Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018 Maldive trip

I spent a total of 10 days in the Maldives and here's my report of the experience.

I ended up going because my friend Gianfranco was already there and while I was in Indo he invited me to visit him.

Being a place where I had never been before, I was obviously intrigued, but after a quick forecast check, I notice that the main period of the SE swells hitting there was around 10 seconds.

Since I was surfing much longer period swells in my favorite place in Indo, I expressed my doubts to Gianfranco who replied by sending me this photo and adding: "trust me, it's the best 10 seconds you'll ever going to surf..."

After checking that the wind was predicted light offshore or none for the whole period, I bought a one way Jakarta Male for $280, plus $80 for one of boards I had stashed in Indo and decided to relocate to the Maldives. This is how the waves looked the day I arrived. Photo grabbed on this Instagram page.

And the day after they looked like this. Gianfranco was 100% correct. The quality of those waves was extremely high. Same water quality like Fiji, without the shallow and sharp reef underneath.

Before getting into those kind of details, let's have a look at the map of the main surf spots. I was staying on the small island of Thulusdhoo, which has the above left (called Chickens) just across the channel. For love of curiosity, I once paddled across it and it took me 18 minutes. But all the hotels have boats and that'll make you save your energies for the surfing. Right in front of Thulusdhoo (no boat strictly required), there's the more challenging right called Coke's (all the rights you'll see in this post). To reach the other breaks, it's a little longer boat trip. I believe n.3 and n.5 are exclusive use to the guests of the resorts in front of them, but Chickens was so consistently fun that I never felt the need to go anywhere else.

You see what I mean? Photo by Sergio.

The bigger it got, the more outside it broke (that happens pretty much everywhere), hence the deeper the bottom. I managed to never hit it.

The 10 seconds obviously helped with the relative lack of violence of the wipeouts and especially with the extremely high success rate of the duck dives. I manage to pull off some that would have meant almost sure reef impacts at Restaurants or rag doll hold downs at Lanes, just to make a comparison.

Very often the lineup was graced by a pod of dolphins.

This is one Gianfranco's inventions: the Finshot mount.

I surfed Coke's only once. It's a little more challenging, it barrels more, it can hurt you more, but more than everything, I just like lefts better.

I stayed at the Season Paradise and the roof top pool was a perfect observation point to check the waves.

Waves or not, the view was spectacular. The blues of the water cannot be described in words or rendered by photos.

The last couple of days where the biggest ones. The next four photos were taken from the pool around mid day and show flowless and empty conditions.

Those ones instead are from the boat at sunset of my last day. Believe it or not, I chose not to surf, as I was totally satisfied with the surfing I had done so far and very happily surfed out.

Gianfranco got some good ones.

This next couple of shots show how relatively easy and mellow the take off in the deep spot is.

Up on his feet and still relatively slopy.

Down the line instead, the wave grows in size and steepness. This guy caught it way up the point.

Setting up the end bowl.

My colorful company on the boat.

Absolute perfection.

This one gives a better idea of the size.

Sergio surfed Cokes instead and got some deep barrels.

My good old 6.3 Merrick Semipro went on the rocks because my leash opened, but it did its job till the end. I gave it to the boat driver, who once commented that his 5.5 was too small for the big days...

Right now I'm in Italy (below the beauty of Naples, the city where I grew up) and tomorrow I'll go to Lisbon to visit a friend for 4 days. Travelling by buying last minute tickets depending on conditions/opportunities has allowed me to visit two places that I had no idea I was going to when I left Maui in mid August. It might be a little more expensive (even though I managed to find good deals for all my flights), but it gives me an incredible feeling of freedom. Oh yeah, the fact that I'm by myself helps.

Regular Maui morning calls will resume before the end of September. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2018 Indo trip report 2

A week stay in my favorite spot in the world was absolutely delightful. The swell was never pumping, but it never went below chest high, with the biggest day at the head and a half mark.
These are a couple of different mornings, that's the quality we had all week.

But the waves were not everything. I love the relaxed atmosphere at the surf camp. This is my new young friend Tessa showing off some gymnastic skills in front of a classic pastel colored sunset.

A few random ones. One of my taxi rides.

