Let me set the scene for you.
- You and your best friend have a week off.
- You want to surf in tropical waters.
- You can go anywhere in the world.
- You want to take all your camera gear with you.
- You want to be on a boat, right in front of the surf spots, so you can surf 2-3 spots a day.
- You will need a lot of zinc.
- All you want to do is, surf, eat, sleep.
Get the picture yet…..?
SURFING: (sur’fing) n. A water sport, in which the participant stands on a floating slab of wood resembling an ironing board in both shape and size and attempts to remain perpendicular while being hurtled toward the shore at a rather frightening rate of speed on the crest of a huge wave. (Especially recommended for teenagers and all others without the slightest regard for life or limb.) –The Beach Boys, surfin’ U.S.A. Album liner notes (1963)
Kat and I board the plane in Dubai at 3am, half delirious from both coming off 17hour flights we have worked from L.A to Dubai, a quick shower to try to wake my mind up, we throw all the stuff we think we will need in a big pile on the floor. Pack the boards with all the bubble wrap, blow up whale, and bikinis we own. We head back to the airport drinking teas the size of our heads, and I start feeling the excitement growing inside me. I can smell the saltwater already. We manage to score rows to our selves so we can pass out listening to Dolphin and whale music on my Ipod, I get some much earned Zzzzz’z.
I awake a few hours later to look down upon our new home for the next week. What I see immediately gives me the burst of energy I need. Paradise is waiting to meet me.
Now for all those looking to travel to the Maldives, here are some Wikipedia points you may find of interest,
*NO VISA is needed to get into the Maldives. Hello, how easy does this make it!!!!
*There is one surf shop in Male, it is better to bring everything you need with you.
* The Maldives have an amazing diversity of sea life, with corals and over 2,000 species of fish, ranging from reef fish to reef sharks, moray eels, and a wide variety of rays: Manta rays, Stingray and Eagle ray. The Maldivian waters are also home for the whale shark.
*The Maldivian ethnic identity is a blend of the cultures reflecting the people who settled on the islands, reinforced by religion and language. The earliest settlers were probably from southern India and Sri Lanka.
*Most visitors arrive at Malé International Airport, on Hulhulé Island, adjacent to the capital Malé. The airport is served by an array of flights to India, Sri Lanka, Doha, Dubai and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe. Many flights stop in Colombo (Sri Lanka) en route.
*Islam is the only official religion of The Maldives.
*Maldives was the first country to hold a cabinet meeting underwater. The cabinet meeting was chaired by President Mohamed Nasheed. In the meeting, the President, Vice President, and the cabinet signed a declaration calling for concerted global action on climate change, ahead of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. The underwater meeting was part of a wider campaign by international environmental NGO 350.org. * This last fact I found and thought was pretty awesome!
The Maldives is a place that most people know about from seeing honeymoon advertising, lets just say when we boarded this flight, there was a lot of kissing, cuddle’s and loving glances going on around us. It was funny to board a flight with about 100 couples all very much in love and excited about checking out there beautiful cabana.
And then there is the other type of “Couple” ie, The Surfer with their Surfboard. This is a deep connection, and when a good connection is made, I think we should call it the sparkle factor.
Kat and I were jumping up and down on our seats as we could see the sets rolling in from the aircraft, surfing with our hands, (describing the ride and waves) and we were the weird ones!? Right…….
As we wait for our boards to come off the aircraft, I cannot but hope that there will be a huge set of balls, (confidence) to arrive with the boards. Maldives for all who know, have some of the best waves in the world. Most of which are situated on reefs, not exactly the place one goes when learning to surf….but the way I feel about this is, why not learn on the best waves in the world. I mean…..Have ticket, will travel, right!
The Maldives features 1,192 islands, of which two hundred are inhabited, and we were getting on a boat with 12 other guys from the Canary Islands and cruising the North Male Atolls, we were to be situated as close as possible to the waves.
