Born 23 April 1977, Goofy
In Rasmandhoo (Raa atoll)
Height : 5’6 ; Weight : 52 kg
National titles : 2001, 2002 and 2004Favorite 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
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