Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, in an attempt to solve the many challenges faced by the surfing community, decided to develop facilities in five islands with wave breaks.
Minister of Sports Ahmed Mahloof, on Wednesday, tweeted the announcement, stating that the government will develop Lhohi in Noonu Atoll, Muli in Meemu Atoll, Maabaidhoo in Laamu Atoll, Vaadhoo in Gaafu Dhaal Atoll and Gahdhoo in Gaafu Dhaal Atoll.
Although these islands already have a resident population of surfers which frequent the island's wave break, the ministry plans to develop a surfer's hut with facilities such as board racks.
Last December, Minister Mahloof was taken surfing at capital city Male’s esteemed wave break ‘Raalhugandu’. Afterwards, he said that "we are here with the guarantee to support people with talent. We are also ready to produce champions in watersports in the future”.
Surfing in Raalhugandu was closed off in March 2016 with the commencement of the Sinamale bridge development project and was re-opened on September 7, 2018.
The 2-year hiatus hit the surf community hard, as professional competitors found themselves having to travel much further to sustain their training routines, and maintain a competitive edge.
During the period of closure, surfers based in Male' were provided daily ferry services to nearby surf spots in the Kaafu Atoll, such as 'Sultans' and 'Honkeys' in Thamburudhoo and 'Jails' in Himmafushi under an agreement with Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) and the previous government.
However, the provision of a ferry failed to address key issues relating to accessibility, as some community members expressed various challenges due to work requirements and other responsibilities.
Widely regarded as a premier surfing destination, surfing is also an important sector for the Maldivian tourism industry, as it is the only sport that generates revenue for the country.
MSA aims to take surfing to new levels in the country by developing local talent and professional athletes within the local population.
In May, MSA hosted the 'Raalhu Season Opening' competition at Raalhugandu. It followed an approximate 5-year hiatus of contests by the association and involved bodyboarding in its categories.
In its efforts to develop surfing across the archipelago, MSA stated that a large number of sponsors are required. Currently, local surf apparel shop 'Sea Sports' remain the largest private sector contributor to the surfing industry.