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Rising surfer Kayan: at ease in the sea even before he could walk

08 February 2023, MVT 12:37
Kayan competing in the Rannamari Challenge 2021. Photo: President's Office
08 February 2023, MVT 12:37

Kayan Abdulla Areef (or "Kaiputty," as he is known to his friends) jumped in the water before he had learned how to walk.

His father, Abdulla Areef (also known as "Fuku"), reminisced about the time when Kayan, at just a year old, could stand up on his boogie board or simply lie down on it comfortably.

The Areef family from Raa Atoll, Rasmaadhoo, is well known because of the family's star surfers, including Ibrahim Areef, who has been the national champion seven times. Kayan, now 13-years-old, is the youngest member of this talented family, and his father has high hopes for him to carry on the family's surfing legacy.

In 2021, Kayan competed in the Faramanthaa Challenge for the first time, finishing third in the Junior Division. He continued to compete in Maldives Surfing Association (MSA) events, each time perfecting his form.

Kayan's greatest accomplishment to date was being selected for the National Junior Team, which he had already secured for the following round. Although Kayan's father has been his coach since he was a child, he did receive training at Malhu Surf School for a year; his father believed it was best for Kayan to get coaching from a different environment to enhance his form.

Kayan surfing with his father, veteran surfer Abdulla Areef ("Fuku"). Photo: Mohamed Shareef

Kayan lives in Malé with his family. Every day after school, he scouts for good waves to surf. Even though it was hard, Kayan has figured out how to balance his love of surfing and his academic pursuits. His interests do not only stop at surfing. He is an avid skater and tennis player, having received accolades in the latter. Although he played tennis for two years, his true calling is surfing.

The young surfer was only able to compete in three of the league tournaments last year due to scheduling conflicts. He missed the Muli Surf League due to school examinations, and he missed the league event in Raa atoll, Kinolhas, as his father was busy with the "Visit Maldives Pro" bodyboarding tournament.

However, this year he aims to participate in all these events. Kayan’s father, the current President of the Maldives Bodyboarding Association, does not plan to run for presidency this year as he wants to focus on Kayan’s training in addition to his personal obligations.

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