There are very few surf spots in Addu, but it offers a unique experience nonetheless. Although these waves tend to be smaller than some of the more northerly atolls, the south-facing coastline really opens the breaks up to the southern swells that flood the area in the summertime. Since a clean southern swell is about all you could ask for at these breaks, the result is waves with a ton of power and heaps of opportunities to get shacked. These southerly atolls differ from the northerly atolls in not providing perfectly shaped or soft-breaking waves. These waves break fast and throw hard, with a whole lot of power—probably best suited for advanced surfers or at least daring intermediates. The waves you can find in here are the kind of waves you keep reliving days, weeks, and months after your Maldives surf trip has come to an end.
Taking its name from the adjacent resort, Shangri-la is a clean righthander that wraps around the reef on the east coast of the island. It breaks best during a solid southerly swell, but is unusual in also benefitting from a more easterly swell direction as well. Ranging between two to five feet, it tends to break the best and get the most size during the summer months. It breaks at any stage of the tide, so if any open opportunity to surf Shangri-la presents itself, definitely jump on it.
To the east of Approach Lights on the south side of Villingili Island, off the tip of Madihera islet, a pristine lefthander starts out at the point and wraps all the way into the inner lagoon. A long and sectiony wave, Madihera can turn from good to incredible with a sudden change in the wind.
Particularly susceptible to the wind, Madihera is a place you want to convince the rest of the passengers on your boat charter to hit early before the winds pick up too strong. It picks up a ton of swell but needs northeasterly winds to make the whole wave rideable. Any southerly or even northwest wind will totally kill the heavier barrels on the outside. The speedy, if smaller, inside waves, however, can suddenly light up during southeast winds, so keep your eyes open. The direction of the wind should definitely judge what part of the wave you want to campout on.
There is an airport runway on the beach in front of this spot, with approach lights that not only help guide airplanes to a safe landing, but also orient surfers in the water on where to be in order to catch the most surfable section of this long and exposed righthander. Although it breaks down along the live coral reef, the runway approach lights really mark the best place to drop-in and snag the more rideable end section.
Approach Lights’ location on the southern tip of Addu Atoll exposes it to potentially harsh southern winds, but also opens it up to receive the full force of the summer’s southern swells—fortunate for a place that craves size. Since any wind with a northerly direction ends up being offshore, this is a great spot to visit later in the season when the northerly winds meet some of the best southern swells.
The main wave at Kottey is a left that works best with southern or eastern winds and a medium tide. Like most of Addu, Kottey has large swell exposure, meaning it churns out consistent, powerful waves due to those Indian Ocean swells. During the winter (April to October) swells average 4 to 12 feet and tend to back down to 2 to 6 feet during the summer months. Because of its tendency to wedge up, the wave at Kottey breaks quickly and the lip can get heavy. Since Addu is the southern most Atoll in the Maldives, the line ups aren’t very crowded and you can often enjoy Kottey with just your friends.