surfing in the maldives blog image

Surfing in the Maldives…

Advanced coaching trip – 21-31st July 2021

 

Jumping through hoops…

The 21st of July couldn’t come around soon enough; 10 days of surfing in the Maldives, on a luxury boat, with 9 surfers ready to take their surfing to new heights. However, in 2021, things were never going to be that simple…

With The Maldives still firmly planted on the UK’s ‘red-list’ for travel (despite their decreasing rates rates) the first issue was how to get to the island nation. After 47 facetimes, 154 screenshots and well over a thousand messenger conversations, a plan was finally decided. We would fly from Manchester and Aberdeen to Madrid. From there, board a direct flight to Male. Then we would have a 10-day ‘R&R trip’ in Spain before flying home, tanned, surfed-out, and full of Sangria whilst avoiding the hotel quarantine – easy! 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. After being ‘pinged’ by the NHS app a few days before the trip, our surf coach, Mark tested positive for COVID-19. Our coaching trip needed a new coach, fast! Fortunately, we had just the guy in mind – Pepijn Tigges from The Netherlands. After some seriously last-minute logistics, flights and COVID tests were booked and Pepijn dusted off his board shorts, ready for a welcome change from the North Sea. Meanwhile, with a solid swell hitting North Male, I flew out a few days early to scope out the crowds and sample what was on offer.

Product testing before the trip…

Arrival Day…

The 21st arrived and our guests began touching down in Malé International airport. The first to arrive were Bard and Ole from Norway, beaming through arrivals with line-up shots from the plane. Next, more Norwegian shredders; John and Jarand (aka Jiffy) came from Lohis resort looking forward to finding some rights. Then the Californian contingent arrived – Elad, Jody and Ken who stayed the previous night in Male to wash off the jetlag. Lastly, Julia and Dimitri; seasoned Russian surf travelers who we had actually said hello to in the line-up at chickens the year before! 

The crew grabbed board-bags and headed for the Dhoni boat which would take us to our home for the trip. As Gurahali came into sight everyone’s jaws hit the deck. The traditional design and size of this boat really make it stand out from the rest. 28m long; it boasts 7 en-suite cabins with AC, a spacious lounge complete with bar, a huge sundeck on the roof plus several other chill-out areas. This is the ultimate way to experience surfing in the Maldives.

Want to join our next surf coaching trip on board the stunning Gurahali? Check out our 2022 advanced coaching trip

surfing in the maldives on gurahali

Gurahali

Feet in the wax…

With everyone itching to get in the water ASAP, we decided to head 40-minutes north to Himmafushi. Here the boat could anchor in the channel whilst the group split to surf Jailbreaks and Sultans. Our timing was perfectly between ‘shifts’ and we arrived at each break with less than 10 people out. Pepijn took John, Jarand and the Americans to Jails whilst I took Bard, Ole, Julia and Dimitri to Sultans. Clean chest to head-high sets proved the perfect introduction to surfing in the Maldives whilst washing off the travel funk. As predicted, at 15.55 3 more boats arrived at Sultans, turning the manageable crowd of 8-12 to closer to 30. This was our cue to head back to the boat and begin our sail south to quieter pastures.

We set sail just after lunch, aiming to get as far south as possible, before completing the rest of the cruise the following morning. En route was ‘Shark Island’; a Nurse Shark breeding ground situated directly in front of a fancy resort. As soon as we arrived, legendary Dhoni captain, Leed, began pointing to a couple 2.5m Sharks underneath the boat. Everyone grabbed masks and jumped in; unable to comprehend the number, size and calmness of the animals below. That was before a school of around 30 sharks swam directly towards us. For a couple of the guests this was a little too overwhelming (*cough John Jacobsen cough*). The group agreed this was undoubtedly the best snorkeling/diving experience of their lives, just a few meters below the surface! It’s not only surfing in the Maldives…

An unforgettable experience. A Renegade trip isn’t your typical surf trip…

Stories were shared and friendships were built as Chef Simon cooked our first dinner of Tuna Sashimi, Maldivian curries, fresh veggies, dahl, and salad. We talk about food a lot on our trips, but it really makes a huge difference when you’re surfing up to 8 hours each day. Every meal is of restaurant quality and there’s always enough to satisfy even the hungriest surfers.

