May 29, 2008

Tony “Hussein” Hinde died surfing on May,27

Maldivian surf legend Tony "Hussein" Hinde died surfing on May,27th

Tony “Hussein” Hinde, the father of surfing in the Maldives has passed away, surfing his home spot at Pasta Point on May, 27th. He was found face down near shore and despite CPR, could not get back to life. What can be believed as a drowning happens only 4 months after the tragic death of his wife Zulfa. Which is an immense tragedy for their 2 kids, Ashley and Mishal.

In December 1973, Tony and his friend Mark Scaunlon shipwrecked in the North Malé atoll in Maldives aboard the Whitewings, a beautiful ketch where they were hired as crew. That changed Tony’s life completely. After a few months of refurbishing the boat, they realized how good the surf is. Tony once sent a postcard saying “I am thousand coulours away from home” And home became the Republic of Maldives where he turned muslim to be able to marry Zulfa and become a Maldivian citizen. For 15 years, he managed to keep the secrecy of worldclass surf in the atolls among a few friends. Which made it one of the best kept secret in the whole history of surf discovery. He was forced to launch Atoll Adventures in the mid-80’s and Tari Village because there were a few foreign plans to develop the surf over there. Tony Hussein always remained the landlord over the camp and changed to Dhonveli Beach & Spa in the early 2000.

Here was Tony making calls for organizing the boats around, together with his partner Mark Scaunlon in May 1999.

Local surfers in Malé will have a paddle out ceremony outside Varunulaa Raalhugandu, the main surfspot in the capital to give a tribute to the memory of their surfing father after his funeral. He will be greatly missed by his family, Maldivian surfers and countless surfing guests that he took care personally at Tari Village and Dhonveli (now Chaaya Dhonveli)

Iboo : still the best surfer in Maldives

Hussein « Iboo » AREEF

Born 23 April 1977, Goofy

In Rasmandhoo (Raa atoll)

Height : 5’6 ; Weight : 52 kg

National titles : 2001, 2002 and 2004

Favorite surfers : Kelly Slater, Rob Machando, Tony "Hussein" Hinde

Because of the booming of deluxe tourism industry, you see a lot of wealthy kids in Malé taking over surfing with brand new boards and expensive surfwear brands. But Hussein Areef, aka Iboo, is not one of them. His father is an humble fisherman, who was working on fishing dhonis in Hasmadhoo on Raa Atoll, on the western side of the country, an unknown place to surf. However, until he was a kid, he would do “Raalhaelhun”, some kind of bodyboard with a wooden plank.

Then, he moved to Malé to study but a close friend named Azlee from Noonu Atoll and Sulja lent him a soft bodyboard and obviously, his parents were not happy at all that he would spend days surfing the local break. They did not want him to become a Vakaruge Kudin : the equivalent divehi word for “beachbum”. After 3 years of stand up surfing Malé, he finally got one day to Honky’s on a good Iruvai(dry season) day. It was a revelation : such a long wave, his legs would be tired halfway through the wave. He managed to keep up with his science studies but in 1997, when Ahmeed Rashid, aka Dara, told him about a job opportuinty at Tari surfcamp, although his parents had asked him to stop surfing, he gave it a try.

It was a tough experience at the beiginning being a shy surfguide among noisy Australians. He’d speak some english but never hung out with foreigners before, it was really hard to act as a surfguide. i.e, explain to the guests how Tari resort works, give them advice on surfing Pasta Point and arrange the dhonis to go to the nearby breaks like Sultan’s, Honky’s at Jailbreaks...Incidently, I happened to lose my board on a fairly big day at Jailbreaks in 99, right after the spot ban had been lifted, and guess who went swimming in the lagoon to pick it up ! Being able to surf Pasta everyday, Iboo quickly became the best surfer in the Maldives and he’s still ranked N”1 even at 31 years of age, despite the grommets in Malé getting better every year.

I met Iboo again in 2002 in Durban where he was leading a small delegation of Maldivian surfers in the World Surfing Games. First time surfing a beachbreak and first time wearing a wetsuit so it was not easy for those guys ! For the last couple of years, after watching some videos, he got into the switch foot thing, willing to go for a change on those perfect peeling waves. Although, he likes to bust airs and reverse tails, still, his favorite move is to get barreled on his forehand as a natural footer. He managed to get a sponsorship from Quiksilver Australia and really plays the athlete game like he quit smoking, which he did fairly heavily for 10 years ! His national ranking entitles him to participate in the Deep Blue O’Neill and now WQS contest at his home spot on Pasta Point.

After 10 years at Dhonveli (now Chaaya Resort) as a surfguide, he’s back in Malé working in the boat operations throughout the country. “Gaafu Dhaalu waves can be heavier than North Malé, there are soft waves too but that’s what I like about Fiyoari or Five Islands, there is real power !” Every year, he gets to travel with his girlfriend in Asia or Australia, wondering then when it will be best time to start a family ! Remember, Iboo has got 6 brothers and sisters and 5 of them surf, so if you go surfing Malé Break, there will be a Areef family member surfing for sure !

