After deciding where your next surf trip will be, you’ll need to pick the type of surf experience you're after.

Do you want to sail the high seas searching for waves like a modern-day surf pirate? Or does the idea of staying on land and getting your local wave wired sound more appealing?

There's no right or wrong answer, but understanding the pros and cons of each option will help you make the best decision for your personal preferences and surf goals.

Learn whether a Maldives surf charter or land camp is right for you in this guide.

Whether you choose to be water or land based, you really can't go wrong in the Maldives.

Surf charters / Total freedom and novelty surf experiences

The Maldives has a long history with surf charters, with the first waves ever surfed in the island nation being by Australians who sailed there from Sydney.

Surf charters give you the ultimate sense of adventure and freedom as you sail around the remote islands. To say they're one of the most unique surf travel experiences out there is an understatement.

We currently run Maldives surf charter boat trips, so we can give you first-hand knowledge about what to expect. Here are the pros and cons of Maldives surf charters.

One more quick session right before sunset? No problem, just get the dinghy and get out there!


  • You can cruise through the atolls, find uncrowded waves and shred, swim or snorkel to your heart’s content
  • A dinghy or dhoni is always available if you want to head to shore or see if that sneaky wave just around the corner is working
  • Being on a boat with a group of people allows you to participate in the true surf lifestyle and build camaraderie with like-minded individuals
  • If a wave is pumping you can simply drop anchor and surf – no need to wait for other people or follow a schedule
  • Generally the most cost-effective choice for groups of 9 people or more
  • Conversely, if the conditions switch and another island chain starts working, you can motor across and be the first ones to capitalise
  • Since the Maldives is a Muslim country, boat charters are one of the few places where consuming alcohol is legal (sunset beers, anyone?)
  • The novelty of sleeping on a boat and waking up to new surf breaks every day is an unmatched experience for any surfer
  • Because everything from food to finding waves is taken care of, you can switch off, enjoy the experience and not need to worry about anything
  • Modern surf charters are fully equipped with all the amenities you need to feel comfortable and relaxed on your trip, including AC, private chefs and first-aid resources


  • Sea sickness may be an issue for some people, making it difficult to enjoy the experience fully
  • Limited space on board means you will have less privacy compared to a land camp
  • Not ideal for families or groups with non-surfers as the focus is mainly on surfing and not activities or amenities to keep others entertained
  • While you can stop at different islands and meet local communities, the majority of your time will be spent on board the boat and may not offer as much cultural immersion as a land camp
  • You’ll need a SIM card if you want internet on the boat. We’ve found a provider that offers 150 GB for $50. Then again, not being connected to the internet for a week or more isn’t such a bad thing…

Land camp / Comfortable living and more options for non-surfers

Land based empty perfection in the Maldives. And a long walk on shallow corals, reminding us how comfortable it is to get dropped straight in the line-up.

For those with a penchant for terra firma or families who want to enjoy the Maldives without being confined to a boat, land camps are a tried and tested option.

The main differences between Maldives surf charters and land camps are the fixed location, access to amenities and cultural immersion opportunities. You can also kiss most of your privacy goodbye on a surf charter, whereas land camps typically offer more personal space.

For some surfers, not being on a boat swaying with the waves and instead having a comfortable room to rest in is a major plus. Here are the pros and cons of staying at a land camp.


  • More spacious living accommodations and amenities such as private rooms and bathrooms, pools, restaurants, etc.
  • Access to a wider range of activities and experiences outside of surfing, making it ideal for families or non-surfing individuals
  • Opportunities for some cultural immersion through interactions with local communities and traditional activities
  • It depends on where you go, but land camps are more affordable than a surf charter for solo travellers or small groups. Large groups of 9 or more people are more suited to charters due to group discounts
  • Better standard of luxury when it comes to accommodation and facilities
  • Internet connection on land camps is marginally better than the sim card internet you get on the boats
  • Decent internet connection allows you to work and surf during your stay (although it’s often more or less comparable to the internet we get via SIM card
  • Better access to emergency services in the unlikely (but possible) instance that someone is injured


  • If the swell doesn't cooperate it can be madness-inducing knowing there are waves not far away but you're unable to reach them
  • Limited access to remote or less crowded surf breaks, as you’re confined to one location
  • May not have the same sense of adventure and novelty as a surf charter, with the potential for monotony if the waves aren't consistent at your camp's location
  • Surfing time may be limited due to set schedules or groups taking turns at the waves
  • You may also need to pay extra to travel to other breaks outside of the camp's location

Choosing between a Maldives surf charter or land camp

Fun-sized and clean, this is what you can expect in the Maldive's shoulder seasons.

Ultimately, it's a choice between the sense of freedom and adventure that Maldives surf charters offer and the comfort of a land camp.

Consider your personal preferences, budget and surf goals before making a decision. You can also opt for a combination of both experiences, starting with a surf charter and then ending at a land camp to get the best of both worlds.

No matter which way you go, one thing's for sure: you're going to get way better waves over here than what you'll get back home.

Join one of our group surf trips in the Maldives Central Atolls in July or October, or join anytime an open boat trip.

Did you know that we can organise a boat charter just for you and your mates, anywhere in the Maldives?

Book a Maldives surf charter trip today