After dinner, we ran through a PowerPoint (yes, it’s still a thing) explaining the forecast for the week. Even though the intermittent 4G meant that the promised transitions didn’t work between slides, being able to see our route across the somewhat confusing layout of the atolls was welcomed by everyone. Elad even stated ‘that PowerPoint was honestly the highlight of my trip so far!’, despite having swam with sharks just hours before… 

 

Surprise session…

With a solid swells lighting up both sides of the central atolls, our decision was to be guided by the wind. A nice problem to have. With the next two days looking the smallest and windiest over the next week, we checked Riptides in South Malé with low expectations. As we sailed past the reef – seemingly in the middle of the ocean – it looked as if the swell was indeed a little too small. However, moments later a waist-high set peeled into the channel. Next, a chest-high set. Not long after, consistent head-high sets were being pushed in with the tide, with no current to and no people. Needless to say, the crew waxed up and jumped in! Everyone traded super rippable waves with nobody around for 2-hours until the high tide put an end to a great session.

We already had loads of clips to dig into, so after dinner everyone gathered around the TV for the first video analysis session. It can be daunting to watch yourself surf – even more so in front of people you’ve just met. But a Renegade coaching trip is a ‘safe space’. All of the guests had a great time cheering at the good waves, laughing at the wipeouts, and generally learning from each other’s mistakes. Pepijn’s passion for teaching and surfing is infectious and by the end of the session each guest had clear and concise goals in mind to work on the next day. Some of the guests were so frothing to put theory into practice that they couldn’t sleep…

 

Check out what some of our previous guests have had to say here.

 

Meemu Atoll

Arriving in Muli, we jumped in at Mushrooms at dawn. A soft yet consistent right-hander which serves a perfect warm-up for the breaks further south. Despite the small swell and tricky SW wind on offer, Mushrooms (outside) and F1 (inside) gave us a couple of fun sessions between longer cruises. Once again, the empty lineups ensured everybody was already racking up a solid wave-count.

Laamu Atoll

We’ve been surfing in the Maldives enough at this stage to know that the boat crew can make or break a trip . For this reason we’re careful to only work with the best operators in the Maldives. If we want to set sail at 5am the next morning, you can bet the engines will fire up at 4.50 – certainly not something we’ve experienced on many other surf charters that often run on ‘island time’.

Then there are the Dhoni and Dingy captains who are on hand to take you from the Gurahali anchored in the channel to the surf. Not only are they always on hand to take you out whenever you want, they are also incredibly attentive. We’ve heard horror stories of people waiting up to an hour, waving their board frantically to signal they’re done with their session – it doesn’t sound THAT bad on the face of it, but consider how tired you can be after a long session, how strong the currents can be and how hot the sun can be, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Not on Gurahali.

 

Laamu Atoll

With the swell set to peak that evening, our mid-morning arrival at our destination was somewhat disappointing… Lines of sheet glass peeled down the reef perfectly – but it was knee high. This wasn’t what we had come for…

Despite this, Jarand and I decided to jump out to test the water (pun intended) whilst the others re-capped some videos with Pepijn. In typical Maldivian fashion though, as the tide began to push, bigger sets began breaking with mechanical, wavepool-esque precision. With no other boats in the area, we decided to jump in immediately after lunch. We were blessed with chest to shoulder high waves and some the smoothest conditions we’ve seen. This allowed us to film from the roof of the Dhoni whilst Pepijn was giving the guests real-time feedback in the lineup. As the light began to fade everyone headed back to the boat, shoulders aching and faces grinning.

Surfing in the Maldives can be a fickle proposition if the tides are against you, and this is why a good surf guide is worth their weight in gold.

Take a look at the current Maldives surf forecast here.

Maldivian perfection.

The calm after the storm…

The following day, eager for another slice of the pie a few guys jumped out at first light before low tide. This tends to be the trickiest time regarding currents and this session was no different. The current was even visible from the Dhoni as we approached, meaning even just sitting on your board to wait for a set was out of the question. We made the call to head back to the boat and wait for the tide to turn and used the opportunity to run a much-needed stretching session in the early morning light on the sun-deck.