May 28, 2008

WQS 6 Star Pasta Point

Maldives presents SriLankan Airlines Pro

Men's 6 Star WQS Event #16
Pasta Point Maldives
9 - 15 June 2008Publier le message

Up to 15 of the elite 2008 ASP Top 45 will contest the SriLankan Airlines Pro, including last year’s event winner, Brazilian Heitor Alves, his fellow countryman Adriano de Souza, former World No 2 Australian Mick Campbell and Portugal’s Tiago Pires. Pasta Point has produced outstanding quality surf conditions for the SriLankan Airlines Pro over the previous 2 years and ASP competitors favor the event as one of the best on the ASP WQS Tour.

Pasta Point is located on beautiful newly called Chaaya Island aka Dhonveli Beach & Spa aka Tari Village. The 6 Star Prime Rated SriLankan Airlines Pro is a key event in the ASP World Tour offering bonus in ratings points as one of the limited Prime Rated events conducted around the globe, the SriLankan Airlines Pro is a focus point on the tour for the elite of the ASP WQS tour members.

Follow the SriLankan Airlines Pro live via a superb high quality Webcast beginning 9th June 2008. Live vision, commentary, scores, high quality digital images, daily video highlight clips and press releases updated throughout the event. THE SriLankan Airlines Pro prides itself on being an ASP 6 star Prime Rated event, regarded by many as the World’s Premier ASP World Qualifying Series Events held in possibly the HOTTEST waters on the ASP Tour!

Manaal safari boat destroyed by fire !

A safari boat anchored off an uninhabited island named Havoddaa in Gaafu Dhaalu atoll was destroyed in a fire Saturday night.

The name of the safari boat involved in the fire was named ‘Manaal’, Police said. There were only five crew members onboard the safari at the time of the incident and they had all managed to escape the burning vessel and go to the nearest inhabited island Dhevvadhoo, Police also said.

According to reports, the four locals and one expatriate man onboard the safari had escaped in the safari’s dinghy and were rescued by a passing boat that had transferred them to Dhevvadhoo.

Police said that the fire was believed to have originated from the engine room.

Surf trip to the Central Atolls, April 2008

Last 3 years, April had been pretty dry and sunny but 2008, probably plagued by La Nina weather system, has not been usual for the first Central atolls trips of the season. Because April is still diving and high tourist season, boats are pretty busy. Which means less surfers around ! Indeed, we did not encounter any other safari boats in the 13 days out there (not even seaplanes). However, 2 locals showed up quickly for an hour at Hadigilla (a premiere) and Mikado was also flocked on Friday by a handful of locals coming on a speedboat ! Which also means Maha boat is booked by Italian divers. So we took Vindhu-2 along, aka the Aquarium due to its astronomous number of windows.

All 10 guests (mostly british) had arrived the day before for a sundown start from Malé but australian Cdt Geoff was nowhere to be found since he had been sleeping on the beach at the aiport because Hulhule hotel was fully booked ! Again this year, the surf in Malé before the trip was brilliant with uncrowded 6ft throwing barrels.

« Last Stop / Riptides » being too small in South Malé, Vindhu kept on cruising and with cruising speed being more 9 than 8 knots, we managed to hit Muli 1h before dark. At this stage, weather was just splendid. Incoming current was outrageous so the 2-3ft swell was not so much fun in the channel. Next morning was looking inviting but we headed for Hadigilla knowing a SW swell was due. Next 2 days provided flawless 2-4ft surf with glassy conditions making the lineup look like a wave machine in a swimming pool. Then, wind swinged to an uncanny SE which made us surfed a new spot. Although I had surfed those lefts with late Malik Joyeux on the 2004 Oxbow trip, it was some kind of a premiere because 1-2ft lines were wrapping in a very different location of the island reef. Then, west winds started to kick in and it would never leave us until the end of the trip, featured by disputed skies and occasionnal rains, leaving a strong feeling of SW monsoon time (which normally hit mid May).

Mikado did not deliver the goods and remained in the 1-2ft league. Although the onshore lefts opposite the channel would reach 3ft and some good rides could be obtained, we made it to Yin Yang, which was gonna be our base for the last 7 days. The spot lived up to his reputation of being never flat despite small swell supply. A good swell showed up for 2 days and the inside turned into barrel fever on moments. We had a quick check at Machine / Tsunami's but a 15 knots west wind blew out 1ft+ surf. So we came back for more Yin Yang rides. I had told all guests to be careful of the infamous bowl, which produces the most powerful section in the Maldives. I probably did not listen to that advise and I found myself knocked out on the shallow reef. Definitely a mistake to catch the first wave of the set on a small day and my board got swallowed by the suck-up, which resulted in serious head injury. Fair enough, if that had to happen, I had to be first in line ! It did not take long to reach the hospital and get 12 stitches by Indian doctor and nurse. The main change over Yin Yang is that Olhuveli resort nearby will be opened early 2009. Let's wait for the pricing list...

Maldivesurf 4th season continues with Rifu, the new maldivian surfguide (Fayani's brother) who already visited the Central atolls last year with Portuguese surfers on a Turkish Gullet. Trips are booked up until June,7th but despite requests for the some periods in August-Sept, the booking is wide open until October on Maha. Feel free to drop in...

Maldivesurf Blog is born !

Welcome on the first blog with updated news about surfing in the Maldives ! Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any related info you would like to publish. Stay tuned !

The Maldivesurf team