We are greeted by Andreas who owns the boat and Anloran Surf Charter’s. We found out about the legend Andreas and his epic life from The world, Storm rider guide. After a few emails back and forth we had a room on the boat, it was really that easy.
We jump on a Dhony for an hour which takes us out to meet the guys and the Anloran. I intensely become infatuated with a spot called Sultans, clear, clean waves, amazing sunshiny tropical weather, and a water temp of 27degrees, this means NO WETSUITS!! Booties are a must for me though. I did kick the reef a few times and was happy to be wearing my little booties right at these moments. A really awesome crew of people out. Everyone having so much fun, the stoke comes so easy here.
In between sessions and applying more and more 50+ zinc -which is an essential here, we spent time splashing around and snorkeling, taking photos, exploring islands near by and chatting to the locals that live here, eating fresh fish, fruit and coconuts, reading- books for this trip include, One Day written by David Nicholls and for inspiration, Women Photographers at National Geographic -Cathy Newman. We wake at sunrise every morning, and head to the front of the boat as the guys move the boat onto the next spot. I loved this time of the morning, cups of tea, some yoga and beautiful scenery on the way to waves, it really was living the dream.
Now, Kat and I have a saying “Feel the panic”, we use it when ever we put our selves into situations where panic arises. For me, Reef breaks enter under this heading. But in these waves, even when I was getting worked and smashed by the sets I couldn’t get under, being held down for what felt like much too long when the water is perfectly clear and you can see the surface, but can’t seem to reach it easy, paddled, paddled and then paddled harder to try get out of the soup bowl of water, my arms begin to feel like spaghetti arms, they could fall off. I need to eat more humus. You can’t help but laugh at yourself, be happy and so completely stoked that your here. You know it’s always good fun, when your midway through conversation with a dude who has a sick cutback and water runs out your nose like someone turned a tap on. Casual as. Because you know this is normal. “Cute” some might say. I think Kat and I must have yelled out across to each other at least 20 times a day, “We are in the Maldives” It just didn’t get old. It was an absolute dream come true for both of us.
Day 3 will go down in my “Coolest days I have lived” box. We head back out to Sultans, and who paddles out but Jordy Smith, The Brazilian Oakley team, and John John Florence. All really nice guys to chat to while sitting in the line up and I would like to add, they even told me how not to feel the panic, which I thought was very nice of them. Watching these guys dominate the surf in such close proximity is something unreal, they surf with such an easy style of elegance with just a splash of Holy**** Rad that was insane and spend most of their time in the sparkle room! It really is like watching a live surf movie, up close and personal. Coming here was officially my best last moment decision ever (Or as kat and I will always refer to as our “Honeymoon”) I definitely got a sweet salty taste of reef breaks, and tasty turquoise blue water’s that I am still dreaming about every night I close my eyes.
When the time comes for the Dhony to pick us up and take us for the hour and a half boat trip back to the Male airport to catch our flight, Kat and I sit on the front of the boat listening to hiphop tunes as the sun rises, flying fish shoot past and a dolphin, shark and manta ray all come to the surface to see us on the boat ride back to land, I get the feeling its like they are telling us not to leave. I want to listen to them. Kat and I don’t say a thing to each other the whole trip back, It’s like we don’t even need to talk, I am so content that sometimes there are just no words good enough to describe the feeling that the ocean gives me.
In the sweet words of a hiphop rapper, “It’s amazing” Kanye must have been singing about The Maldives, it’s a place where I feel dreams can come true. I will come back here, again and again and again.
I will continue to live a story worth retelling, I hope that this collection of our pictures and my smack talk/rambling’s have made you want to jump on the next plane with a one way ticket and jump into salty water.
Let me leave you with this quote of the day, “Surfing is a dance form, and the ocean is like a liquid stage”…..Now I don’t really think what I do on a surfboard could be called dancing just yet, it is probably much better described as flailing, I am yet to master the elegance that others seem to own, but damn it is just so much fun, and I will be doing this forever after.
Thanks for stopping by.