The bloody Maldives! I was SO excited that I was going to bed earlier each night in order to make the days go quicker. This was a TRIP OF A LIFETIME, a place that I had dreamt about going to for years prior, to experience tropical warm water for the first time in my life, the joys of surfing without a wetsuit. I think that I was as excited as I used to get as a child before Christmas where I would become so hyped up for Father Christmas’ arrival, and then get so scared that a random bearded stranger would soon be in my house that my parents would have to give a teaspoon of Stopayne to make me sleep. Yes Stopayne, get over your neurotic selves, it might not have been the best parenting option but I turned out alright in the end…more or less anyway.
Flying into the Maldives was a spectacle alone, the turquoise coloured oceans, the white sand spits in the middle of the ocean, boats zooming across the deep blue leaving a trail of white foam behind them. We were welcomed into the tiny airport of Male with a wave of overwhelming humidity, beads of sweat instantly trickling down our spine and dotting our foreheads. After a smooth baggage collection process (one always seems to underrate smaller airports for some reason), our surfboards had been put aside for us to come and grab them before heading off on a 45 minute boat ride to Kandooma, home to the wave of Kandooma right.
When pulling up into the ‘harbour’ of Kandooma, the water was smooth like glass and crystal clear all the way to the sandy bottom. Occasionally a school of brightly coloured fish would swim around the moored boat, checking out the new arrivals through their big googly eyes whilst a giant camouflaged stingray kicked up the sand around it, rudely disturbed from his afternoon snooze by the intrusion of the boat’s motor. The colour of the water was honestly beyond what I could have ever imagined, the most beautiful colour blue surrounded us with the contrasting bright green palm trees towering up from the white sandy beach, dotted with tourists whose colour could only be described as salmon pink.
Our goal in the Maldives was to shoot a surf film, originally for a company, but that went balls-up a couple of hours before boarding the flight, and so we rather found ourselves on holiday in the Maldives for 10 days, with zero expectations. Despite not going in surf season due to the last minute plans, we were still adamant that we were going to get a few days with surf-able sized waves, however we learnt that when you go to the Maldives out of surf season, you really go out of surf season!
Every morning we would excitedly wake up and look out of our window in ancticaption of seeing surf, however instead every morning we were greeted with the sight of the ocean lapping gently onto the reef, the images of famous Kandooma right replaced with a glassy flat ocean. We attempted to explore the perimeter of the island on SUP boards however after being charged a whopping US$70++ for an hour of SUP boarding (the cheapest activity on the island) for both of us, our extra curricular activities were quickly narrowed down to snorkelling and waiting patiently for surf.
Maldives is the definition of paradise, of what most of us would describe as paradise anyway, however as beautiful as it is being on a tropical island, you are very limited on what you can do & where you can go without paying extortionate tourist prices. Apart from activities being over-priced, lunch and dinner was came in at roughly $75 for the both of us. This is mainly due to not much produce being able to grow locally there, so food is imported making for expensive meals (especially when converting to Rands).
SURFING SUGGESTION IN THE MALDIVES:
In hindsight, IF SURFING IS YOUR MAIN PRIORITY when visiting the Maldives, I would highly suggest hiring an all-inclusive surf charter (shared amongst friends to split costs) as your best option. My main reasons would be that it is fully inclusive of food, it provides flexibility to surf alternative breaks which work on different swell directions, winds and tides as well as the freedom to avoid crowds. The boats often have SUP boards and ocean based activity gear like snorkels or diving equipment on board, which means that on flat days you can still spend hours exploring the ocean.
If you are however looking for that dreamy beach holiday for some quality R&R where using the least amount of energy is your priority, staying on an island would be your best bet. It is not an inexpensive holiday however, of course there are different ways to do it, but if you want the full ‘paradise’ experience, it does, like most things, come at quite a hefty price.