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First Soneva Surf Pro competition takes place in Baa atoll

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Soneva Surf, the world’s first fully sustainable surf programme, has hosted the first ever Soneva Surf Pro 2018 Baa Atoll Surfing Competition.

The competition took place in the Baa atoll island of Goidhooo on September 1, with over 40 surfers from several islands in the atoll competing in three divisions: Over 18, Under 18, and Body Boarding. Three-time Maldivian National Surfing Champion Ismail Miglal and Cokes Surf Camp Manager Troy Hugget were the judges.

“There is so much talent in Baa atoll and it was heartwarming to see all the participants excel and showcase their skills. We hope to shine light on the local heroes in the Maldives and create a positive competitive spirit among the Baa surfing community,” Sunny Yang, the Surf Experience Manager at Soneva Surf, said.

Ahmed Zain, a 17-year-old from Goidhoo, was crowned champion in the Under 18 division, while two young surfing enthusiasts from Eydhafushi island — 18-year-old Mohamed Samah and 15-year-old Ibrahim Zain, won the Over 18 and Body Boarding category, respectively. The Most Promising Surfer title was awarded to Haisham Latheef, a 14-year-old from the island of Fehendhoo.

Prizes included eco-friendly surf boards by Firewire Surfboards, cork bodyboard by Hot Buttered Surf, leashes by Revolwe Surf, fins by Bureo, traction pads by Slater Designs, sunscreen by Manda, and board wax by Matunas.

“The Soneva Surf Pro is a part of the Soneva Ocean Stewards (SOS) programme. SOS includes learn to swim, swimming competitions, water sports festivals, learn to surf and now surfing competitions. With these programmes, we aim to inspire more Maldivians to enjoy the ocean around them and become the next generation of ocean protectors,” Ahmed Moomin, Community Engagement Manager at Soneva Fushi, said.

Soneva, a world-leading luxury resort operator, introduced the fully sustainable Soneva Surf programme in May at both of its Maldives properties, Soneva Fushi in the Baa atoll and Soneva Jani in Noonu atoll. Soneva in Aqua luxury yahtch also offers a Surfing Charter within both atolls.

Prices for Soneva’s surfing packages start at USD 350++ per guest for three hours from Soneva Fushi or Soneva Jani, which includes a surf instructor/guide, water, snacks, usage of surfboards, rash guards, sunscreen and board wax. A private boat for a maximum of four guests for three hours including surfing equipment costs USD 1,000++. The Surf Charter with Soneva in Aqua starts at USD 4,200++ for one night, a maximum of four adults and two children. This includes all meals (excluding alcohol and soft drinks), a surf instructor/guide, Mr. Friday, spa therapist, chef and captain.

Soneva Surf is pioneering luxurious yet sustainable surfing, using eco-friendly surfboards, leashes, fins, rash guards, sunscreen and board wax. Soneva encourages guests who are interested in surfing to leave their surfing equipment at home and use the eco-friendly brands that were carefully selected by Soneva. Products are also available for sale.

As part of the programme, Soneva is also working with the local communities to help support the further growth and development of surfing across the Maldives in an effort to encourage the younger generation to understand the power and vulnerability of their ocean home. Soneva is working with its partners to help provide equipment, opportunities and training for aspiring Maldivian surfers, including hosting surfing events.

Soneva runs two resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani.

Established in 1995, Soneva Fushi is the original Soneva. The No News, No Shoes blueprint for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways is located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. Soneva Fushi inspires the imagination with 65 spacious beachfront villas, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms, hidden amongst dense foliage.

The iconic resort has bagged several international awards for eco-friendly tourism and green initiatives, including the 2017 Green Hotelier Award for the Asia Pacific region and the Sustainable Hotel Award by the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) as well as a spot in the Gold List compiled by Condé Nast Traveler China as the Best Hotel in the Maldives and amongst the best resorts in the world in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2017.

Opened in December 2016, Soneva Jani is Soneva’s newest property and its second resort in the Maldives.

Soneva Jani encompasses a collection of 24 overwater villas and one island villa set in a 5.6 kilometre private lagoon located in the northern Noonu atoll. The resort spans five islands surrounded by pure white beaches, covered in rich tropical vegetation, offering the ultimate in privacy and luxury.

Each of the resort’s multilevel water villas has its own private pool and a retractable roof that allows guests to sleep beneath the stars. Many villas also have slides that transport guests directly from the top level into the lagoon below. Other hotel highlights include a spa, an observatory — home to the largest telescope in the Indian Ocean — and an outdoor cinema.