Just before lunch, the waves began to turn on. Intermittent rain squalls were blowing through however, ripping up the lineup in short bursts before it finally returned to it’s oil-smooth texture. There wasn’t a drop of water out of place and the waves offered a variety of sections for tubes and turns. We traded waves for 3-hours until another storm settled in for the evening, signaling the end of the session and time to get stuck into the days footage.

Jiffy working on rotating through his frontside carve.

 

Thaa Atoll

With empty sessions under our belt and with every drop milked out of the easing SE swell, we headed NW towards Thaa Atoll, where an 18 second groundswell was forecast to be filling in. Arriving at Kanimeedhoo just after 11am, no one could quite believe how perfect the set-up was.

On the outside, overhead walls crashed towards the uninhabited island before wrapping nearly 180 degrees to the inside break. If you could make the sucky, relatively shallow (by Maldivian standards) take-off, you were rewarded with a flawless wall peeling into the picturesque channel. When you imagine the picture-prefect image of surfing in the Maldives, this was it.

400m to the west were two more world-class waves, including the pumping left below. With just 4 other guys out at Insides, half the crew surfed here whilst the rest headed across the channel for a taste of going left for a change. After lunch, we liaised with the guys on the other boat and arranged to surf insides for the 2-4pm window while they would surf 4-6pm – Deal!

John getting to grips with the sucky take off!

We didn’t go left much on this trip… But when we did…

 

Progression sessions…

The next 2 days morphed into the stuff of surf trip dreams. Everyone was surfing to a noticeably higher standard than just a few days previous. Dmitri and Julia sat on the inside, picking off a ridiculous amount of waves right under everyone’s noses. This was perfect for them to get repetitions in on their cutback practice.

The only other goofy-foot, Ken, was struggling with some of the faster sections at first. However, with some tips from Pepijn he was making it around sections with speed to burn. Similarly, Jody was having some trouble making steeper drops on his bigger board – though he did take the prize for ‘most likely to come on a Renegade bodyboarding coaching trip’… All jokes aside, after a few days Jody was confidently taking off on bigger and steeper sections and made some impressive drops.

Elad was quietly absorbing Pepijn’s knowledge like a sponge. Every session he was gaining confidence and making visible improvements.

surfing in The Maldives should be on everyone's bucket list

No filter needed.

The Norwegian crew had the most surf experience within the group and all made huge improvements. John’s cruisy style suited the Maldivian waves perfectly, and by the end of the trip his bottom turn to snap combo was looking seriously spicy.

Jarand has had some coaching before – something that’s obvious when you see how good he surfs. Pepijn tasked Jarand with smoothing out his surfing. By the end of the trip the difference was obvious. Jarand was effortlessly linking maneuvers with minimal pumping in between, flowing smoothly from snaps and carves straight into his bottom turn.

Bard had a remarkable knack for sniffing out barrels even when there didn’t seem to be any. On several occasions he was rewarded with some serious tube-time before coming out clean. His maneuvers also became far more critical, trading on-the-shoulder cutbacks for more vertical top turns and aggressive carves.

Last but not least,  Ole, used to the soft waves of Stavanger in Norway, wasn’t used to having so much time going into each maneuver. Once he’d stopped rushing, Ole was looking far more composed on the wave and was executing some impressive turns.

Bard laying some Norwegian rail in Laamu Atoll.

 

Heading back North…

With dropping swell for the last 3 days, we began our trip back to the uber consistent North Malé atoll. En-route we checked some lesser-known waves that aren’t often surfed at this time of year due to the unfavourable trade winds. However, with unseasonal slack winds and glassy seas, we were confident we could find Ken some elusive lefts.

The spot makes no sense when inspected on a map. It’s in the middle of a channel, in the swell shadow of another island and faces NW away from the swell. Somehow though, it manages to suck in more swell than any other waves around. Once the pushing tide had eased the current, overhead sets were bombing through – suggesting the spot could handle some serious size on its day. Ken found his left-hand runners, milking one all the way to the inside and gaining some tattoos from the reef for his efforts. Mission accomplished!

