The last days of March saw Maldives close its boarders and with it, a mass exodus of tourists and suitcases, scurrying to get back home before the last plane vacated Maldives.
Soon enough April rolled into town and so too did Corona Virus and Maldives quarantine restrictions… and, well, the best swell Maldives has seen in the last 6 months.
SURFING IN MALDIVES IN APRIL
Surfing in Maldives in April is usually a dream. But in 2020, it's been a dream start to the surf season for Maldivian locals who have embraced the 'new normal' of Maldives quarantine life.
The 12th of April was undoubtedly the standout of the month… a day of Maldives quarantine that will forever go down in the history books of Maldives surfing. From perfect empty line-up to perfect empty all across the country, for once, local surfers found themselves with a new kind of dilemma… not seeking perfect waves, but for a valid excuse not to surf. From sore shoulders to new knee injuries popping up overnight across the country, only a handful of locals were ballzy enough to surf perfect big empty barrels… some even vowing to taking it on solo.
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COVID-19 LOCKDOWN DAYS - APRIL 2020
Sunrise at Thulusdhoo Island on the 12th of April 2020, during the early days of Maldives quarantine, saw us locals awake to cloudless skies, not a breath of wind and, well... zero tourists. Huey had just delivered the ultimate surf-lovers pizza, right to our doorstep. Even with our squinted eyes staring directly into the morning sun, it was clear how wide and fast Chickens was breaking - just like a freight train running non-stop until the last carriage reached the channel. Flicker the old eyes over to Cokes and it’s like a mirror reflection of Chickens… which do we surf A) perfect Chickens or B) perfect Cokes?
We vouch to the water to take a closer look.
Our speedboat raced on out to Chickens for a geeza… shit it’s even better than we thought! Wave after wave rolls in. Every. single. one. looked makeable. But Fuck, Cokes just looked like something out of the surf mags you read when you’re a kid… and there's NO ONE OUT!
An hour later, local surfer Ammadey (currently ranked #2 in Maldives) paddled out Cokes. All the days of skipping school as a grom to study the science of Cokes and art of surfing had finally seemed to pay off.
There were three of us in the boat - drone, camera, housing and phones all in overdrive. Each time a huge set positions itself to roll on through, we give a buzzing hoot to Ammadey. The energy is electric.
Surfer from Malé, Aru Rose, who managed to get ‘stuck’ at Thulusdhoo during lockdown, paddled out for his piece of pizza. Together the two of them take on solid 8-10ft Cokes, with plenty of slices to go around.
Astonished at how unbelievably glassy it is from in the water, it’s almost impossible to see even the 8-10ft sets coming at me from the horizon. Watching Ammadey pulling into the biggest sets of the day re-affirmed for me just how special his connection with Cokes is. He’d take off and get covered for 3,4,5 seconds and doesn’t just finish his wave there, he goes on for more in the second section, 6, 7 8 and then of course in true Ammadey style, ends each wave in hysteric laugher paired with an entertaining dismount, making it all look so playful and easy. There were only two barrels in the two-hour session he didn’t make. Mind you, he probably got more waves in this two-hour session than in any other of his life.
A tribute to Cokes 12th of April 2020... a day of COVID-19 lockdown in Maldives we will never forget.
All original photographs on this website are copyright to © Husham Ibrahim - Maldives Surf Photographer