The Coffeys are undisputedly one of surfing’s leading power families, forces to be reckoned with both in the surf and the equally turbulent waters of social media. Siblings Ellie-Jean and Jackson are at the forefront of the next generation of up-and-coming Aussie surfers: Coolangatta kids raised on a diet of exotic travel and heavy waves, they’re as at home negotiating hefty pits in the Ments as they picking off playful points at home.
Surfing the Maldives: Ellie-Jean and Jackson Coffey at Niyama Luxury Resort
Still in their early twenties, the pair spend much of their time working through an enviable itinerary of surf travel and chasing good times around, bouncing between their home on the Gold Coast, adopted playground Bali, and other exotic and further afield locales wherever and whenever the whim – and the swell charts – take them.
The Most beautiful playground: The Maldives
Earlier in the winter a solid low season swell started showing up in the forecast for the Maldives, a perfect early Christmas present for those in the know. When LUEX Surf Travel CEO Tim Heising called to give the green light, Jackson and Ellie were ready and waiting. Dropping everything, they packed their boardbags and hit the road once more to get in on the action – this time at the unparalleled PER AQUUM Niyama Surf Resort in the Maldives, nature’s most beautiful playground.
PER AQUUM Niyama Surf Resort is located on the remote Dhaalu Atoll – an untapped gem surrounded by quality waves. Despite the dreamy setup the remoteness keeps crowds (including charter boats) at bay even in high season; in the low season from November to April you can expect to have the lineup to yourself more often than not, despite favourable winds and typically good-to-perfect waves.
Plenty of waves at Niyama
The breaks around Dhaalu Atoll work very differently to the more famous spots up in North Male, and are at their best when a good south/south-westerly swell rolls in – which tends to happen more frequently and at more size than the south-easterlies favoured further north. Two of the best waves are Vodi (left, short walk/paddle from the resort) and Kasabu (right, 7 minutes from Niyama by boat). Both fire with astonishing consistency year round: they tend to be at their biggest in July and August, but cleaner and better groomed over the winter and in early spring.
Surf whatever spot works best
Vodi works best when the wind blows from a North to Easterly direction (it only needs a light breeze to come alive); wide open to the southwest it picks up a lot of swell. It’s fast and more challenging than other nearby spots, but still makeable for intermediate surfers (and a great longboard spot for beginners when it’s small).
Just over the channel and a 10 minute boat ride away lies the next spot, Kasabu, a funky right hander that works well in north-westerly winds (or with no wind at all). Beginners can surf down towards the lagoon where the waves fade out and are more user friendly, but more experienced surfers will have eyes only for the corner: the wave wraps around the point offering long rippable walls in mouth-watering Maldivian blue. You better hold on to your hat when it’s big though, as genuinely world class barrels grind over the reef with throbbing intensity.