 

Dhaalu Atoll

There was one more spot on our radar for the route north… One of the longest waves in the Maldives on its day, this fickle right offers steep walls for turns and the odd cover-up on the inside too. Despite the swell just being 2.5ft @ 14 seconds, head high walls greeted us on arrival. John wasn’t too happy about the pods of 50+ dolphins around us though… (he ‘claims’ a dolphin attacked him in California!). Despite reports of 20+ guys in the water the day before, the line-up was EMPTY, again. This session turned into one of the best of the trip.

Julia and Dmitri sharing a wave in Dhaalu Atoll.

 

Going out on a high…

Arriving back at Himmafushi, we were greeted with solid surf considering the forecast was only showing 3ft @ 9 seconds. We jumped in for the last filmed session of the trip, before heading to a local ‘clinic’ for PCR tests. After living in a COVID-free bubble and thinking about nothing but surfing for the past 9-nights, the discussion of PCR tests the next day was a shock to the system. Fortunately, the crew on Gurahali are well-versed in this by now, and the process was smooth and hassle-free.

The final dinner of traditional Maldivian food was enjoyed by all. John treated us to a compelling speech in the way that only John can. The team reminisced on the past 10-days, debating important topics such as which spot they enjoyed most, who drank the most beers, and did John actually drop in on Jody? The jury is still out…

Award Ceremony…

A post-dinner award ceremony crowned the following champions… Conveniently, there were 9 categories;

Most improved male – Dimitri 

Most improved female – Julia 

Best combo – John 

Best barrel – Bard 

Most likely to do voiceovers for Renegade videos – Elad 

Best reef rash – Ken 

Most likely to be last on the Dhoni – Ole

First in line for a Renegade bodyboarding trip – Jody  

Most likely to be found stretching on the roof at 3am – Jiffy

Jody fulfilling his bodyboarding dreams in HD

Icing on the cake…

The trip wasn’t over just yet… With late departures all-round, we opted for a late-checkout, allowing everyone a final chance to surf themselves silly. With a morning low tide, currents were an issue. Though after 10 days of drone piloting, I jumped out with  Pepijn to enjoy empty overhead jailbreaks. The current was savage but the effort was rewarded with 150m+ rides and multiple barrel sections.

As the tide turned, the cavalry arrived, and the ‘crowd’ of 2 grew to around 25. However, there were so many waves coming through that the crowd wasn’t an issue. Bard scored ‘the wave of his life’ after I surrendered priority and called him into a screamer.. Thankfully, my good deed was repaid around an hour later and I scored my own wave of the trip in front of the whole crew, and the watchful eye of a drone. Strangely, karma then instantly swung the other way and snapped my board clean in two on the very next wave. #worthit

Dale on the other side of the drone…

Back on the boat everyone agreed the trip couldn’t have ended on a better note. The progression throughout the trip had been incredible to witness and we had truly experienced surfing in the Maldives at it’s finest. The atmosphere watching the drone videos back was a giddy high. We packed our bags, swapped SD cards and paid up our bar tabs (how much was yours, Bard!?). It was time to cruise back to the airport.

A HUGE thankyou to the crew on Gurahali for providing always exceptional service and an unforgettable experience. Thank you to Pepijn for stepping in last-minute and helping us to deliver the world-class coaching we pride ourselves on. Thank you to Mother Nature for providing incredible conditions throughout the trip. Lastly, thank you to our amazing guests. You arrived as strangers and left as friends and the level of stoke and progression was inspiring to watch. We can’t wait to have you on board again in the future!

A truly epic 10 days with a truly epic crew.

Click HERE to check out our upcoming trip schedule or GET IN TOUCH to enquire about a private trip for groups of 4 or more.

Private Surf Coaching

Trip Recap – 15-26th April 2021

It’s been a strange and challenging 14 months. Having only run one trip during that period, we’ve missed sorely our guests and the amazing moments that put smiles on dials. So it goes without saying we were incredibly excited to get back to doing what we love and kick off 2021 with an epic private surf coaching trip!

