. While you could luck into a swell outside this season, it often goes flat, plagued with onshore winds. So if you want to score good waves head to the Maldives in season!
Maldives Surf Spots Breakdown
The best surf breaks in the Maldives can be broken down into three areas, made up of three sets of atolls.
By far, the most famous surf spots in the Maldives are located in the Northern atolls. If Pasta Point and Cokes ring a bell, this is the north…
Cokes is a fast, powerful (and shallow) right-hander. A super popular wave located on Thulusdhoo Island. You can paddle from the lookout platform, or take the boat from the beach. Because Cokes is an incredible wave and one of the most accessible in the Maldives, it’s as crowded as you’d expect.
Just across the channel from Cokes, is Chickens. A short boat ride over to Chickens gifts you with a super fun left-hander. A long wave with sections for tubes, and turns. An epic wave that under the right swell direction, comes to life. (see Surfline for what makes it tick).
Sultans is another dreamy righthander, a few K’s south of Thulusdhoo. Sultans is a world-class right, with sections for tubes and walls for carves. Sultans is also the site of the Four Seasons Surf Invitational, won in 2023 by Joel Parkinson. A sick wave, you need to check out!
Jailbreaks was named after the Maldives national jail that faces the break. (yeah don’t break the law while you’re here as you’ll be locked up facing perfect waves). But Jailbreaks is a somewhat section right-hander, but under the right tides, swell can be another perfect right!
Pasta Point is the most famous wave in the Maldives and the spot that put the country on the International surfing map. However, you can’t rock up and surf Pasta. Unfortunately, you’ll need to stay at the Donhevi Surf Resort, perched overlooking the wave. For $500+ per night, staying here promises empty waves, and no one from outside of the resort is allowed to surf the resort. While this sucks if you’re on a budget surf trip, if you’ve got the funds, it’s a dreamy place to stay!
Lohis is another perfect but privatized left-hander. The Lohis bar is famous, you’ve seen the shots right? Crew sipping drinks with perfect lefts peeling in front of them. Yep, that’s Lohis. You’ll need to stay at Humahufushi Resort to sample it, which will set you back hundreds of dollars per night!
*Please note: These are just the Northern Atoll surf breaks. there are many more surf breaks throughout the Central and Southern Atolls. Stay tuned for more content on those spots!
The Maldives and wave privatization are synonymous and it’s one of the first things we think of when surfing in the Maldives. However, don’t stress. There are only a handful of waves you can’t surf. Privatized waves include Pasta Point, Lohis, and Niyama, anywhere else is fair game and yes everywhere else is crowded.
How to Get There?
Getting to the Maldives is straightforward, as it’s a long way from just about anywhere else on Earth. Unless you’re coming from the Middle East, it’s a mission. From Asia, there are affordable flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which is around 4 hours from Male. Carriers such as Air Asia, Scoot, and Sri Lankan Airways all have routes to and from Male. From further afield, flying to the Maldives is long and expensive. Check out the best flight prices to the Maldives here on Kayak.
By Public Ferry
The cheapest way to get around in the Maldives is by public ferry. You can get public ferries between local islands for less than $15. Check out routes here. Please note, no public services run on Fridays in Maldives.
By Speed Boat
The best way to get around in the Maldives in terms of affordability and efficiency is by speed boat. You can get speed boats between Male and Thuluhsdoo Island for $25 per person each way. I organized this via my accommodation which used a company called River Speed.
By Sea Plane
If you’re staying at one of the many surf resorts in the Maldives. If you’re short on time but have plenty of cash, flying to the surf islands by seaplane is the quickest way to get around. You can take planes from the designated seaplane terminal at Male Airport. Check out seaplane routes here.
Where to Stay?
While Maldives is synonymous with exclusivity, luxury, and being one of the world’s most expensive surf destinations, there are some affordable places to stay. Here are some of the best surf accommodations in the Maldives, for budget, mid, and luxury price ranges. Check out Booking.com for the cheapest surf accommodations in the Maldives.
Surf Camp Packages
To take all the stress and organizational aspects away from your Maldivian surf trip. Check out Book Surf Camps. They make it easy to book your accommodation, transfers, food, and surf coaching in one easy booking. They run camps in the Maldives for all abilities! Check out Maldives Surf Camps here.
Maldives Surf Trip (On a budget) Step by step
Tips for Surfing in the Maldives
Other than Thulusdhoo, or if you’re staying at an exclusive resort, you’ll need a boat to explore most of the waves in the Maldives. You can organize boat trips to the surf via a kiosk on the beach or your accommodation, depending on where you stay. The only wave you can surf of your own accord (without resort exclusivity) is Cokes.
While the Maldives is a world-class surf destination, it does lack the power and consistency of other perfect destinations such as Fiji or Indonesia. Swells have to track way up through the Indian Ocean to rehab the islands and the Maldives is prone to flat spells and bad winds. Especially if you’re visiting in shoulder season. For example, on my trip, the waves were 4-5ft for the first few days then deteriorated to 1-2ft for the last few days, still surfable but not what you come to paradise for.
As you’d expect for somewhere this famous, well-known, and relatively user-friendly, the crowds are insane in the Maldives. Don’t expect to visit without battling the crowds. Everyone wants a slice of paradise, but because the Maldives has a mix of resorts, land-based accommodations, boat trips, and charters, you have so many surfers (many traveling in groups) that descend on most breaks all at once. Throw in the locals (who should and do get the best ones) and you have a recipe for a frustrating surf trip experience.
The Maldives lies just above the equator and so it’s unbelievably hot here! Anytime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., the heat is intense. A consistent 30c+ and surfing are anytime other than at dawn, requires full zinc, rashie, and surf hat.
While not as gnarly as other breaks in terms of power, the reefs in the Maldives are still incredibly sharp. Many people wear reef boots, and while my feet remained unscathed (thanks to safety surfing on my Maldives surf trip), I did scrape my hands on the reef at Cokes while paddling out a few times.
The Maldives is a strict Sunni Muslim country so religion is a huge part of life here. You’ll hear the morning prayer call daily at 4.30 am and alcohol is hard to come by on local islands. If you’re a girl, you’ll also have to be wary of how you dress, as there are some beaches, that require you to “cover-up” and there are even designated Bikini/Tourist beaches”.
In my experience, the food is pretty average in the Maldives. Most Western dishes are usually disappointing, and I’d suggest sticking to local seafood/rice-style dishes or going for Sri Lanka-style curries, these are not only cheaper but more delicious! Just watch out for the spice!
At resorts, the internet will be decent, but on the local islands, it can be hit-and-miss. During my stay on Thulusdhoo, I found the internet to be pretty good and managed to get (some) work done, but found it frustratingly slow for streaming high-quality videos or making calls–a tricky place to work a surfing digital nomad.
Maldives Surf Trip - Packing List
Maldives - Cost Overview
Total (approx) $545
While the Maldives isn’t one of the world’s cheapest surf destinations, it’s a bloody good one. With pristine waters, perfect reef breaks, tropical weather, and spot variety, it’s a must-do surf destination for everyone. Beginners might struggle but if you’re an intermediate or advanced surfer, it’s one of the best surf destinations in the world. For more info on surfing the Maldives, please comment below or check out more Maldives content on YouTube.