Since its opening, Soneva Jani has created a lot of buzz amongst luxury travellers with its exciting features such as the retractable roofs and the water slides. It has been named the Best Over-the-Top Luxury hotel of the year by Jetsetter.com, the best new resort in the world by CNN, and the Leading Luxury Hotel/Resort in South Asia and Leading Luxury Hotel/Resort in Maldives.

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Earth, space camp adventures at COMO Maalifushi, COMO Cocoa Island this Summer

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This summer, COMO Hotels and Resorts’ two Maldives properties are offering a unique and exciting line-up of activities designed to inspire and educate all ages. From an exhilarating Space Camp with astronaut-led adventures, to an immersive Earth Camp exploring the natural wonders at COMO Maalifushi, and the exploring the captivating universe under the ocean at COMO Cocoa Island.

Island Astronauts Return To Maldives: Space Camp at COMO Maalifushi

Join us for an unforgettable galactic quest from August 5th to 14th, 2024, at COMO Maalifushi, led by American astronaut Nicole Stott and space advisor Christina Korp. Inspiring for both children and adults, this Space Camp offers a unique blend of adventure and education through art, food, and movement.

Our immersive Space Camp features a fun-filled itinerary of complimentary space-themed island activities for ages up to, ensuring every moment is packed with excitement and learning. All camp activities are complimentary for children aged four to 16.

  • Postcards to Space: Participate in Nicole Stott’s “Postcards to Space” project by creating postcards with artwork and messages about your hopes and dreams. These postcards will be sent to space and returned to you with a “flown in space” stamp.
  • Spacesuit Art: Contribute to “Quilted,” a collaborative art project with children from around the world by adding your unique touch to a spacesuit.
  • Blast Off: Build your own rocket from recycled materials and launch it high into the sky for a thrilling blast off!
  • Protect Our Planet: Discover the impact of human activity on our planet from a space perspective, followed by a beach clean-up on a neighbouring island.
  • Galactic Gastronomy: Enjoy a stellar dinner under the stars, hosted by Nicole Stott. Hear about her adventures aboard the International Space Station while savouring a specially crafted menu.

Island Warriors: Earth Camp at COMO Maalifushi

From July to August 2024, younger guests can join us for a journey through the wonders of the natural world, on land and under the sea. Enjoy educational activities exploring everything from marine biology to traditional crafts, fun-filled fitness workshops, treasure hunts on our castaway island, and more.

Take advantage of our exclusive Family Getaway Offer when you book a stay of five nights or more for Space and Earth Camp. Adults will receive daily half board and complimentary full-board and seaplane transfers for two children (under the age of 12).

Universe Under The Ocean: COMO Cocoa Island

From August 16th to 17th, 2024, dive into the depths of the ocean with NASA astronaut and aquanaut Nicole Stott at COMO Cocoa Island. Experience the ocean through a guided reef dive, learn about the rigorous training astronauts undergo, and enjoy a specially curated menu shared beneath the stars.

Join us for these extraordinary experiences and let your imagination soar beyond the stars!

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Patina Maldives invites guests to embark on journey of artistry with Clay Studio partnership

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Patina Maldives, renowned for its seamless blend of luxury, nature and artistic expression, has announced an exclusive collaboration with Clay Studio, the premier ceramics hub in the Maldives. The unique partnership brings a series of engaging and creative pottery experiences to guests of all ages, offering an enriching addition to their island stay.

Starting on 1 June, Patina Maldives invites guests to embark on a creative with Clay Studio, where they can explore the therapeutic and artistic world of ceramics. This collaboration offers a variety of immersive pottery classes that cater to both novice and experienced artisans.

Wheel Throwing Experience Taster Class

Guests can discover the soothing rhythm of shaping and molding clay in this engaging session. Perfect for unwinding and tapping into their artistic side, this class offers a hands-on introduction to the art of wheel throwing.

Hand Building Experience Taster Class

Participants will enjoy the intimate and expressive art of hand-building pottery. This class provides greater creative freedom, allowing them to craft intricate, personal designs that reflect their unique artistic vision.

Paint A Pot

Guests can unleash their creativity by transforming pre-made clay items into unique masterpieces. This session invites participants to paint their imagination onto cups, trinket dishes, and more.

Kids Clay Studio

Designed for young artists, this class nurtures creativity and imagination through fun, hands-on activities. Children develop fine motor skills and sensory awareness as they create their own unique pieces.

Couple Wheel Throwing Date

Couples can experience a romantic and unique activity in a private setting. This special session offers personalised instruction, making it memorable and intimate experience.