Our scheduled coaching trips are and will always be our ‘signature’ trips. There’s just something special about bringing different surfers together from all over the world in paradise with a common goal of progressing your surfing. That said, our private surf coaching trips offer the ultimate stoke-fest. Get a boat full of good friends or family, throw in pumping surf and elite-level coaching and you’ve got a recipe for a good time!

For our first trip of 2021 we had an epic crew of dads and sons, friends and family. A mostly Californian crew, with a sprinkle of Brazil and New York for good measure. There was a mix of abilities, all the way from ‘surfing one year but hungry to progress’ to ‘grown up competing’. That’s the fantastic thing about a private coaching trip… regardless of ability, everyone on board is rooting for each other to improve. It was incredible to see everyone in the group make marked improvements in just 10 days – though perfect empty lineups and daily coaching will do that for you.

 

 

Interested in a private surf coaching trip for you and your crew?…

If you’re interested in booking a Private Surf Coaching Trip for you and your crew, simply get in touch via the form at the bottom of our Maldives Surf Coaching page.

 

The first time I visited the Maldives, it struck me that these were some of the most progression friendly waves I’d surfed. Warm water, plenty of power but not too much, lefts, rights, point style waves, short hollow waves, tubes, turns – you name it, it’s here. So much so, I’d bet 90% of surfers can find their perfect wave here.

For this trip we were south-bound for the Central Atolls. Whilst the Malé Atolls offer consistency and convenience, those looking for empty lineups will find Shangri-La further south. It’s a long cruise but so worth it when you’re surfing pumping waves by yourself. Throughout the trip we scored a range of conditions, from playful peelers to pumping point-style waves with long walls and barrel sections. We scored fun waves every single day and after 11 days everyone was feeling pretty sore and thoroughly surfed out.

 

Check out this blog post if you want to learn more about the surf seasons in the Maldives and how they relate to the 3 main surfing regions...

Warm-up sessions…

After a few COVID related hurdles were navigated, we headed jumped in at a consistent left called Chickens to wash off the jetlag before setting sail for the Central Atolls. A couple of fun sessions later and everyone was feeling primed and ready to set their sights on emptier horizons. We pulled anchor and headed south to our first stop…

For 3 days we parked up next to a couple of super fun but very different righthanders. One, a fast down-the-line wave breaking inside the bay of a picturesque tropical backdrop. The other, a softer, mellow right breaking on the corner of an exposed reef. This made for the perfect first stop, allowing the crew to split up and surf different waves depending on conditions / tide / mood. The wave count went through the roof in the mostly empty lineups and despite being only a few days into the trip, everyone was already showing signs of improvement.

Private surf coaching in empty waves.

Speedy runners on the inside.

Softer walls on the outside

Empty and inviting. The outside had it’s moments too.

 

Eyes on the prize…

After 3 days of fun waves, the swell SE swell started to die. However, anticipation was bubbling as we could see a  perfect long period SW swell filling in on the forecast. It’s always a tough decision to sail away from fun waves. However, sure bets aren’t the Renegade way, so we pulled anchor and headed for a lesser known corner…

On arrival we were met with a slightly disappointing sight. Empty, yes. Pumping, no. However, the swell wasn’t forecast to fill in until later that day so we dropped anchor and waited. A few of the crew were keen to surf after the long cruise so headed out despite the tiny swell. Fortunately, as hoped, the disappointment didn’t last… It wasn’t long until there were hoots from the lineup as the frontrunners of an 18 second groundswell started to show. We were the only boat around and surfed alone for hours until the locals joined us before sunset. It was one of the those ‘pinch yourself’ sessions with perfect waves going unridden whilst we sat and waited for the best ones.

The 200m+ walls gave load of opportunity to put theory into practice and plenty of evening viewing!

Pumping waves in the Central Atolls

Caught off-guard in the quickly building swell. Another one goes unridden…

 

Progression Sessions…

As the dedicated coach, Mark was able to put all of his energy into one goal: Make sure all of our guests receive the knowledge and tools they need to take their surfing to the next level. Coupled with the ability to analyse frame by frame, this gave our guests a new level of understanding. Having a dedicated coach and filmer makes Renegade coaching trips unique. Your coach can be in the lineup giving you real time feedback instead of stood behind a camera. All of the group were starting to think about their surfing, not just going through the motions, and it showed.