Finally, after 7 years of coming to this place, I surfed a right. Beautiful, but I just have more fun on the left.

Couple of more sunsets.

And tonight I'm off to a new adventure in the Maldives. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Indo trip 2018 first report

I took the gopro out yesterday for the morning and afternoon sessions. These are some shots.

I'm gonna stay a few more days in my favorite spot in the world, and then I'm off to a new place. When I left Maui, I had no idea I was going there. The freedom of traveling with no fixed plans...

Friday, August 24, 2018

I'm having a great time in Indo and I unexpectedly might go somewhere else too, but I can't help not wondering how the south shore will look with 20 feet 12 seconds of swell. No idea of where I would surf.  Probably somewhere on the Honoapiilani highway. Literally.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wednesday 8 15 18 morning call

A SUP foiling session for me yesterday. No photo of the day, here's some very clean lines at Uluwatu from some years ago. This is the last morning call for a while (possibly a month), as I'm leaving tomorrow for Indonesia. Keep checking the blog, as I will possibly post updates from there.

I buy my ticket at the last minute only when I see the situation represented in the picture below: small stuff for Maui's south shore and good stuff for Indo.

But this time there is a surprise that I hope you guys will enjoy: the north shore is going to come back to life with a couple of proper swells. Below is the wind map predicted for Saturday mid day. The NNW fetch I circled will give life to a swell that Surfline predicts to reach 4.5f 12s from 345 Wednesday and Thursday. Even the Bay might break with that ideal direction, although small.

Then there's tropical storm Lane that will become a major hurricane and should track south of the islands. We all saw what Hector did, so be ready for possible long period waves in Hana and short period ones on the south shore.

Lastly, the tropical depression S of Japan is predicted to follow the red arrow and should end up changing in a wider low in the NW corner around August 24th and send a NW swell 3-4 days after that.

5am significant buoy readings
South shore

1.5ft @ 11s from 195° (SSW)
0.5ft @ 20s from 172° (S)

1.8ft @ 13s from 188° (S)

South swell down to marginal sizes. The super sensitive Barbers buoy feels half a foot 20s from somewhere, but that won't be noticeable in the water. As a matter of fact, this is the best set I've seen at Ala Moana while writing this call, flat otherwise. I'm not going Lahaina side, but I'm calling it flat to knee high from home.

North shore
3.4ft @ 7s from 57° (ENE)

Tiny stuff at Pauwela, I'm calling Hookipa close to flat too.

Wind map at noon.

North Pacific completely quite at the moment.

South Pacific has a fetch deep south of the Tasman Sea.

Morning sky.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

6.30am lahaina side is knee to waist high with occasional bigger sets and clean. Ukumehame light offshore.

Tuesday 8 14 18 morning call

A shortboard session for me yesterday. No photos of the day, but I timely received an email from an unknown resort in Telo publicizing how well the waves of the island reacted to the extremely large swells that hit Indonesia latety. This appear to be the main spot.

The caption for this was:"Waves on the backside of islands that never broke were doing this".
That's where I would have surfed.

4am significant buoy readings
South shore

2.4ft @ 12s from 134° (SE)

2.4ft @ 12s from 144° (SE)

1.6ft @ 12s from 189° (S)
0.8ft @ 16s from 203° (SSW)

1.9ft @ 13s from 183° (S)
1ft @ 16s from 191° (SSW)

South swell down to 12s and minimal size (flat to knee with occasional waist high is my home guess), but the two local buoys record some low long period SSW energy. I went searching through the fetches maps and all I could find was a tiny red circle in the Tasman Sea on the 8th. I doubt there will be much noticeable from it in the water, but I'll sure report when I get there.

North shore
2.8ft @ 8s from 64° (ENE)
2.5ft @ 6s from 63° (ENE)
1.5ft @ 12s from 74° (ENE)
0.3ft @ 15s from 63° (ENE)
Very low local windswell (the one below 10s) at Pauwela, but a little more energy from Hurricane John. The waves at Hookipa are still going to be pretty small, imo.

Wind map at noon. Gonna be a hot one.

Just a weak windswell fetch in the North Pacific.

And a weak fetch in the Tasman Sea is all the South Pacific has to offer.

Morning sky.