The history of surfing in the Maldives has a fairy tale quality. Sydney surf travelers Tony Hussein-Hinde and Mark Scanlon were shipwrecked here in the ’70s on their way to somewhere else; while they were salvaging the boat, they’d cruise past all the reefs north of Male, and as Hussein-Hinde remarked, “we reckoned those reefs would be perfect once the wind switched.”

Indeed, as the seasons changed, it became pretty damn clear Tony and Mark had stumbled across a surfer’s paradise. Tony courted and married a local girl, while Mark eventually returned to Australia – but amazingly, no one let the cat out of the bag. Mark surfed pretty much alone for 15 years. “When I went back to Australia after six years to raise more money, none of my friends would believe me when I told them about the place, ” he said. “I ended up having to teach the locals how to surf so I’d have someone to join me in the water.”

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