Who has never dreamed of surfing in warm, transparent waters with great-quality waves in a tropical paradise ?! In the most blue country on the planet, it is where the dream comes true.
After a decade working with coach and surf guiding, Felippe explains why a surf trip to the South Atolls is the right decision.
Felippe B. Dal Piero is an experienced surfer who loves to share some good waves and keep his surfing guests stoked. Always on the constant search for perfect waves and new adventures. This time he explains why it is worth visiting the most remote atolls in the Maldives.
For more than a decade, Felippe has made regular appearances in paradisiacal surfing locations as he travels the world creating and doing mind-blowing trips sometimes fading to the Maldives for a month or two.
Usually at this time of the year, Felippe travels to the atolls at the most southern tip of the Maldives before heading to the central atolls for the high surfing season.
This year it is different! Felippe concentrates his boat trips to the south more often than before and staying for a longer period of time.
Felippe is going with a group of Brazilians who have already been in the Maldives and this time we made a plan to spend 14 days in the South Atolls and we will explore and stay longer there. Why you are wondering!?
Felippe – Because after a decade of surfing, guiding and spending months in boat trips around the world, you learn a thing or two.
How long have you been surfing in the Maldives? Why do you keep coming back?
I’ve done about 15 trips in the last few years. During the first trips I worked for different companies doing the coaching and guiding work. In the last 4 years I have been traveling exclusively with Mahalo Surf Experience. It’s always special to come back to one of themost beautiful places in the world, why would I not go back? No other place on this planet is like the Maldives.
What kind of waves do you like to surf?
Anything these days. I love the Maldivian waves, perfect and clean with possibilities to surf various types of surfboards and it accommodates various levels of surfers with different surfing styles. I am happy to return to the Maldives every year. I am always “stoked” in the Maldives – those waves are just like a dream for me, everywhere you look you have those glassy endless reef waves breaking.
Tell us a little bit about the Atolls of the South, what makes them so special?
Located about 300 miles south of Malé, the southern atolls are the latest surf frontier in the Maldives, a remote, completely unspoiled and virtually uncrowded territory with surfable waves that allow quality surfing adapted to various levels of surfing.
In these crystalline waters, you will see more marine life thriving in its natural habitat than anywhere else in the world.
It is slightly different from the Malé and Central Atolls as it is much more exposed to the southern swell with nothing blocking when the swell hits. The waves here are generally the largest in the Maldives.
It is possible to find perfect reef break configurations, with large swell and wave consistency in the popular months of March / April and mid-August continuing until late October.
There are just a few resorts and even less boat charters, which means that the crowd factor will not be taken into consideration. The Southern Atolls are a true gem and one of the least explored surf destination on the planet.
The waves are selection of quality waves from heavy barrels to open walls super ripable. Some waves can be shallow and faster but you can be sure you will find your perfect wave there!
When it is working there is no other place in the Maldives that I prefer to be.
Those atolls are reputed to be just a good option at the beginning and end of the season. Why is that?
This is a fair review…in general this area picks up the most swell, there is nothing that blocks the area from any swell. During the months of March and April this region is completely uncrowded.
You can surf in the area all year around peaking from March to October. To get the most of your surf trip in this area, you will need an experienced guide with you that can navigate your way around the breaks to find one that is offshore in the prevailing trade winds.
This area will give you goosebumps and a great supply of perfect waves that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Why should people travel to the Outer Atolls during the middle of the season?
There is no denying that it may be windy, but there is always a wave working for each direction of the wind. The crowd factor is minimal and the waves can be a little more dug and fast, making it perfect for people who may have surfed before in the Malé and Central Atolls and want to try out a different area.
I’ve also received a lot of feedback over the years from my guests that they prefer to surf a slightly wind-blown wave with no one else being in contention with 20 other guys in the water.
Fewer resorts and only a few boats are licensed to operate in the area. It’s all a bit more challenging to reach this places – usually requiring a domestic flight departing from Male. But all easily organized by the Mahalo Surf Experience team and its solo team operations for you and your travel buddies.
What kind of waves can surfers expect?
A little more power in the waves, a little more hollow and you have to pay more attention to the tides. Unlike the Malé atolls, where you can surf in most tides. Some of the waves in the south can not be surfed at low tide. The direction of the ripple can also change the waves as well. For example, if the Beacons swell has a lot of West, it may be closing completely … having someone who knows the tips and tricks is key to getting good waves safely.
What tips would you give to anyone who wants to book a surf trip in the south during the middle of the season?
Get a decent boat a good captain and crew, you need an experienced surf guide who knows the area, have some good boards under your feet and keep an eye on the forecast to make sure you are equipped for all conditions. And if you can go with a group of people you know even better and more fun guaranteed.
What about the boat, how many people are part of the surf trip ?
We work with the Gurahali which is a style and luxurious boat dedicated to finding the perfect waves, equipped with two other boats to support surfing.
This charter can be booked by solo travellers or private groups from 6 to 16 surfers.
We travel with only 6 surfers. Each has a private cabin with bathroom.
This vessel provides an ideal experience to explore the wave-rich, tropical paradise the Maldives Island. The crew is a great team and the captain has accumulated more than 20 years of navigating through the Maldivian waters. This is something very important and should not be underestimated.
Any other specific tip about the Maldives to make my vacation the best vacation of all time?
Do some training before you come. Having a level of fitness will ensure that you have more time in the water.
Do not go too hard the first few days and drink lots of water. Heat, stress and dehydration can cost you easily a day or two and you don’t want to risk that.
What you want is to enjoy every minute of your trip.
It is very hot in the Maldives, even in the water, so I suggest carrying a good zinc and mineral sunscreen, a surfing hat or a lycra shirt. And many of those effervescent electrolyte replacements. They will save you some of your surfing sessions.
Do not buy alcohol at duty free as it is illegal to bring it to the Maldives and it will be confiscated at the airport.
Other than that, if you’re coming here, get really excited because it’s really a tropical paradise for surfers like no other. This will be my fifth year here and the place still does not stop surprising me.