Maldivian President spares Thanburudhoo from development

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Eight years after the fight began, Maldivian surfers have finally won protection for two of the Maldives best waves.

In 2012, it was announced that a foreign development company named Telos Investments had paid USD $5 million for the lease of Thanburudhoo Island at Kaafu Atoll, which included exclusive access to the waves breaking off its southern tip, Honkys and Sultans.

Thanburudhoo Island with Honkys and Sultans breaking off its southern tip

Over the next three years, Maldivian surfers fought that battle, till in 2015 then-President of the Maldives Abdulla Gayoom suspended the development. For the next five years a cloud of uncertainty hung over Thanburudhoo. As foreign investment turbocharged development in other parts of the island chain, local surfers waited for the next proposal at Thanburudhoo.

Last Thursday, however, they woke up to great news; local activist Ahmed Aznil saying it was, "one of the craziest things that has happened in my life."

Aznil was referring to the announcement from President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih that Thanburudhoo Island had been granted protected area status. The announcement doesn't protect Thanburudhoo from all development, though if any were to proceed they'd have to meet more stringent environmerntal guidelines. 

Almost certainly, however, the two waves, Honkys and Sultans, will remain accesible to local surfers.

“The Maldives have hundreds of waves," Aznil told Swellnet back in 2016, "but truth is locals can only surf about four or five."

Last week's announcement ensures they always have access to Honkys and Sultans.

The Maldivian government has now declared 24 sites in seven atolls as protected areas. They plan to designate at least one island, one reef, and one mangrove, in each atoll as a protected area.

Comments

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules commented Monday, 9 Nov 2020 at 10:40am

well done to all those that stood the test of time (8 years) to get this win. perserverance pays off - for a change

wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson commented Monday, 9 Nov 2020 at 3:28pm

Telos Investments hey, looking to capitalise on something Mother Nature gifted the world for free by buying it and making it expensive - fuck that!

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC commented Monday, 9 Nov 2020 at 3:50pm

couldn't have said it better or more simply wax-on

Howie66's picture
Howie66's picture
Howie66 commented Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020 at 7:12am

Exactly!

Brad Ferrier's picture
Brad Ferrier's picture
Brad Ferrier commented Monday, 9 Nov 2020 at 4:56pm

Well, you’d need to take a long hard look at yourself (as a surfer) if you were delving into the area of ‘wave exclusivity’ and merely propagating more tension amongst kin and more to the point reinforcing the directions of a developer. For me and many more ‘exclusive’ and waves just don’t gel. Share and share a like.

davidinindo's picture
davidinindo's picture
davidinindo commented Monday, 9 Nov 2020 at 9:39pm

Shame Chickens wasnt on that list!

Davidinindo

Santosha's picture
Santosha's picture
Santosha commented Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020 at 6:54am

First went there over 35 years ago, lucky if a couple of surfers from Dohnveli’s pasta point would come over. Went again a decade later and the boats were there. Anyone been lately, what’s it’s like now? From what I recall , Pasta point, which was only half a km to the east of Sultans is exclusively for paying surfers on that island, no visitor boats allowed . Tony Hussein Hinde helped them snag that one way back in the day, guess it’s still the same today ?

geek's picture
geek's picture
geek commented Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020 at 9:27am

yeh there is a number of private waves still - Pasta, Lohis, Kandooma and some in the southern area too I think.

Panman's picture
Panman's picture
Panman commented Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020 at 5:49pm

Don’t go there it’s so overcrowded and not unusual to see 100 guys out at jails or sultans when the lefts aren’t working
It’s a shame because it’s got world class waves

Robo's picture
Robo's picture
Robo commented Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020 at 6:38pm

Spent 2 weeks at Pasta Point 20 years ago now, was exclusive then and pretty sure it still is. First day got there at lunch had a feed and surfed Jails for 4 hours 4-6ft with 6 guys. Had to pay $50 for a licence to surf it back then.
Was 4-8ft the whole trip in July. Went back in March the next year and did a Southern Atolls boat trip, untouched paradise no one but 4 of us.

Good old days lol.

Mool's picture
Mool's picture
Mool commented Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020 at 6:34am

Was there last year in November , very popular wave at Sultans with many boats turning up and staying for the day

saltwatersurf's picture
saltwatersurf's picture
saltwatersurf commented Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020 at 6:55pm

Maldives still has epic waves equal, or and in many cases, better than those around the well known areas. Have surfed by ourselves countless times. Regardless, the tenacious efforts of Anzil and the band of dedicated locals to protect these 2 waves from more exclusivity should really be commended. Amazing work and a victory for all surfers !