TRAVEL: The Maldives Discovery: Then and now......
The Maldives discovery: Then and now......
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 8 July, 2012 : - - Tony Hussein Hinde and his surfing buddy Mark Scanlon were shipwrecked in the Maldives in 1073 when the yacht they were crewing on across the Indian Ocean ran aground. At that time there was not even a bank on the islands, and few Maldivians had ever seen a foreigner. At age 21 he had already found his version of paradise, he sent a postcard announcing, 'I am 1000 colours from home.' He stayed on to lead a life that, as they say, you couldn't make up.
Thirty-five years later, in late May 2008, he paddled out to surf the barrelling waves that wrap around Pasta Point, 14km north of the Maldivian capital, Male. The waves were not dangerous and he had surfed them thousands of times. After a good session, Hinde surfed his last wave in, pulled out safely, and died. Having lived the surfer's dream, at 55 he passed away, probably of a heart attack, doing what he loved best.
In the decades since his first ecstatic rides across the virgin reefs of the Maldives, he had seen the country go from having almost no visitors, other than castaways, to becoming an international destination that hosts almost a million tourists a year.
He discovered, surfed and named almost every significant surf spot in the Maldives over years, Pasta Point had been his backyard, his home break -- and his office. He had even come up with its nickname, in honour of an Italian resort's restaurant that once stood on the island.
By the late 1980s, word had leaked out about the brilliant, uncrowded breaks to be found in the Maldives. Hinde, by then a Maldivian resident fluent in the local Dhivehi language and a convert to Islam, was married to a Maldivian woman and had a young family.
He decided to introduce ethical surf tourism in a way that benefited Maldivians, and with his wife Zulfa, plus an agent in Australia, his friend Ian Lyon, a small travel company was set up, Atoll Adventures. The first guests arrived in 1992.
When Hinde and Scanlon went on their first surfari to Addu, the Maldives' southernmost atoll, in 1974, they did so in a 14m sailing dhoni crowded with 60 locals, and lived for weeks on fish and rice. These days numerous surf charter boats with freshwater showers, airconditioned cabins, internet, bar, chef, Jet Skis and surf guides trawl the outer atolls for the best surf on any given day.
More info: www.atolltravel.com
Source: The Australian
Author: John Borthwick
Tags: Surf Tourism, Maldives, Tony Hussein Hinde, Atoll Travel,
Surf-Travel: - Surfersvillage