Marco Polo called the Maldives the "flower of the Indies", and while there's conjecture as to whether Signore Polo did all the things he said he did, there's no doubt he was telling the truth on this matter.
Simply put, the Maldives is a surf paradise.
Not only does it boast crystal clear waters, endless blue skies and stunning islands, but it’s also got perfect waves for intermediate and advanced surfers. As such, the idea of a Maldives surf trip has most likely crossed your mind at one point or another.
If you've never been before though, planning a Maldives surf vacation can be tricky. So, to help make pulling the trigger on your dream trip easier, here are 5 steps you can follow.
Step 1 / Decide when you want to go
Deciding when to embark on your Maldives surf trip is crucial, as the timing of your visit can greatly influence your surfing experience. This decision hinges largely on understanding the Maldives' surf season and aligning it with your personal preferences and skill level.
The average daytime temperature in the Maldives ranges from 29-32°C throughout the year, which means it's subject to a tropical climate. The sea temperature also hovers around 27-28°C, making it warm and inviting for surfing all year round. Summer months are the windiest and rainiest in the Maldives archipelago.
June to August is the peak surf travel season in the Maldives. This is when the seasonal swells are generally at their biggest and most consistent, however, there are also increased crowd numbers and the odd tropical storm.
The shoulder seasons of April and May or September and October, on the other hand, are calmer with consistent swells (albeit not as big) and fewer people. This makes these months preferable for anyone seeking mellower waves and less crowded lineups.
Learn more about what to know before you visit the Maldives.
The Maldives is also subject to monsoons, which are strong, seasonal winds that can affect the surfing conditions. These monsoon occur during:
- The Southwest monsoon (Hulhangu) - May to October
- The Northeast monsoon (Iruvai) - November to April
Step 2 / Research the different atolls and their breaks
There are over 1,000 islands in the Maldives and only a fraction of which are inhabited.
These islands are grouped into 26 atolls and further grouped into the Northern, Central and Southern Atoll designations. Each atoll offers a unique surfing experience with different breaks and conditions.
Given the sheer variety of surf breaks, it's important to decide where you want to visit before booking your Maldives surf trip.
The different atolls
- Northern Atolls: The atolls north of Malé are the most popular atolls amongst visiting surfers due the number of world class waves and their proximity to the capital. Cokes, Chickens and Jailbreaks are the top surf spots here.
- Central Atolls: Less crowded than their northern counterparts, these atolls offer a more secluded and laidback experience for both intermediates and experienced surfers. Malik’s, Finnimas and Mikado are a few of the main breaks. Learn more about our Central Atolls surf trips.
- Southern Atolls: The most remote of all the atolls in the Maldives - the last frontier. You can surf all alone here and still score amazing waves. The Southern Atolls are also quite exposed, which means they pick up swell from many angles. The breaks of Beacons, Blue Bowls, Shangri-la and Tiger Stripes are popular surf spots.
Level of difficulty
There are waves for all skill levels in the Maldives, but the accepted rule of thumb is that there are more pro-level waves in the Northern Atolls.
The Central and Southern Atolls, while still replete with multiple world class surf breaks, are known for having a variety of left and right breaking waves that cater to a more intermediate and advanced-level crowd, with the occasional pumping wave for more expert riders.
Step 3 / Surf charter boat or resort?
This is one of your most important considerations when booking a Maldives surf trip. Do you want the luxury of a surf resort or do you prefer the freedom and convenience of a surf charter boat? It really comes down to personal preference, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Luxury: Surf resorts in the Maldives offer high-end accommodations, fine dining and a plethora of amenities. The downside here is that this luxury comes with a large price tag.
- Family friendly: If you’re planning a family trip, surf resorts can be an ideal choice. Besides surfing, these resorts also offer a range of activities for non-surfers such as snorkelling, diving, fishing or just lounging by the pool.
- Limited crowd: Some surf resorts have exclusive access to certain breaks, meaning you won't have to deal with overly large crowds. This makes for a more enjoyable and safer surfing experience, however, you should keep in mind that most resorts charge extra for transport to and from these breaks.
