While surfing in the Maldives has been a favorite of pros, the popularity of this destination has increased recently due to the few places that are available in the surf world.
It all started with Michael Rodrigues, an ex-CT ripper. His posts were getting thousands of views, especially after he began sharing them. Portugal’sPortugal’s Miguel Blanco started sharing video after video of clear tubes gliding through a quiet group. Italo Ferreira arrived amid an all-star entourage, including Jadson Andre and 12-year-old groms who can surf better than us. A Ferreira soaring above an open barrel was posted, and Jaddy’s barreling over a duck-diving Mantaray gained over 300k views.
Who is the man behind the lens? After a three-month hiatus, Ibrahim Ayaz, also known as he, has returned to capture some of the most amazing surf content worldwide.
Tourism is the largest industry in the Maldives, accounting for 28% of the GDP. We spoke to Ayaz about how it was for locals, with no tourists arriving for the first time in 47 years.
What’sWhat’s the current situation in Maldives? How is it?
Although people are slowly adapting to the new normal, it is a slow process that still feels unsettling. Since the border was reopened in July, we have seen a few tourists arrive in the area. This is due to the re-initiation of significant airlines and the gradual opening of resorts. The water is a great place to be, with some lucky ones scoring lots of empty waves.
When were the Maldives put under lockdown?
From March 15th through June 14th, 2020.
Was it a preventative measure or because the Maldives was severely affected by COVID-19?
This was more of a preventative measure because of the global pandemic. It was also due to the increase in cases within Male City. COVID-19 has so far primarily affected our capital.
What was the lockdown on Males?
It was hard for us, each more so than the other. It was also an opportunity to stay grounded and mentally and physically fit. I had plenty of time to review old footage and photos to help me work on it further.
What about other islands? What about the other islands?
Few islands other than Male were under surveillance or locked down, and these measures were quickly removed. Surfers were not affected as they could surf on different spots and islands.
I’mI’m aware there are waves in Male city. Were you able to get in the water?
We were not allowed to surf while locked down for those living in Male”. As measures become more relaxed, we can surf and cruise around Male’Male’ city again and access all the other waves.
Have any tourists been left behind?
Yes. Some tourists stayed behind at Pasta point, Thulusdhoo, and Himmafushi. Due to the changing situation in their countries, some tourists were willing to stay behind at resorts.
Are you able to visit other parts of the Maldives, and have you been able to take photos?
Yes. Yes, in the central islands, the waves are more accessible and less crowded. The waves down south can be heavy for an average wave size. It’sIt’s still fun to surf and shoot. The male atoll is consistent and close to the breaks so it can get crowded. However, this is not the case right now.