By Liz Davidson – Sunshine Surf Girls
It was 10pm when we finally landed in Male. Even at this late hour, the humidity hit us as we walked out of the airport and were greeted with a massive smile from Rippe, our surf guide. He quickly ushered the ten of us to the harbour and onto a waiting dhoni before we set off through the darkness toward our home over the next 10 days, the Cobia.
The following morning we woke to the sun rising over a group of tiny islands dotted with palm trees, surrounded by crystal clear water, a stunning reef and an empty line-up. We were at Jails, a super fun right hander with about 2-3 foot of swell. We couldn’t wax our boards fast enough, eager to get in the water… and there we stayed, only breaking to head back to the boat for breakfast and later, lunch.
I have to admit, I had been nervous about spending so much time with a group of strangers in a small space but we quickly became friends. It was clear that we were all here for the same reason; to surf good waves, relax and have a laugh. My nerves washed away as the girls hooted me on to my first wave.
We quickly fell into an easy routine: wake, surf, eat, surf, eat, surf, eat, sleep.
It’s not often that the line-up is dominated by women and the hoots, hollers and laughter we brought to each break made surfing so much fun. There was no snarkiness when we were in the water, just smiles from ear to ear and encouragement for each surfer to catch that one perfect ride.
We surfed some great, uncrowded waves and although the girls on the trip were at different levels of surfing, we all scored waves to remember. Jails proved to be one of our favourite spots, but we also had fun days at Sultans, a peaky right hander, Honky’s, a left that grows as it wraps around the island, and Chickens, another left with a long fun wall.
By dinner each night, were so tired we could hardly talk, but midweek we were jolted out of our surf stupor by a shout from one of the deckhands, “Manta!” Two huge manta rays were doing underwater acrobatics at the back of the boat so one of the other girls and I grabbed a mask and snorkel each and slid into the water with them. It was breathtaking – literally as one swam up behind me unexpectedly and I let out a scream! It was an experience I will never forget.
So, it wasn’t all surfing, eating and sleeping. We did find time in between waves to visit some stunning islands, spend a morning in Male buying souvenirs, swim with a pod of hundreds of dolphins, fish off the back deck, and snorkel amongst the thousands of colourful reef fish. There was also a sneaky dance party or two on the roof of the Cobia at night, and what trip to the tropics would be complete without a good old fashioned hermit crab race!?
After ten days my eyes were sunburnt, my arms and ribs were sore but my face carried a smile a mile wide. This trip ticked all the boxes for a perfect surf trip. I caught lots of fun waves, had some amazing experiences and shared it with new friends. I can’t wait to do it all again next year…