Dispatches: HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT
We’re living through a pretty special time when it comes to foiling, where the eye-wateringly fast development of the equipment and the accessibility to the spectrum of wind and water states that foiling allows has created a gold rush of sorts, revealing prime spots around the world that might hitherto have remained off wave or wind riding radars. So we needed a new slot… something to celebrate these corners of the world where wind and waves might be in abundance, and where you probably need to go next. First up, it’s the glorious Maldives…
Words: Adrian Geislinger
Photos: Dominik Leitner
The Maldives are definitely not a well-hidden secret anymore. Known for its luxurious islands, white beaches, and pristine diving spots. But also, the surfing world has taken these islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean by storm. Approximately 1192 islands offer plenty of surf spots, with several reef breaks, but there are also some lagoon-like spots with flat water. In the summer months you can have some good swells coming from the south or south-east, hitting these islands perfectly. But it’s also the monsoon season, which means rainy days and, luckily for us wingers, a lot of wind! The most popular spot is in the Male Atoll, with its famous names like Sultans, Cokes or Chickens, crowded at this time especially, but probably all year around. So, it’s not a spot where you are going to make friends with a foil under your board, and I strongly recommend you don’t try it because it’s just too sketchy with that number of surfers in the water.
However, the further south you go, the more options you have to find a wave that’s rideable with your wing foil. Given the sheer number of islands and reefs, there are still plenty of undiscovered spots for us hydrofoil addicts. Most of the discovered waves have been viewed without having the option of a hydrofoil in mind, until now…
The best way to discover them is definitely by boat, as we did on our trip, although on some bigger days it might be quite fun to cross the channels between the atolls on your foil. On a past trip, we had some big rollers accompanying us on one of the bigger channel crossings between the Huvadhoo and Laamu atolls. But the good thing about being on the boat is that you constantly have access to any remote spots, and it is so easy to just setup your gear and jump in the water. As a kitesurfer who has had to deal with all the lines, I’m so grateful that this is not an issue anymore.
These are some of the most beautiful spots you will ever ride. Maybe not the best waves, as most of the time you’re avoiding the surfers, but definitely in the most beautiful locations. In August we had such consistent winds, with 10 out of 14 days over 20 knots. I was surprised, as I know the Maldives as this very calm place with glassy waters from my trips I have done in the winter (mostly for diving). This time of the year it showed a different face, and I was often the only guy on the water.
In general you have to look out for the water depth on some of the spots as it tends to get quite shallow relatively quickly, given that its mainly reef breaks. But I truly believe that it offers plenty of great options to explore and find some optimal spots that have so far remained hidden by the sheer number of islands. I know for sure that I will definitely be back to explore more of them too..