You may have noticed an explosion of content coming from the Maldives recently..

It started with Ex-CT ripper Michael Rodrigues. His posts were racking up thousands of views, especially when @wsl.brasil started sharing them. Then Portugal’s Miguel Blanco began releasing video after video of crystal clear tubes peeling flawlessly through an unusually quiet lineup. Finally, the world champ himself, Italo Ferreira, arrived with an all-star entourage including Jadson Andre and 12 year-old groms who surf better than we ever will. Reposting a shot of himself impossibly high above an open barrel really opened the floodgates and a video of Jaddy getting slotted over a duck-diving Manta Ray racked up over 300k views.

The man behind the lens? Ibrahim Ayaz, better known simply as Ayaz or @liquefy_maldives, who’s capturing some of the best surf content in the world right now after a 3 month hiatus of tourists entering his beloved homeland.

With tourism being the biggest industry in the Maldives, accounting for 28% of its GDP, we caught up with Ayaz to see how this strange time was for the local crew with no tourists entering the country for the first time in 47-years.

 


Ayaz on his commute!

 

How are things in the Maldives right now? What is the vibe on the ground?

People are adapting slowly to the new normal but it’s a gradual process and still feels unsettled. Since the border reopened in July, we do have a few tourists coming in everyday with the re-initiation of major airlines and gradual reopening of resorts. In the water, vibes are all time with a lucky few scoring heaps of empty waves right now!

When did the Maldives officially go into lockdown?

March 15th to June 14th 2020.

Was this a preventative measure, or because the Maldives has been badly hit by COVID?

It was more of a preventative measure due to the global pandemic. It was also because of the rise in cases within Malé’ City. COVID-19 has primarily affected our capital so far.

How was the lockdown on Malé?

It was tough on all of us, some more than the others. But it was also a chance for me to keep myself grounded, as well as mentally and physically fit. I also had loads of time to look through my old footage and pictures to work on further.

What about the other islands? Could guys still surf and how was that for you?

Very few islands outside of Malé were locked down/under monitoring and these measures were eased quickly. The surfing community wasn’t affected too much as people were able to continue surfing on the other islands and spots.

I know there are a couple of waves around Malé city, were you able to get in the water at all?

For those who are based in Male’, we weren’t allowed to surf during lockdown. But as measures ease, we are able to surf and cruise around Male’ city again, and access all of the other waves too.

Did any tourists get stuck behind?

Yes. There were a few tourists stuck behind at places like Pasta point, Thulusdhoo, Himmafushi etc. There were also tourists who willingly chose to stay behind at resorts due to the evolving situation in their respective countries.

What is your favourite wave to surf and why?

Far too many to choose from!

What is your favourite wave to shoot and why?

Personally I would say Sultans, Jails, Cokes and Machines. Though I love shooting all different kinds of waves!

A heavy left somewhere in the ‘Dives…

 

Have you had many opportunities to surf and shoot the other regions of the Maldives? (Central Atolls, Southern Atolls) How do they compare to the Malé Atolls?

Yes I have. I would say in the central atolls most of the waves are easier and uncrowded. Down south the waves could be be a bit heavy at average size, so it’s fun to shoot and surf. Male atoll would be very consistent throughout the season with breaks close-by and can get a little crowded too. But not right now of course.

With perfect and consistent waves on your doorstep roughly 8 months each year, there must be some local shredders! Who are the standout local surfers?

Yes, there are many! Ahmmadey, Smiley, Hoobx, Kuda Isse, Ibu, Anoof, Jatte, Ayya, Dhooni to name a few.

What changes have you noticed regarding surfing in the Maldives over the last 10 years? How do you feel about it?

Sadly, lot’s of great surf breaks throughout the Maldives have been destroyed by the Government in the name of ‘development’, and every year more waves are privatised for tourists. It’s sad to witness our natural resources being destroyed in all of these different ways. On a positive note however, there are more tourists travelling here every year to surf, which is of course good for local businesses and the economy.

Italo spending more time airborne than on the wave…

 

Thanks so much for the interview Ayaz. We look forward to seeing more content from you soon and catching up next time we’re over!

For your slice of uncrowded perfection, check out our upcoming Maldives surf coaching trips!

 

Generally speaking, the beginning of November marks the end of the surf season in the Maldives. It’s around now that all of our focus shifts to next season. Whilst past trips have been a success, that doesn’t mean we’re going to rest on our laurels going forward.
One of the most exciting things about running Renegade Surf Travel (aside from surfing perfect waves), is that we have just one main focus. Rather than diversifying, we want to see just how good we can make our Maldives surf coaching experience!

That said, here are a few things we’re implementing for 2020 to take help take our trips to the next level:

More responsible surf travel

From 2020 onward, all of our surf coaching trips will be carbon offset. We’re surfers, and travelling comes hand in hand with that. Whilst there’s no getting away from the carbon footprint air travel produces, we can offset it by investing in green initiatives that counteract the impact of our travels over time. It’s not perfect but it’s something, and we’re committed to doing something. We will also provide you with a re-usable water bottle to cut down on single use plastics.

If you want to work out the cost of off-setting your own carbon footprint and the various initiatives caring for environment, check out this handy calculator.

 

Improved surf break access

For next season, our trips will include both a small tender boat (Dinghy) AND a 10-12m metre traditional Maldivian boat with a roof (Dhoni) to accompany the charter boat.*

The addition of a Dhoni is a massive improvement to your surf travel experience. It allows you to take supplies such as water, snacks and sunscreen out to the lineup with you. This means longer sessions and ultimately, more waves. The Dhoni also provides a great place for your photographer to get closer to the action!

*Excludes our March/April trip which does not require a Dhoni as the smaller charter boat can anchor closer to the lineup)

Mariana with dhoni and dinghyMariana with 3m dinghy and one of the best surf Dhonis in the Maldives.

 

Trips throughout the season, plus a range of trip lengths.

We have spread our trips throughout the season, offering varying conditions to suit 90% of surfers. In addition, 7, 10 and 14 day trips offer something for everyone who is looking to take their surfing to the next level.

small, fun waves in the MaldivesSmall, empty and fun.

Of course, we’re dealing with Mother Nature so there are no guarantees when it comes to the waves. However, seasonal averages allow us to ask the following questions:

Like your waves fun-sized and glassy? Join our March/April trip.

Prefer to join us at the peak of the swell season? Choose one of our July trips.

Or want maximum time to perfect your skills? Book both weeks with a 10% discount!

Want to explore pumping set-ups without the crowds? Our 10 day September trip to  the Central Atolls is for you.

pumping waves at chickens maldivesPumping and empty.

“Everything but the bar”

That’s a saying, right? Either way, what we’re saying is once you touch down in the Maldives, the only thing you’ll need to pay for is drinks from the bar.

Of course, the obvious things are covered. – Your private accommodation, daily in-depth surf coaching with video analysis and incredible chef prepared meals. What sets Renegade Surf Travel apart is all taxes, airport transfers, photos, videos and crew tips are also included in our prices. This keeps the amount of cash you need to carry to a minimum and allows us to take care of everything in advance. You just focus on your surfing and having the time of your life!

 

2020 Trips

  • 25th March – 4th April – 10 days. Central Atolls. Typically small swells and super glassy conditions.
  • 4-11th July – One week. Malé Atolls. Peak swell season.
  • 11-18th July – One week. Malé Atolls. Back to back trips gives a two week option for maximum progression.
  • 19-29th September – 10 days. Central Atolls. Typically solid swells without the crowds.

To take your surfing to the next level in paradise, simply get in touch to secure your spot. See you next season!