Maldives links capital with surfing island via free ferry service

Maldives government on Tuesday launched a free ferry service for surfers, linking capital Male with the surfing island of Thanburudhoo.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Monday by the tourism ministry, state owned Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) and Maldives Bodyboarding Association (MBBA) to begin the service. At a ceremony held at the tourism ministry in Male Monday afternoon, tourism minister Moosa Zameer, MTCC Managing Director Ibrahim Ziyath and MBBA President Abdulla ‘Fukoo’ Areef signed the agreement.

According to the agreement, MTCC will provide the service free of charge, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.

The ferry boat will depart from Jetty No.6 in Male at 1pm and return to the capital city at 6pm on weekdays, while on weekends the boat will leave from Male in the morning and spend the whole day in Thanburudhoo before coming back to Male in the evening.

Only surfers will be allowed on the ferry. MBBA is currently working on providing surfers with identification.

The island of Thanburudhoo in North Male Atoll.

Thanburudhoo, which is home to the world famous waves Sultans and Honkeys, was leased to Singapore-based Telos Investment for a 50-year period in exchange for USD 5 million to develop a military training facility on the nearby island of Girifushi. However, protests by the local surfing community forced the government to later terminate the lease and to keep the island open to the public as a surf heritage site.

The uninhabited island of Thanburudhoo, located in North Male Atoll, is currently the only surfing spot in the central region. Construction of a bridge to link Male with the airport island of Hulhule has led to the closing of popular surfing spot of Raalhugandu in Male.

Surfing has become a popular sport, especially in the tourism industry of the Maldives, with resorts and tour operators organising surfing charters to allow guests to experience the many different waves and breaks in the island nation.

The best time for surfing trips to the Maldives is the Southern Hemisphere winter, which lasts from March till October. During this period, the roaring forties cause storms which bring the largest swells to the archipelago. The biggest waves are likely to occur in June, July and August. During this period, the wind is mainly offshore all day long.

The Maldives is exposed to the same swells as Indonesia is, except that its higher latitude and its South-East exposure offers cooler and less hardcore surfing. The typical Maldivian wave rolls up like most point breaks with workable corners, fun pockets and long rides. Very rarely will the sets wall up or close out the channels. The waves break on mostly dead reef, and very rarely will you come in contact with it unless you are surfing on a very low tide.

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