Surfing Perfection in the Maldives on a Budget

After leaving Sri Lanka, I planned to travel to the Maldives since it was the cheapest flight from Colombo (which was only about $120). Here I would spend a whole week only surfing and that was it. Although the Maldives comprises of more than a thousand islands, much of which isn’t inhabited, I went to Thulusdhoo as that is the most famous of the islands for surfing.

The Spanish couple I met in Sri Lanka had already told me about surfing in Maldives. They had such a good time on the different surf spots there. And I was also excited to go there but I wanted to make sure that it was on a budget, which I think I ended up doing well enough.

One of the cool things is that when you arrive into Male Airport, is immediately after you walk out of the terminal, you’ll be right at the ferries and speedboats and crystal clear water. Since I had arrived at night, I needed to stay on Male Island for one night. The next day, I would catch the speedboat, which. left off of Jetty Number 6 across from Bank of Ceylon. This cost $25. And then it takes thirty minutes to go to Thulusdhoo island. 

I stayed at Midsummer. which was about $50 a night for five nights, without the environmental fee of $3 per day. This hotel is right in the middle of the island, next to many restaurants and only a three minute walk to the beach. There’s another hotel on the island where I met the owner and he said that he could get me a good deal on a surf package, so let me know if anyone is interested in it. Both Vicky (owner) and Rafq (on-site caretaker) were awesome to work with and made my stay super enjoyable. Thanks to them!

I also rented a surfboard from a nearby surf shop. and the prices were $25 for one day, $20 for two to three days, and $15 for longer than that. For the six days I rented the board it only cost me $90 total. About 40% of the boards were rented out already for the day when I got there so I had limited choice. I picked an Al Merrick surfboard that was maybe 26L. This was way smaller than the one I rented in Sri Lanka and was a pure performance board. I paid for it in my back and shoulders with the extra paddling that I needed to do. A recommendation is to bring your own board or secure one ahead of time that has at least the proper volume before you go.  

Seeing this island was so interesting because it’s only sand and a few meters above sea level. There is tons of ponds after some nightly rain showers and it basically turns to cement on the roads. But the area is really chill and relaxed. And one thing to note is that Maldives is a Muslim country so they have separated beaches for the tourists, and more moderate ones for locals.

My first day surfing was probably one of the best because it has the most size. The wave was breaking in three different sections and I was only one at the end of section where it really starts the bowl. That was fun. But note that you’ll have to watch out because the surf spots can get super crowded when the charter boats arrive. They will bring 10 or 12 people who will jump into the water at the same time and clog the line up. The best bet is to hope that you surf in the time between the boats. Meaning that most boats will start at 8:00 o’clock and then finish by 10 exactly, and so you will have between ten and eleven free from any other boats or people.

Even if you’re not into surfing there’s still a nice beach to relax on and it’s really picturesque. You’ll see that my photos are slightly cloudy but that’s because on the sunny days I was surfing and so there wasn’t much time for taking regular photos.

The water when it is sunny is so clear that you can see all the coral and fish swimming and it really is amazing.

I was lucky enough to meet some cool surfers, David and Simone. We basically surfed every session together and went out even when the surf was not that great. It’s one of our best sessions was at Chickens (left-hand wave), where we had to take a boat across the channel. One of the best places to sit is actually on the far inside of the break because most people don’t make the fast middle section and so you’ll get the fast end section with nobody else on it.

Unfortunately we didn’t have any time to go explore the different surf spots like Jailbreaks or Sultans. But I’ve heard that these are world class waves and that they are a little bit easier of a break That may mean that the intermediate surfers will start catching more waves and not falling off as often so you may get less waves. 

It’s interesting where they got the surf spot names from. Spot called Ninjas and you should look that one up. Cokes is because they have the Coca Cola factory on the island and chickens is because there was a big chicken farm right outside the break

Since we were on Thulusdhoo, it was only proper that we surf Cokes everyday sometimes even twice a day. A few days when the swell is coming in we were surfing three sessions per day. There was only time to wake up surf, eat, surf again, put on more sunscreen and then surf again, 

An important note is that you do want to bring some leggings and a long sleeve rash guard and maybe even a hat while you surf and some very good sunscreen. The Maldevian sun is nothing to mess around with. It might be the strongest sun that I’ve ever felt before. And then even though you can rent a board on the island you’ll still want to bring an extra leash, extra fins, and wax because those items are expensive if you have to get them on the island. I used my own fins and they hit the reef a couple times, so I only damaged my own gear. You may also consider bringing foot booties because there’s large sea urchins on the reef. 

On certain days when we surfed, the water was so glassy. It was actually difficult to see between the ocean and the sky near sunset. I lost a contact one session and couldn’t see any of the waves because the water blended so much. 

These last photos are from our last day there. I had already hopped out of the water but David and Simone we’re still catching the waves. This session had one of the better, stronger waves. My only mistake was that I switched out boards Because then I could ride something with more volume and it was easier to paddle. So I spent half of that session learning this new board. But luckily nobody wanted to go to the point peak and so I just stayed inside and caught so many waves on the waves that nobody wanted to take. So if you do surf there it’s better to wait more on the inside and let everybody else take the bigger set waves. You all have to battle anybody off of the same wave.

I think they had a really good session and I’m super stoked for them. I caught so many waves on the small inside corner peak that I actually went in early this time – and tried my hardest to get a mini barrel on the shallow section. I didn’t understand why no one was playing around in this area, but that was my benefit. Since the board shop closed at 6:00 and sunset was 6:15 and I had the ferry later that night at 7:30 (ferry is only 10 minutes across the island so it’s a short distance over) I had to go in early, but that gave me time to run back over and get some last photos from the trip. 

I’m very happy that I met David and Simone on that first day on the island. They were great to surf with and always kept the stoke going even when the waves were not producing. I hope to see them in the future somewhere else in the world or on another surf break!

In total, my surf trip costs were something like this: $250 Accomodation, $90 Surfboard, $50 round-trip speed boat (although you can take public ferry for $1 but it’s once a day), $15-20 per day for food, $10 for Chicken’s boat, $15 environmental fee, and flights at $190 and $166. The more exact number is $1,050 for 7 days in Maldives in total. 

Location:

Thulusdhoo is located 30 minutes from Male & Male Airport. It’s in the northern atoll chain of the Maldives. This island is well developed and has many amenities because of it.  Here you’ll find the famous Coke’s wave (named after the Coca Cola factory on the island) and Chicken’s which is just a $10 (150 rupiah – 2024) boat ride away. Leave a comment or send me a inquiry if you have any questions or want more detail!

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