Barreled at Hocus Pocus

Alec getting stuck into some of the trips hollower offerings.

 

Meet the guests…

group photo on the deck

Good friends, good vibes, good times. (right to left – Paul, Marcos, John, Ian, Julian, Joe, Sam and Alec)

Paul, a plastic surgeon from California was the orchestrator of the trip. He and his son, Alec, definitely led the charge for the most hours in the water!

Whilst Alec has grown up surfing most of his life and competed through school, Paul took to surfing later on. However, he clearly possesses the eagerness to learn and improve. In a sport where moments are so fleeting, it was epic to see them both trying new things without fear of failing. Adapt the mindset that no wave is too precious and your surfing will thank you.

Paul’s nephew and Alec’s cousin, Sam joined the trip as our least experienced surfer. However, he won our ‘most improved’ award of the trip! Sam has only been surfing for a year and was understandably nervous about surfing reef breaks for the first time. To see him come from nervously clambering to his feet and jumping off every time the wave got a bit steep, to confidently paddling out in some of the biggest waves of the trip and even starting to do cutbacks within just 10 days was super rewarding.

Marcos, our Brazilian surfer, met Paul on a trip to the Telos a few year back. So when Paul was looking for friends to join this trip he dropped Marcos a line and he was down! Despite coming from different countries, all of the group transferred in Doha and arrived in the Maldives together – pretty epic.

With mostly rights on this trip, Marcos’ focus was on maintaining and generating speed on his backhand. Boydie had him visualising ‘serving the pizza’ – opening the palm of your leading arm, in turn opening your chest and bringing you up the wave. By the end of the trip Marcos was coming off the top and redirecting down the wave with a lot more speed which made a huge difference to his surfing.

Muli surf Maldives

Marcos on a cruisy wall at the start of the trip.

John (a good friend of Paul’s) and his son Ian, also joined the trip as a father/son duo from California. John is a chiropractor and an outdoors enthusiast, but hadn’t surfed much in years. The punchy Maldivian reef breaks proved challenging at first as it was very much ‘in at the deep end’. However, it was epic to see John pushing himself in some of the more challenging waves of the trip. Despite some missed waves and spectacular wipeouts early on, John was confidently catching waves and looking comfortable on the face later in trip.

Meanwhile, Ian won our award for ‘combo of the trip’. Whilst clearly a very capable surfer, Ian’s stance was a bit too far up his board. This is a super common mistake for intermediate and even advanced surfers but can make a huge difference when addressed. Once Ian was finding the back of his traction pad, he instantly looked like a different surfer. From there, it was just about dialing up the commitment of his turns from 50% to 100%.

Rounding out the young guy contingent was Alec’s good friend, Julian. Julian was struggling to break his beach-break ingrained habit of constantly pumping down the line looking for a section. Again, Julian was a capable surfer but just needed a mindset shift once up and riding. One of my favourite teaching moments of the trip was seeing the penny drop with Julian that each maneuver you choose should serve a purpose. Turns aren’t just ‘tricks’, they allow you to keep pace with the wave by keeping you in the critical section. With this in mind and long, peeling walls ahead, Julian went from surfing mid-face with a lot of ‘flapping’ to surfing top-to-bottom on rail.

Julian, eyes on the prize whilst Joe claims it!

Last but not least was Joe, our resident dermatologist keeping everyone very aware of the dangers of the Maldivian sun! Towards the start of the trip, Joe’s biggest hurdle was wave selection. For those of us who grew up surfing busy beachbreaks, it’s hard to break the habit of going for everything. However, in empty lineups with long roping waves, you can afford to be a little more picky. Once Joe started picking off the runners it was time to get to work on the cutback! Joe already had the fundamentals, he just needed to be more assertive and hold the board on rail until connecting with the whitewater. This was something nearly everyone on the trip was working on in some capacity. Whether it was Sam cutting back for the first time or Alec taking his roundhouse from functional to radical.

This private surf coaching trip was truly memorable and it was a pleasure to host such an epic crew. We had pumping waves, empty lineups and plenty of good times. Bring on the rest of the season!

