Sultans and Honkys open to all surfers
In August 2012 Swellnet broke the news that two of the Maldives most popular waves - Sultans and Honkys - would soon be off limits to travelling surfers and Maldivian locals. Both waves break off the southern tip of Thanburudhoo Island which had been leased to Telos Investments, a Singaporean-registered company who planned to build a surf resort featuring exclsuive access to the waves.
Since the initial plan was proposed many parties have lobbied to halt the proposal. The Maldivian Surfing Association (MSA) were succesful in forcing Telos Investments to allow local surfers access to the waves, and various tourism operators kept pressure on the Maldivian government.
The campaign appears to have been succesful. Recently the regulation that determines ownership of reefs in the Maldives was amended. Although it was passed on the 5th March the amendment is yet to be published in English. Aznil Hussain is a member of the MSA and provided Swellnet with a rough translation of the amendment:
"All areas of reef and surrounding waters of resorts that fall under the number 3 and 4 statutes of this law, if it so includes snorkelling, surfing and similar areas allocated as tourist attractions by the Ministry, those areas respectively shall not be part of the allocated reef for a particular resort island. In addition, the Ministry shall effectively make it known, through official announcements, a list of all places, reefs, and areas that fall into such category mentioned above."
Aznil also added, "This amendment shall be deemed effective from the date it is published in the National Gazette of the Government of Maldives."
The relevant amendment was published in the National Gazette on the 5th March 2014, Volume 43, Regulation Number: 2014/R-18, meaning Sultans and Honkys are now legally open for anyone to surf.
The news is reason for locals and travellers to celebrate, however it comes with a mild disclaimer. A longtime business operator in the Maldives told Swellnet. "Things change fast in the Maldives. They have a small population so family loyalty and voting blocs can turn laws on their head. You get used to it over here."
Dr Gunnar Lee-Miller, President of Telos Investments, has been contacted for comment.
"In addition, the Ministry shall effectively make it known, through official announcements, a list of all places, reefs, and areas that fall into such category mentioned above."
Have they made any other announcements? Does this mean they could potentially change their minds at any stage by listing a bunch of non-exclusive reefs?
Also, how does this impact on the other exclusive reefs? Pasta, Lohis etc.
Trying to find that stuff out, CMan.
Hi Stu, wondering if you know whether Aznil Hussain is the son of Tony Hussain, who was a Aussie guy who, married a Maldivian woman, after being ship-wrecked in the Maidives and was the 1st westerner to open up Pasta Point to the masses circa 1990?
Not sure RR, I don't know Aznil. Hussain is a pretty common name though.
Pretty sure it's his son. Check out the movie called Serendipity which documents the discovery of the surf in the Maldives by Hussain and another Australian guy who's name escapes me.
Mark Scanlon. He was in goal for possessing marjiuana when entering Male back in '02 just before my stay at Pasta but I heard he got out. Both he and Tony were very interesting blokes. The 'dives are turning into a circus, I was in the southern atolls for 12 nights at the start of Mar and even down there gets crowded. The wind was blowing most of the time so this restricted the surfable options, with sometimes up to four boats at a break. I reckon a limit needs to be put on the number of charter operators to control the crowds. I doubt this will happen though as money talks...
Hi, Anzil Hussain is not Tony's son. Tony 'Honky' Hinde's name changed to Tony Hussein Hinde when he married Zulfa, in the Maldives. Hussain and Hussein are two different names.
I was an early surf pioneer into Indo '72' and Sri Lanka '74'. We both came from Maroubra, Tony stayed with me in Bali before following my path to Sri Lanka where he sailed from and then shipwrecked on a Maldivian atoll.
Part of the story is at www.brucerichards.com.au
I am currently staying on Kandooma at the moment and there are no crowds at all. Perfect Wave are still claiming exclusivity and limiting the number of surfing guests to 40 at any one time. I surfed Natives this morning for two hours on my own. This place is literally, paradise with an ocean view. There have been tour boats going past for days but there are so many breaks, they don't bother to hassle. There were a couple of guys that came by tinny yesterday from the island next door but no-one seemed to care. It is too bloody hot to hassle over waves that just keep coming.
No-one hassles you???
Mate, you're the Captain of the World, of course you don't get hassled.
No-one is hassling anyone here, you've got 12 hours of daylight each day with great waves on all tides and at total of 40 people to share them. The biggest crowd that i have seen was eight at the two different take off points. You just get whatever waves you want without even worrying about who is inside. Whoever is in the right spot takes it if they want it and if not, they go through unridden.
Don't start celebrating just yet. "In addition, the Ministry shall effectively make it known, through official announcements, a list of all places, reefs, and areas that fall into such category mentioned above" means they are going to publish a list of places where the new legislation applies. Meaning, places which currently have exclusivity like Pasta could continue to do so. The same is possible for Sultans and Honkies although this appears to have been the contentious proposal.
Its a tough one. I've done boats and resorts and from what I've seen the resorts offer a much better long term development option for places like the Maldives and the mentawais however without exclusive use of a home break a lot of surfers won't want to stay there. People say "no one owns the waves" but that's not true. Governments do have powers to regulate access to and use of their territorial waters. This would include access to waves.
Having tasted exclusivity surfing Pasta and Jails in '00 and Pasta in '02 and then a boat charter this year I'd have to say the exclusivity of the resort won out for the simple fact of less crowds. I surfed Jails with only four guys for nearly a week in '00 and then many uncrowded sessions at Pasta in '02. Capt I reckon you've found nirvana if no one is hassling you, unheard of these days. The major issues I see with exclusivity are the locals are adversely affected which they shouldn't be and resorts start tearing you a new arsehole to stay there.