- Onsite surf guides: Surf resorts in the Maldives provide professional surf guides who can help you find the best waves, assist with improving your skills and ensure your safety in the water.
Surf charter boat
- Flexibility: A surf charter boat offers the ability to chase the best waves across multiple atolls. This flexibility can significantly enhance your surf experience (i.e. more waves, less people) as you're not confined to the breaks near a single resort.
- Variety: Unlike resorts that have access to specific breaks, a surf charter allows you to surf a diverse range of waves and experience different conditions. This can be particularly beneficial if you're looking to challenge yourself and improve your surfing skills.
- Comradery: Chartering a boat with a group of friends or fellow surfers can create a unique bonding experience. It's a fantastic opportunity to share epic surf sessions and create lifetime memories together.
- More affordable: While it may not offer the luxury of a resort, a surf charter boat can often work out to be more cost-effective, especially when travelling in a group. The price typically includes accommodation, meals and transport to different breaks.
- Long surf sessions: As you will be living right on the water, you can maximise your surf time. There's no need to worry about transportation or travel times - you can literally roll out of bed and into the surf.
Step 4 / Book with a proven trip provider
Once you've settled on the time of year to reserve your Maldives surf trip, where to go and which type of trip you want to undertake, you'll need to start researching the different surf experience providers.
As surfers ourselves who’ve also undertaken personal surf trips to the Maldives, we know that it's important to look at the following points before booking:
- Experience: Look for a trip provider who has experience organising Maldives surf trips. They’ll have the knowledge and expertise to ensure you get the most out of your surfing adventure.
- Safety: Surfing in unfamiliar waters can be dangerous, so it's crucial to go with an experienced trip provider who puts safety first. This includes having knowledgeable surf guides, well-maintained equipment and procedures in place for emergencies.
- Inclusions: Be sure to check the inclusions of your trip. Some providers may include things like airport transfers, surf lessons or additional activities in their packages. You should also look at the type of charter boat provided and the meals included.
- Reviews: Look for reviews from previous customers to get a better understanding of their experience with the trip provider. You can also reach out to them directly for feedback and recommendations.
- Budget: While it's important to stick to your budget, keep in mind that sometimes paying a little extra for an experienced and reputable trip provider can make all the difference in ensuring you have an unforgettable Maldives surf trip.
Step 5 / Packing and preparation
Assuming you've successfully completed the previous steps, it's now time to start preparing for your Maldives surf trip!
Here are a few items to keep in mind when packing and getting ready for your adventure. Note that not all of these items are essential. If in doubt as to what you need, get in touch with your trip provider.
- Insect repellent
- Small personal first aid kit
- Water bottle
- Lightweight clothing
- Travel adapter (Type D and G plugs)
- Waterproof bag
- Biodegradable toiletries
- Cash/cards (The local currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa - Dollars and Euros are widely accepted)
Surfboards and surf equipment
- Surfboards (Two or more is recommended)
- Rash vest or thin wetsuit top
- Tropical surf wax
- Wax comb
- Surf hat
- Legropes/leashes (at least two)
- Fins (at least two sets)
- Reef Booties
- Reef-safe zinc
- A Surf helmet is always recommended
Keep in mind that by booking a trip with us, you also get discounts on our partners' surf products. This applies to both natural sunscreen from Suntribe AND eco-friendly sustainable swimwear and wetsuits from Atlas Label. Simply reserve your spot to claim a discount code!
Travel documents, sim cards and visa requirements
In addition to a valid passport, you may need a tourist visa to enter the Maldives. This can typically be obtained upon arrival and is valid for 30 days. However, it's always best to check with your trip provider or local embassy beforehand to avoid any issues.
As for sim cards, these can be purchased at the airport and are usually cheaper than using overseas roaming from your existing provider. Note that mobile phone reception isn’t great in the Central and Southern Atolls, so don’t expect to have constant service.