“It has to be stopped,” said Occy succinctly, talking with a small group of local Maldivian surfers. “They can’t develop this place, it can’t happen.”
“Places like this, we need them, ” reiterated Tom Curren. “They can’t be closed to surfers, they can’t be closed to anybody. How can you close the ocean?”
Former ASP world champions Martin Potter and Damien Hardman shared similar sentiments while participating in the recent Four Seasons event in the Maldives, writes Jake Howard for ESPN.
The situation on the ground, or the atoll, as the case may be, is that currently the Maldive’s Ministry of Defense are in negotiations with an American development company, Telos Investment, to build a resort on the island of Thanburudhoo, home to two of the northern Maldives best waves; a right-hand point/reef called Sultan’s Point and a left named Honkey’s. The concern of the Maldive Surfing Association (MSA) is that the island’s develop, which was once a training ground for the military, would in essence privatize the two prized breaks.
“There are approximately 100 surfers at Thamburudhoo each day, including surfers on safari boats, surf camps on local islands, tourists from nearby resorts, and locals,” reads the MSA’s impact report. “Currently there are four available surf breaks. If Thamburudhoo becomes exclusive that number is halved to two. The remaining two waves on Himmafushi and Thulusdhoo cannot cater to the escalated number of surfers.”
“We do not have any intention of closing the surf breaks,” said Minister of Defense and National Security Mohamed Nazim in a conversation aboard the Four Season’s surf charter boat “The Explorer.”
He added, “The deal may involve perhaps charging some kind of fee to use the breaks, but we do not want to close them completely. I know this because I am the one that is directly involved in putting it together.”