Local surfers launch documentary at Male’ event

The Maldives Surfing Association (MSA) held a barbecue and screened a local surfing documentary earlier this week in an effort to promote the sport in the Maldives.

The MSA’s Chairperson, Mohamed Shiuneel, says such events are necessary to promote the sport because surfing’s development in the Maldives has largely been restricted to the resort industry, which in some cases he says have even claimed ownership of surf breaks.

“Maybe it’s because tourism is growing so fast – even safari boats are now [claiming] surf breaks,” he says.

Local surfers have competed very successfully in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, Shiuneel notes.

“The government can help us – we need to protect the surf point areas,” he says. “There are many environmental issues that can affect them. For example, when the artificial beach was reclaimed it really affected the Male’ surf break.”

Pro surfing was famously introduced to the Maldives in 1973 by an Australian surfer called Tony Hinde, who was shipwrecked in North Male’ Atoll during a voyage from Sri Lanka to Africa. Hinde named many of the country’s most popular surf breaks, giving them names like Sultans, Jails and Honkeys, before falling in love with the country and deciding to stay.

He converted to Islam, changed his named to Tony Hussein Hinde, married a local woman, opened his own surf tourism agency, and died of a heart attack after riding a wave in 2008.

Shiuneel explains that while Hinde introduced pro surfing and introduced short boards, “Maldivians have been here since the second century. Many people like my grandfather talk about Maldivians surfing on a plank of wood.”

In recent years the Maldives has begun to attract an increasing number of professional surfers, drawn for the same reasons as Hinde. Accessing many of the breaks remains a challenge however, with many restricted to those with either local knowledge or those who stay in a nearby resort.

“A lot of people don’t know how to access some of the breaks, and beginners can struggle to get access to surfboards,” Shiuneel says, acknowledging that sport is not as easy to take up as it should be.

“I think we live on a small island and have a very defensive mentality. It’s a geographical problem as much as anything. And While the Surf Association tries its best to run development programmes, we do struggle for funding.”

Surf politics and issues of funding matter little to many of the clubs members. Asim ‘Chin Chon’, who describes himself as “a local legend”, says surfing “is the best sport for the Maldives. You shouldn’t be driving around the island in a sports car – instead, every house should have a surfboard. This should be normal for an island city.”

“Look at it, it’s God’s gift,” he says, sweeping his arm at the waves breaking on the nearby seawall.

“It’s relaxed; there’s no jet skis, just paddling out on a board – that’s nature.”

The surf documentary will be available from the Sea Sports store in Male’ and the Maldives Surfing Association in a week’s time.


9 thoughts on “Local surfers launch documentary at Male’ event”

  1. It would be awesome if the documentary could be viewable online so people who aren't currently in the Maldives can view it.

    It's really great surfers and the art of surfing is getting recognition. Some of the surfers are truly amazing. Raalhugandu has to be my favourite place in Male'.

    Oh and "introduced to the Maldives in 1873"? That would make Hinde (RIP) quite old, wouldn't it?

    Also this article fails to mention very much about the actual documentary or the launching. This is really sub standard reporting minivannews.

  2. "He converted to Islam, changed his named to Tony Hussein Hinde, married a local woman, opened his own surf tourism agency, and died of a heart attack after riding a wave in 2008."

    That's a sad sad paragraph. He did not open a surf tourism agency and die. He did so much more in his life.

    Agree with Haani that this is sub standard.

  3. It is time to give "Tony Hussein" name to a surf point for remember our old good friend

  4. Hello people..i will brief you about the documentary.it was the National surfing competitions "reef rannamaari".(High Lights)plus interviews Free surf session.High performance surfing of the Maldives..ITS ON HDV..and a bonus surfmusicvideo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQaG_IbXGVg

  5. Pro surfing was famously introduced to the Maldives by the MTPB (under minister Ibrahim Hussein zaki and his successor Hasan Sabir) and Hussein Salah of Seasports. The chairman of Malddivian surfing association and minivan news are either unaware or are purposefully downplaying the role of local surfers and their pioneering efforts in the advancement of surfing in Maldives. This is not to detract from the contribution of Tony Hinde to Maldives surfing, but credit should go where it is deserved..
    sub-standard reporting i agree

  6. @wagula pro surfing was not introduced by those ministers or MTPB whatsoever as if they can surf. A pro surfer is anyone with skills and enter the local and international competitions and he who find a sponsorship to support his career and willing to dedicate himself to the sport, anyone at this level practices pro surfing. It started when Ismail Miglal (Quiksilver sponsor) and Mohamed Fayaz pele'(Hot buttered sponsor) participated in the pro juniors event held in Australia all thanks to Hussein Salah and Terry Fitzgerald. ASP held an event in the Maldives in association with MTPB and MSA after the pro juniors event and it doesn't mean it's the introduction to pro surfing in the Maldives but it was the first time a world class event was held in the Maldives. And MSA's Chairman is also mistaken, Tony introduced modern surfing and not pro surfing in the Maldives and yes he did much more in his life.

  7. MSA is not an officially recognised or nationally registered organisation. Please explain?!!!


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