Guests can also enjoy personalised attention and exclusive guidance through private sessions. Ideal for families or couples seeking a bespoke experience, private classes are tailored to meet individual interest and skill levels.

Patina Maldives honours itself on offering extraordinary experiences that blend art, nature, community and connection. This collaboration with Clay Studio is a testament to the resort’s commitment to providing guests with sophisticated and fresh experiences that reveal new layers of possibility and inspiration.

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Utheemu Ganduvaru: Portal to Maldives’ national freedom

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The Maldives, often celebrated for its sun-kissed beaches and turquoise waters, also offers a rich tapestry of history and culture waiting to be explored. Among the islands of Haa Alif Atoll lies Utheemu Island, home to Utheemu Ganduvaru, a historical treasure that invites travellers to delve into the storied past of the archipelago.

Utheemu Ganduvaru, the ancestral home of Muhammad Thakurufaanu, stands as a poignant reminder of the Maldives’ fight for independence. Thakurufaanu, revered as a national hero, led a successful campaign against Portuguese occupation in the 16th century. His childhood home, Utheemu Ganduvaru, offers a rare glimpse into the life and times of this legendary figure.

In 1558, the Portuguese invaded the Maldives, killing the Sultan in battle and establishing their rule. Muhammad Thakurufaanu and his brothers, Ali and Hassan, left for Minicoy to prepare a campaign to liberate their country. The boat they built, Kalhuohfummi, was crucial to their efforts. Thakurufaanu and his brothers fought the Portuguese for eight years, landing on different islands under cover of night to evade capture, and departing before daybreak. Eventually, they landed in Malé and defeated the Portuguese leadership in the capital. Freed from Portuguese rule, the people chose Muhammad Thakurufaanu as their Sultan.

Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu ruled the Maldives for 12 years until his death in 1585. He is remembered as a considerate and just ruler, concerned for the well-being of even the poorest citizens. He is also credited with establishing the country’s first formal military unit.

Back at Utheemu Island, visitors are immediately struck by the island’s tranquil beauty and its lush, green landscape. The journey to Utheemu Ganduvaru is a step back in time, where the echoes of history are palpable. The residence itself, a traditional wooden palace, is meticulously preserved, showcasing the architectural ingenuity and cultural richness of the period.

As you enter Utheemu Ganduvaru, the simplicity and elegance of the structure are apparent. Built from timber, the palace is a fine example of traditional Maldivian craftsmanship. The intricate woodwork, with its detailed carvings and polished surfaces, speaks volumes about the artisanship that flourished during Thakurufaanu’s time.

The main hall, with its open layout and cool, shaded interiors, offers a sense of serenity and reflection. It was within these walls that Thakurufaanu spent his formative years, and each room tells a story of his early life and the influences that shaped his destiny. The residence includes living quarters and storage spaces, all arranged in a manner that reflects the daily life of a prominent Maldivian family in the 16th century.

One of the most compelling aspects of Utheemu Ganduvaru is its connection to the larger narrative of Maldivian resistance against foreign rule. Guides at the site often recount tales of Thakurufaanu’s daring exploits and strategic brilliance. His knowledge of the archipelago’s intricate waterways and his leadership in naval battles are celebrated as key factors in the successful expulsion of the Portuguese in 1573.

Beyond its historical significance, Utheemu Ganduvaru offers visitors a deeper understanding of Maldivian culture and heritage. The site is a testament to the resilience and unity of the Maldivian people, embodying values that continue to inspire. For travellers, a visit to Utheemu Ganduvaru is an opportunity to connect with the soul of the Maldives, experiencing the essence of its history and the spirit of its people.

While on Utheemu Island, visitors can explore other points of interest, such as the island’s beaches and vibrant local community. Engaging with the locals offers additional insights into Maldivian traditions and hospitality, enriching the overall experience.

For those seeking a journey through time, Utheemu Ganduvaru in Haa Alif Atoll is a destination that should not be missed. It is a place where the past comes alive, where the legacy of a hero continues to resonate, and where the true essence of the Maldives can be discovered. As you walk through the halls of Utheemu Ganduvaru, you are not just a visitor; you are a part of a historical journey that defines the Maldivian identity.

So, when planning your next visit to the Maldives, venture beyond the beaches and dive into the rich history of these islands. Let Utheemu Ganduvaru be the highlight of your cultural exploration, offering a meaningful and memorable connection to the heart of Maldivian heritage.

Cover photo: Andreas Faessler

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