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maldives surf coaching trip recap august 19

maldives surf coaching trip recap august 19

Maldives Surf Coaching Trip Recap

17-24th August 2019

 

4 English, 2 Scots, a German and an Australian boarded a boat… No this isn’t the beginning of a joke but the start of last month’s Maldives Surf Coaching Trip!

What a trip. We had an awesome mix of solo surfers and one couple on this trip. New guests, returning guests, some very experienced, some not so much, guys, girls, goofy footers and regulars… It was amazing to see everyone getting on really well right off the bat. Some were repeat customers but most came as strangers and left as friends. I’ve never seen a group of surfers progress so much in just 7 days and being part of it was incredibly rewarding. Everyone left stoked and inspired to keep progressing. This is why we do it!

 

If you’re interested in joining a Maldives Surf Coaching Trip, check our schedule, find answers to common questions, or simply get in touch.

 

Since my first trip to the Maldives, I knew there was no better place to run surf coaching trips. The waves here are some of the most consistent and user friendly in the world. So much so, I’d bet 90% of surfers can find their perfect wave here. Such a dreamy destination deserves the best trip execution and the challenge of improving trip after trip is what makes this job so fun and rewarding!

Whilst the majority of the trip was based in super playful surf, we scored some solid waves at the beginning and end of the trip meaning everybody go their fix. We surfed 7 different spots during the week. Some rights and some lefts ranging from soft and forgiving to fast and powerful. This is the beauty of a Maldivian boat trip – wave variety and quality.

 

Check out this blog post if you want to learn more about the surf seasons in the Maldives and how they relate to the 3 main surfing regions…

 

Early arrivals and pumping waves…

A handful of the guests arrived in the Maldives a few days before the trip officially kicked off. This allowed them to warm up before the start of the week and spend a few extra days in paradise.
Meeting everybody at the airport, we arranged transfers and accommodation a stones throw from Cokes and Chickens – two of the best and most consistent waves in the Maldives. Everyone was keen to wash off the travel grime and get a few waves under their belts before the coaching course began.

Generally speaking, the waves in the Maldives aren’t renowned for being big and heavy. Hence why we believe it’s the best place on earth for intermediate surf coaching. However, as always, nature is full of anomalies. Upon arriving at Thulusdhoo we were greeted with solid double overhead groundswell unloading with some serious grunt onto the reefs. For those who wanted a piece of the action; epic waves were had, comfort levels were stretched and boards were snapped… All before the trip had even officially started!

pumping waves at chickens maldives

 

All aboard!

Once on the boat and settled in, we got to work hunting down empty lineups. It’s always slightly uncomfortable sailing away from guaranteed waves but it paid off as we found exactly what we were looking for. One right-hander in particular (which we won’t name – sorry!) proved to be the highlight of the trip. A pointbreak style wave breaking soft on the outside before getting faster and steeper towards the inside. Something for everyone, long rides and very few other surfers in the area.
Arriving the day before the swell was predicted to pulse, everyone was frothing to get into some user friendly waves after the morning’s cruise. It was also a good opportunity to suss out the lineup before the surf built.

There was a slight sense of disappointment the following morning when it was still only waist high on the sets. However, drawing on previous experience and knowledge, we made the call to stay put and wait for the pushing tide. Sure enough, a few hours later glassy head high walls were peeling 150m down the reef with nobody around. We surfed for 4 hours until dark. The wave count was through the roof, arms turned to noodles and Laurie captured some incredible drone footage. This gave us plenty to get our teeth into in the post-dinner video analysis.

 

Progression Sessions…

As the dedicated coach on this Maldives surf coaching trip, Boydie is able to put all of his energy into one goal: Make sure all of our guests receive the knowledge and tools they need to take their surfing to the next level. The video analysis sessions were invaluable. Actually being able to see what you’re doing frame by frame makes a world of difference. Each night had a different topic and everyone went to bed frothing to practice new techniques the following morning.

