Meet One Of The Best Surfers In The Maldives: Smiley
Today we're introducing you to one of the best professional surfers in The Maldives, Ismail Rasheed, more commonly known as Smiley, who has won prestigious surfing competitions in the country, is part of The Maldives National Surfing Team and has inspired many Maldivian's to pursue their dreams.
In this interview with Smiley, we will be telling you about his story, the difficulties he has faced and he will also be recommending some of the best surfing spots in The Maldives - for all those surfing fanatics out there!
At Maldives Secrets, not only do we strive to promote The Maldives as an ideal holiday destination, but we also focus on promoting the wonderful local talents of the Maldives, by spreading the word and highlighting their incredible talents.
How did your journey into surfing begin?
My journey into surfing began when I was young. I remember that my interest sparked as soon as I saw my brother surfing the waves. I thought that it looked amazing and I immediately wanted to try it myself. I soon became hooked on surfing and wanted to surf as much as I could!
Since then, I have come a long way. I am now a professional surfer in The Maldives, I am part of the National Surfing Team and all my dedication to surfing has been noticed. I won third and fourth place in national Maldivian surfing competitions including the 2019 Season's Open and the 2019 Rannamaari Challenge. I have also won the title of Champion in national surfing competitions, including The Trials 2019 and Gadhdoo Pro 2020.
Did you always want to be a surfer?
Yes, becoming the best surfer I could possibly be has always been my biggest dream since day one - when my brother inspired me to start. To be honest, I did not realise that surfing could be a career and I am so grateful that my passion is my job.
How challenging is it to become a professional surfer in The Maldives?
In The Maldives, people do not perceive surfing as a 'real job'. Surfing is regarded as a hobby or just a fun sport - something you do when you have free time on the weekend. This makes it difficult for people to view it as a serious profession. For me, it has actually been extremely challenging to become a professional surfer and have people believe in me.
Let's talk about surfing spots! Where would you say are the best surfing spots in The Maldives?
The best surfing spots are definitely in North Male (Kaafu) Atoll and Huvadhu (Gaafu Dhaalu) Atoll. The breaks in North Malé Atoll tend to be more crowded than the Huvadhu (in the south), especially between May and August - which is peak surfing season!
In North Malé Atoll I would recommend the breaks such as Lohi's, Coke’s, Chickens, Jailbreaks, Ninja’s and Pasta Point.
In Huvadhoo, I would recommend Beacons, Castaways and Tiger Stripes. Beacons and Tiger Stripes being have the most impressive and powerful waves in The Maldives – it's a great surfing spot for advanced surfers!
If you had to choose your favourite surfing spot, where would it be?
My personal favourite spot is Lohis Maldives. If the swell is big enough, the most perfect, long wave will be formed. The ideal conditions here call for swell from south-east and winds from the north-west, but it can also work well with north-west and north-east winds.
What's your advice to anyone who dreams of becoming a professional surfer in The Maldives like you?
The first rule is to simply believe in yourself. You must believe that you can become a surfer and strive towards that goal. Try your best, you can also ask someone for guidance and learn from them. Personally, I am always open to teach everything I know to anyone who wants to lear, it will be my pleasure.
The second rule is to have fun, but also be serious about it. Be dedicated and keep surfing to attain your goals. If you want surfing to be your career, you should be serious about improving yourself and your skills every day - only then will you become the best!
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Since I started to become serious about surfing, it had always been my biggest dream to be in The Maldives National Surfing Team and I have actually achieved this goal! So now, I will focus on staying on the National Team and competing, travelling and of course, surfing as much as possible!
What’s your biggest achievement?
Definitely being part of the National Surfing Team of Maldives and getting the opportunity to represent The Maldives all over the world!
Is there another surfing destination - anywhere in the world - that you dream of going to?
Yes! I dream of surfing the stunning waves in Australia. I've seen amazing photos and videos from Byron Bay, Bells Beach, Byron Bay, Noosa and more. I cannot wait to surf there! It will also be awesome to paddle out to these surfing points - many of the best surfing spots in The Maldives are on the outer reefs and can only be reached by boat.
Apart from surfing, do you have any other talents that you want to share with us?