As mentioned in my first Winter Getaway 2019 post, I arrived to Himmafushi on one of the biggest swell days in July. The waves were peeling perfectly and there weren’t many people out in the water. It was just too big for most of the people on the island. I joined the Russian crew and we were surfing twice a day. We had to time our surf sessions so that we avoided the strong current in the channel between the islands. Sometimes people just got washed away and they couldn’t come back to the lineup. After three days of surfing I already needed a day off. My arms felt like noodles and I just couldn’t paddle anymore.
Photos above by @sasha_cortimorcor
Although the swell was dropping, there were still plenty of waves for the whole week. With a smaller swell more and more surf boats were coming to the lineup. Occasionally, the crowd was a bit annoying, but it was sort of manageable. The perfect time to jump on the boat out was either 5.30am or during breakfast/lunch time while everyone was on the island having food.
There are four surf spots near Himmafushi, i.e. Jailbreak, Honkeys, Sultans, and Pasta Point. The latter is closed to the public and it is only available to the people staying at the resort in front of the break. We also went further up north to surf the Cokes and Chickens. I must admit that there are some really good waves around North Male Atoll.
After the first week the swell has dropped to shoulder high sets with onshore breeze, which is quite atypical for this time of the season. Definitely less appealing compared to the first week when the offshore breeze was holding the waves back. Couple of my friends from Slovenia joined the trip after they’ve seen photos from the first few days. Unfortunately, the wind shifted to S the day after they came to the island. It stayed like that, i.e. cross/onshore for the whole week and everybody on the island was going crazy. People arrive for a week and they expect that they’re going to score perfect conditions. I typically never go on a surf trip for less than three weeks when I book holiday more than a month in advance. You could be lucky and score some good waves… but on the other hand, you could spend a lot of money for nothing. It’s a gamble.
After a week of cross/onshore the wind shifted back to SSW and SW. There was also another pulse from the swell so the waves were decent again. The wind wasn’t as consistent as it was in the first week. The island Himmafushi also got hit by a few storms during the last week. One storm caught us by surprise while we were surfing the break in front of the Himmafushi. It was still an hour until the sunset and we were struggling catching waves in a strong offshore. We could see a storm far in the distance. Everybody was expecting for the storm to pass and miss the Himmafushi. All of a sudden we noticed that the adjacent islands started to disappear. The wind picked up and was blowing crazily. Everybody realised the storm is no joke and started paddling back to their boats. The boats were anchored relatively close to the surf spot but they started to disappear as well. Gulp… I must admit I felt a bit uncomfortable while I was paddling back. However, the fun yet begun. The boat ride back into the harbour was no joke either. Our speed boat had plenty of grunt, but it was just too small to fight the short period waves created by the storm. The wind and the waves were pushing us back, slamming into the bow. In my mind I was already going through bad scenarios in case we would have to abandon the boat and jump into the water with our surfboards. Luckily, all the boats managed to get back into the harbour safely. Not just the passengers, even the captain was relieved when we came back.
Photos of the storm by @ajda_go
In summary, I think I experienced all kinds of waves while staying three weeks at Himmafushi. The first week was perfect with a slight offshore and decent size swell. The second week shifted to crappy cross/onshore with average waves. Another pulse of swell was delivered in the last week together with stormy weather and cross/offshore winds. All I know is that I want more of Maldives! Soon…