As well as evening ‘surf class’, Boydie was always in the lineup giving one to one coaching whilst our dedicated cameraman, Laurie was behind the lens. This is something that makes our trips unique as you get real-time feedback after each wave which is a complete game changer. With your coach not stuck behind the lens, they can be in the water with you watching every wave and reminding you what to focus on. Everyone received loads of encouragement, constructive criticism, analysis, tips and advice. All the guests were really thinking about their surfing rather than just going through the motions, and it showed.

 

The Guests

The English contingent…

Michaela, a Doctor from England had probably the least surfing experience of the group and this was her first taste of surfing reef-breaks. Safe to say she loved it! The perfect fun-sized right hander we scored offered some of the longest rides of her life and loads of time on the wave. At the start of the trip she was taking off and trimming down the line but struggling to maintain pace with the wave and being knocked off by sections. By the end of the trip she was surfing with far more composure and effectively using compression and extension to make it around sections that would have beaten her before.

 

Bill, Michaela’s partner and also a Doctor was a return guest from last season. Bill has been a good friend of mine for years and we’ve spent many hours surfing together back in the UK. A solid surfer with good flow, Bill was working on keeping his hands up to create projection down the line as well as adding more aggression to his turns and overall speed to his surfing. He achieved just that and was linking some lovely combos at overhead Sultans during the last few sessions of the trip.

 

Then we had David, a videographer living in Cornwall. David won ‘wave of the trip’ at our last night awards for a near 1 minute ride on a beautiful roping head high wall. I remember just getting to the lineup as David kicked out of this one and he was absolutely buzzing. Even more so when he found out it had been captured in a beautiful drone clip! One for the ‘gram.

 

Last but not least was Sam (Cobra). Another return customer and good friend of mine, Cobra has to be one of the biggest frothers I’ve ever met and super keen to progress his surfing as quickly as possible. Cobra was constantly hitting up Boydie for more tips and soaking it all up like a sponge. Boydie was more than happy to indulge him and the two of them had countless conversations geeking out on the nitty-gritty of surf technique and body mechanics.

 

Representing Germany…

Lena, a Psychologist from Germany now lives in northern Spain to get her surfing fix. She was a little apprehensive about joining the trip as a solo female traveller but that apprehension quickly dissipated once she’d met all the other like-minded guests. At the start of the trip Lena was surfing confidently but often outrunning the wave and losing it. We spent the week working on cutting back to the whitewater to stay in the steep section of the wave. The cutback is a complex maneuver but critical for good surfing. By the end of the week Lena was really starting to rotate her body and subsequently her board. Towards the end of the trip she was coming all the way around and beginning to rebound off the whitewater. Incredible progress in just one week!

 

Our Aussie tube hunter…

Monty, a Lawyer from Australia now lives in Tokyo so doesn’t surf as much as he would like any more. (Our trips are perfect for those in this situation as you can make marked progress in a short space of time.)
Monty was our resident tube hunter and was trying to sniff out barrels at every opportunity. (You can take the Aussie out of Australia…) Like Bill, out on the face Monty was working on adding more rotation and aggression to his cutbacks. With competent surfers like Monty who already have a good foundation, it’s all about eliminating bad habits first and then tweaking the technique.

 

The Scots…

David (Frosties) grew up surfing with Boydie. He relished the opportunity to catch up with an old friend, all whilst improving his surfing and scoring perfect waves. Check our latest video featuring Frosties impressive progression!

 

Gordon (Goggz) won our award for ‘most improved’ of the trip. He was also in contention for ‘best wipeout’ after taking on a shallow left and getting too closely acquainted with the reef. He needed a few stitches from our resident doctors so it only made sense to give him a mohawk… Which he pulled off to the extent of us forgetting what he looked like before the restyle!

Being a goofy-foot, Goggz was surfing our dreamy right hander on his backhand. At first this proved tricky in the small conditions as Goggz was tending to look down on takeoff. This was causing him to drop straight down the wave, lose speed and be outrun by the section. (Where you look is where you’ll go!) Just a few days later, Goggz was looking down the line, arms up, projecting around sections with speed to burn. The difference was night and day.

 

This trip was truly memorable and a pleasure to meet such great guests. We had epic waves for everyone, incredible food and an amazingly accommodating crew. Bring on 2020!