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SUMMARY
+ Virgin breaks
+ Swell consistency, SE winds
+ Overland surf access
+ Direct int’l flights
+ Equator Village deals
- Lack of mellow waves
- Extra domestic flight
- Only 1 wind-exposed pass
- Expensive dhoni access
- Pricey Shangri-La resort
oneill



Addu Atoll, Maldive Islands, INDIAN OCEAN


Madihera, YEP

Surf Spots

Kottey
Gaukendi Bridge
Approach Lights
Madihera
Shangri-la
Kanda Muli
Air Equator Lefts
Thundi Beach
Zubair’s

The Surf

With 26 atolls, Maldives obviously has much more to offer than the crowded spots around Malé and the charter boat reefs of Gaafu Dhaalu. Directly below the Equator is the southernmost Addu Atoll where Gan island was used as a British Royal Air Force base until 1976. When tourism started to boom in the 80’s, many people from Gan and neighbouring Foammulah were recruited in the resorts because they could speak good English. The result now is a thriving population of 20,000, living in some of the biggest villages in the Maldives, connected by the second longest road system and causeways, linking the western shores of Addu. Best known for diving wrecks like British Loyalty, torpedoed by the Japanese in 1942, the Maldives is slowly unveiling it’s potential for surfing. First scoped by Tony Hussein in 1996, very few people have surfed Addu until recently. The Quiksilver Crossing briefly stopped there in 2003, Antony Colas scored in August 2004, meeting Welsh pilot, Andy Burr, who stayed there for a year, becoming the first “local”. The reality is that Addu Atoll doesn’t have Maldivian standard, perfectly shaped, soft-breaking waves. Beginner/improvers will struggle with the technical breaks that require speedy riding techniques and the sharky, shallow reefs can be intimidating.



When to Go

Swell exposure is obviously the best in the Maldives, meaning consistent, powerful Indian Ocean swells arrive in the 4-12ft (1.2-4m) size range in winter (Apr-Oct) and 2-6ft (0.6-2m) surf in summer (Dec-Mar). Unlike other atolls, it can be good in summer with small clean surf on the west side and Vilingili, or else the heart of winter in July-August will see the SE winds (25%) fire up the inside lefts at Vilingili. S to W winds are frequent during SW monsoon time (May-Sept) and the only surf will be in Kottey with side-offshore wedges. It’s very unlikely to go flat, even during high tourist season from Dec-March. During spring tides, tide range is between 88-110cm (2.8-3.6ft), while neap tides can be as little as a few centimetres. Avoid full/new moon weeks, because low tide on super shallow reefs will be very sketchy.

SURF STATISTICS
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell SE -SW SE -SW SE -SW SE -SW SE -SW SE -SW
swell size (ft) 2-3 4 5 6 4-5 2-3
consistency (%) 60 70 70 80 70 60
dominant wind NW -NE SW -NW S -W SE -SW S -W SW -NW
average force F3 F3 F3 F3 F3 F3
consistency (%) 76 48 71 68 83 47
water temp (C) 28 29 28 28 28 28
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts
Population
20,000

Coastline
644km (400mi)

Timezone
GMT +5

Travel Information

Weather

The humid, equatorial climate hovers at 25-30°C (77-86ºF) year-round, experiencing 2 monsoons (NE and SW) with transition months in April and November. Addu experiences stronger, but less frequent showers than Malé and generally speaking, monsoons are less marked here with more SE winds in July-August. Thunderstorms can be really quick and strong. Water is bath warm, year-round.

Nature

Being an old British RAF base and the site of Buddhist tombs before 1153, there is plenty of cultural heritage. The 16km road can be a good biking trip and diving is world-class with plenty of sharks, big pelagics like barracuda and WWII relics.

Hazards

Occasional small reef sharks at Gan and Viligili, but the main problem is the treacherous straight reef. Most spots are very shallow with deep water drop-offs. Beware when walking on garbage in Kottey. Shangri-la might ban free access to the Viligili breaks and cost $300-700/nt.

Hints

As Addu Atoll is new and uncrowded, come with a group to share dhoni or van costs. Take a semi-gun as waves can get sizey. Only dhoni to Viligili when it’s clean. Take a van to Kottey for big stormy surf. Pack plenty of tropical wax and sunscreen.