The local enthusiastic surf trainers in the north
Written by Mibsam Zareer
Posted on 3rd March, 2021
With a deadly pandemic lurking around, the past year has been unproductive and uncertain for most surfers. The case, however, seems to be different for the small group of surfers residing approximately 260 kilometers to North of Malé – in Shaviyani Atoll Kanditheemu. Unaffected by the pandemic, Kanditheemu surfers have been able to grow their community in numbers by training new surfers as a youth-for-youth program. Currently the Kanditheemu surf community consists of roughly 15 members, among which 10 of them are kids!
Though there is no regulated surf program in Kanditheemu, the surfers of the island take great pride in carrying surf lessons for their family and friends. These are usually informal one on one sessions. Kids are taught to paddle and stand on the board by themselves on whitewash near the jetty area. For adults or more advanced surfers, there are two surf spots: Bolikattafulhi and Feebo - although Feebo is less accessible as it is a small isolated island surrounded by sharp pebble stones.
The lessons are conducted by 4 trainers. Ali (Bulha) Mamnoon is the only boogie board trainer and has given basic boogie board trainings to 2 kids aged 7. Along with Yaniu Mohamed Raoof, Adam (Ardey) Azim and Ibrahim Anoof, the 4 trainers have provided lessons for a total of 10 kids under the age of 13. Astonishingly, 4 of these are regular surfers with potential to become competitive surfers in the future.
Despite having a promising community of surfers, Surf Kanditheemu faces a number of challenges, especially with the inadequacy of equipment. Currently, there are 7 boards to be used by the community. Among these, many have missing fins or have lost their “pop”. Over the past year, surfers from other islands have donated equipment and shown their support. According to the surfers of Kanditheemu, in the future they hope to receive as much support from their local community, where the general public still attaches a taboo to surfing.
What the surfers most require right now is positive feedback from the island community so that more kids can take up surfing. Whilst many parents are unwilling to send their kids out to surf now, Surf Kanditheemu is confident that this will change in the future as locals become more aware about surfing as a sport. Apart from a shift in the mindset of older locals, they are also in need of a surf shack to safely store their boards. Ideally, they would also like to have a surf shop on the island to make surfing accessible to anyone who wants to try it out.
While nothing promotional has been done beyond keeping an Instagram account (@surf_kanditheemu), surfers from Feydhoo, Funadhoo and Vaikaradhoo have visited the island for surf sessions. Though the local surf community is small, surfers are optimistic about the growth it is continuing to achieve and the support it receives from fellow surfers across the country. They hope this will lead to more opportunities for surfers.