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Enticing Maldives photo
A little bit of magic in the Maldives

READ: I had too much to dream last year

When can we stop fantasising and start travelling?

If there is anything to be said for COVID it has reignited our imaginations; not since the pioneering days has the romance of surf travel been so appealing.  If you are like me, you will catch yourself, in quiet moments, dreaming about perfect waves on distant shores. Maybe it’s trimming down the line on a curling wall and picking the perfect line as a glassy face starts to go round. Or savouring that first beer after a surfed-out day at your favourite overseas wave. I pine for the times when your biggest travel concerns were a customs queue and coming in light on the oversize baggage limits?

One of my daydreams involves an 8’2” Jeff Bushman that I really do have stashed under a house on the North Shore of Oahu. I imagine stroking out at Sunset on the board on a clean morning with a north-west swell running – nothing too outrageous, just a six-eight foot day with enough grunt to get the gun up to top speed through the inside bowl.

As an Australian it’s hard to know if the big Bushman will get a fresh wax job when the season rolls around this year, but Hawaii is opening up for others. Travellers from other US states, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are now allowed to bypass Hawaii’s mandatory 10-day quarantine if they follow strict pre-travel testing rules. Meanwhile, other Oahu pilgrims who are not listed on the CDC prohibited list can head to Hawaii if they undergo a 10-day, hotel quarantine.         

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to be reacquainted with this big guy at some point soon.

The Maldives is another island nation that lives richly in my imagination. Skimming over my notes from my last trip I got lost in this little passage. “There are still empty corners of the earth where a surfer feels they have been furnished with all that they need for the good life. We are anchored opposite a cute right that rolls you into a tight pocket, tickles down the line at a perfect speed and then horseshoes through an end section that bends the wall right back at you.  Get the line right and it’s a neat barrel, an off the top and a cut-back section that lets you load up everything you’ve got on the rail.  On a twin fin it’s a mini Utopia.”

Feathering dream in the Maldives.

The Maldives boasts the clearest water in the world. On reef passes and atoll fringes, translucent waves bend and pitch in all manner of shapes and sizes. A single trip will introduce you to every shade of blue on the spectrum. When fish dart beneath you as you ride a wave it’s like surfing on some kind of technicolour dream, and there’s plenty to catch and eat when you’re done surfing. The region offers the full sensory overload.   

Plate glass sliding in the Maldives where the water visibility is unrivalled.

The Maldives has for many years been heavily dependant upon tourism for its survival.  Necessity is so often the mother of invention and the Maldivians have been nimble and clever in their approach to COVID. Travellers can now take an international flight to Male if they present a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test report in English when checking in for their flights. Providing the test is conducted within 96 hours of departure you are free to explore the atolls from north to south. Upon arrival in the capital, Male, occupants are typically whisked away to the nearby port. From there you board charter boats, or sea planes that transport you directly to one of the many resorts with access to surf. Thus, contact with people on the more densely populated Male is kept to a minimum.  

Scenic highway on a Maldives resort.

Late last year a posse of world-class pros, including world champ Italo Ferreira and WSL evergreen, Jadson Andre, descended upon the Maldives to tune up for the tour. Now, we can’t expect to lacerate a wall like Italo, but most of us can picture ourselves trimming down the line on a crystalline zipper like this. 

The world may have shrunk during COVID but the boarders are becoming permeable again and the pandemic can never kill our wanderlust. In a sea of misinformation one of the most helpful tools is available on the Luex Surf travel website. The user-friendly guide provides eager travellers with up-to-date information on what’s opening up in real time and how the situation is likely to evolve.         

LUEX CEO – Tim Heising, Martin Jenner – Head of Sales and Sunny Fassler – Head of content and editorial on the future of Surf Travel.

Sure, there are precautions to be taken when it comes to travel and checking all the guidelines is now part of the protocol. However, you can be sure that specialised surf travel agencies like Luex are still doing everything they can to keep your dreams alive. For decades we have depended upon travel companies to chip us into perfect waves and comfortable accommodation around the globe. Imagine trying to recalibrate your business model to supply safe travel options and advice in a COVID era? But adapted they have. Ultimately, if you look at surf travel as a state of mind rather than a destination then it’s arguable we are on the cusp of a golden era. Temporarily deprived of our right to roam the globe we get to rediscover the whole experience again. Maybe it will feel better than ever before?

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