The Maldives are generally known for being a tropical paradise made up of beautiful, palm tree covered islands, ringed by white sand beaches, blue lagoons, and spectacular coral reefs inhabited by colourful sea life.
Located in the Northern Atolls, the Baa Atoll is all that and more. It is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which consists of three separate atolls. The most consistent breaks are found in the waters off of South Maalhosmadula Atoll. The airport on Dharavandhoo Island which services the area is 115 kilometres to the north of Male.
The region is largely unexplored. There are currently 13 named breaks on Baa Atoll, but only 4 are surfed on a regular basis. There are 3 other atolls that can be reach within a day by boat from Baa Atoll: Lhaviyani to the west, Noonu to the northwest, and Raa to the north. Our boat captain is a Maldives veteran, and he’ll make sure you’re always at the right place, at the right time. This is a fantastic area for surfers who want to surf newly discovered or completely uncharted surf spots.
Where to stay
There is only one option for discovering the breaks of the Baa Atoll, on board Surf Sojourn with The Perfect Wave. It’s one of the most experienced boats in the Maldives. Captain Hussain has been to every spot in the country and is still discovering more in the Northern Atolls. The cabins are comfortable and air-conditioned with en suite facilities. The experienced cook and crew love to fish, so fresh fish dinners and sashimi are daily treats on Surf Sojourn.
The best time to surf the Northern Atolls is during the South-West Monsoon season, from April to October, with May-August period being the peak wave season. Amazingly this also happens to be a low season in terms of Maldives travel calendar. This means that the resort prices are much lower than during the peak November-February period which caters for dive holidays during this period.
The water temperature is very consistent all year at 28 degrees.
The 13 known breaks in the Baa Atoll area are located in 4 different areas, and are only accessible by boat. They all need strong, long range swells with a period over 10 seconds from the SSW, S or SSE to work to their full potential. Although, conditions may vary from break to break, depending on swell size and direction, as well as the strength and direction of the wind these waves work best on mid to high tide.
There are two known breaks in this area, which sits on the eastern edge of the atoll in the vicinity of the island of Dharavandhoo where the airport is located.
- Dhravandhoo Right – About 3 kilometres to the south of Dharavandhoo, it is the closest wave to the airport. As the name implies it is a right-hander that works best on a SSE swell with W to NE or light variable winds. Probably the heaviest of the few regularly surfed waves in the atoll, it is for intermediate to advanced surfers only.
- Hanifaru - This is the northernmost known break on Baa Atoll. It is also just a few kilometres from the airport at Dharavandhoo. It is a left that needs a SE swell. It has not been surfed often enough to give more detailed information.
The waves in this area are located approximately 15 to 30 kilometres south-southwest of the airport. They need mostly SSE, SEE swell with a period over 10-12 seconds. WSW winds work best, with a bit of N wind for the lefts. With only one inhabited island in the area these breaks are far off the beaten track. They are rarely if ever surfed by charter boats. Since they are reef passes, the wave quality is generally thought to be well above average, but not much is known about the difficulty of most of these breaks.
- Hithaadhoo - This left works best on a SW swell, and is mostly sheltered from W winds during monsoon season.
- Olhugiri – The southernmost spot in this region, this right works on any direction from SW to SE. Like Hithaadhoo, it’s location is mostly sheltered from W winds during monsoon season.
- Maamaduvvaree Left – This spot works best on a SE swell.
- Maamaduvvaree Right – Although Maamaduvvaree Right and Left share the same first name, they are not in the same location and break off of different islands. However, they both work best on a SE swell.
- Kanifushi – This left works best on a SE swell.
- Kudadhdhoo - This left is the standout wave in the region, and is considered world class. It is best on a SSE to SE swell and N to NNE wind.
- Miriyandhoo - This left is the northernmost wave in this region, about 15 kilometres SW of the airport. It works best on a SE swell.
Located on western edge of the atoll, these spots are approximately 35 kilometres west-southwest of the airport. Similar to Region B, they are in a very remote area, with the closest inhabited island over 5 km away. They seem to break best on SW or WSW swells. Both breaks work on different wind directions, one needing NW wind and the other needing NE to ENE winds, and both work well with light variable winds. The potential and consistency of these breaks is still to be studied and further documented.
- Thulhaadhoo – This left would seem to work best on SW or WSW swells with light variable winds. It has not been surfed often enough to give more detailed information.
- Gaaviligili – This left would seem to work best on SW or WSW swell with light variable winds. It has not been surfed often enough to give more detailed information.
The locals call this place the Wild Wild West located approximately 50 kilometers south-southwest of the airport. Two waves break off of the Goidhoo Atoll in the southernmost part of the Baa Atoll area. There is one main channel facing south, exposed to SW, S and SE swells and with predominantly N winds. Both waves wrap around mouth of the channel of this old volcanic atoll. In spite of the distance from the airport, all three islands of Goidhoo Atoll are inhabited and have basic facilities for tourists, but no major resorts. These two waves have been surfed relatively often compared to others in the Northern Atolls.
- Maafushi – This right-hander is suitable for beginner to advanced surfers. It works best on a SW swell, with NNE winds.
- Fehenfushi – This left-hander is also suitable for beginner to advanced surfers and works best on the same SW swell with NNE winds. It is a very fun, long, fast, down-the-line type wave, one of the best of its kind in the Maldives.
As for Lhaviyani Atoll and Noonu Atoll, due to their locations on the east side of the island chain (similar to North Male Atoll) they are more exposed to SSE and SE swells, with the southwest rim of Lhaviyani Atoll also within the reach of strong SW swells. Raa Atoll is situated directly above Baa Atoll, so is almost completely blocked from direct S swell. Its southwest rim is the most exposed and open to swells from the SSW or SW, while its eastern rim is also open to strong SE swells. As with most breaks in the general area, light variable winds are preferred, along with winds from the NNE, N and NNW depending on the orientation of each break. None of these atolls have been explored extensively enough to give more detailed information on specific breaks.