Stab Magazine | Surfers in the Maldives sent to jail for surfing
995 Views

Surfers in the Maldives sent to jail for surfing

Words by Jake Howard  The president of the Maldives Surfing Association (MSA) was jailed yesterday in an attempt to acquire documents and information related to the construction of a bridge that’s bound to destroy Malé’s most vital surf area. At this time details remain murky, but in recent months Ahmed “AJ” Aznil has found himself […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Words by Jake Howard 

The president of the Maldives Surfing Association (MSA) was jailed yesterday in an attempt to acquire documents and information related to the construction of a bridge that’s bound to destroy Malé’s most vital surf area.

At this time details remain murky, but in recent months Ahmed “AJ” Aznil has found himself in the unenviable position of being the conduit between the local surf community on Malé and a powerful alliance between the Maldivian and Chinese govs. After assertions by governmental officials were made that the waves at Raalhugandu would not be effected by construction of a new bridge, the MSA sought verifiable proof, which after multiple meetings has yet to come to light.

“The surfers of Raalhugandu have met the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure three times since December last year, expressing their concerns about the future of Raalhugandu,” reads a recent post on the MSA Facebook page. “The ministry claims they have documents of experiments conducted to determine the effects on the surf and surfing at Raalhugandu, and that they will provide these documents to MSA. Construction work of the bridge has started, yet the ministry has still not provided these documents.”

The MSA has consistently said they’re not trying to stop construction of the bridge, rather are pursuing a more sustainable option.

Yago Dora, stalefish and jazz fingers in the Maldives.

Aznil was detained and held on the island of Dhoonidhoo (which has a nasty reputation as a prison island). Two other surfers were also detained after attempting to surf at Raalhugandu yesterday afternoon. All have now been released and reportedly no charges have been filed at this time.

Ironically, the controversial project is known as the Maldives-Chinese Friendship Bridge. It will connect Malé’s eastern edge to the western corner of the island of Hulhulé, where the airport is located. Based on current plans, the bridge will be built over the breaks at Raalhugandhu and Rats, the main hub for the resident surfing community in Malé. The bridge is part of a 210 million dollar endeavor financed by the Chinese government.

For his part in it all, Aznil is one of the most valuable resources the Maldivian surfing community has. Intelligent, articulate and impassioned, his unsung dedication to his home and his people is worth noting. He’s as dedicated a warrior as more notable guys like Ramon Navarro and Dustin Barca, who’ve both had to fight to protect their respective backyards.

The Maldives currently faces some very serious threats from both development and the environment. Holding the distinction of having the lowest elevation of any country in the world, the island nation is already making plans to relocate large swaths of the population in coming years. All the while Aznil and his MSA comrades are doing everything they can to preserve a magical corner of the Indian Ocean.

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

How A Former CT Surfer Gets “Absolute Beginners” Barreled In A Matter Of Months

Luke Stedman elaborates on his Blackball surf programs.

Aug 7, 2022

5:50

Sweeter Than Stolen Honey 

A versatile Haydenshapes x Dylan Graves HP (and soft board) tested in weird waves.

Aug 7, 2022

15-Year-Old Ladybird Erin Brooks Makes Final In All-Men’s Tuberiding Event

And Clay Marzo takes the dub.

Aug 6, 2022

Are We Looking At Reef Sculpting The Wrong Way? 

The pros, cons, possibilities, and mechanisms of changing reefs to suit our surfing desires.

Aug 6, 2022

The Gudang Trio Discusses Brotherhood And How To Make It To The Mountain Top Together  

Positive sibling vibrations we should all aspire to.

Aug 6, 2022

9:03

Everyone’s Local Zone Has A Mythical Wave

Kai Lenny, Imaikalani DeVault, Eli Hanneman and friends get to surf theirs.

Aug 5, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: Harry Bryant Vs. The Wedge

A lot of swell, stolen identities, surf masochists, mutilated noses, The Wedge, skull-crushing pylons, and…

Aug 5, 2022

When Gabby And Kolohe Pull Out, The Hog Pulls In

Tahiti wildcards named.

Aug 5, 2022

First Look: The 2022 Electric Acid Surfboards

Did our questionable EAST gamble pay off for Mick Fanning's Maldivian quiver ?

Aug 4, 2022

How Boardshorts Work

They are your one chance to look cool while actually surfing. Don’t blow it.

Aug 4, 2022

A Surf/Snow/Music Fez In The Heart Of Melbourne 

URBNSURF is throwing an action-sports/live music DOOF this month and Stab Premium members are getting…

Aug 4, 2022

Peace, Love, And Mung Beans: 7 Things I Learned From Mick Fanning

Ranging from surf travel hacks to philosophy to jingle lyrics.

Aug 2, 2022

The Three Million Dollar Chinese Storm

500 board orders, coaching armies, and trips around the world — here's how China’s Olympic…

Aug 1, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: Does The Huntington Hop Actually Work?

Ed Templeton explains Huntington Beach, the ugliest maneuver in surfing returns, a horde of strange…

Aug 1, 2022

So Long, S-Turns

Famous Outer Banks surf spot becomes a scenic detour.

Jul 31, 2022

What’s Going On With Stab Edit Of The Year? 

Update time.

Jul 31, 2022

1:09:12

Watch: Laurie Towner Spent 8 Months On The Road In Australia

Guess how many waves he found.

Jul 30, 2022

WSL Says: No Seignosse For You!

Who is helped and who is hurt by France's abandoned CS event?

Jul 30, 2022
Advertisement