Best of the Maldives: Beach Rugby – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - beach rugby 3

It’s not just the men who get to enjoy head-turning beauties this week, but the women get treated to fine specimens themselves with the opening of the Rugby World Cup (as a lady friend of mine commented “Us ladies had to pause and rewind a few times when watching the match last night. Those Fijian giants, those tight shorts…”).
Rugby is a sport where the “
small island states” (eg. Samoa, Fiji, Tonga) stand shoulder to shoulder with the big guys. In fact, even many of the traditional powerhouses in the sport are themselves island nations – New Zealand, Australia, England, Japan.

I’m not sure that the Maldives will be fielding a national team anytime soon, but JA Manufaru resort has hosted its own beach rugby games with staff and guests. In fact, a prominent England player joined in the fun when he visited the resort a while back.  Front Office Manager Ahmed Ashfaq explained, “Some of our managers were interested in playing beach rugby including myself.  We had a group of people who used to play twice a week every day. The idea of playing a friendly match came up with in the group.  The two teams were the’ Manafaru Barbarians’ were a team selected by general manager and ‘Ball Crusher’ is from F&B team.|”  The Barbarians won by a score of 11-7.

For those of you who have no idea what the pictures are all about, I have attached at bottom a link to a helpful instructional primer video done in the spirit of London Fashion Week going on now (see bottom…so to speak).


JA Manafaru - beach rugby 5

JA Manafaru - beach rugby 4

JA MAnafaru - Beach Rugby 2

JA Manafaru - beach rugby 1

Rules of Rugby

Best of the Maldives: Kite Surfing School – Olhuveli

Olhuveli - kite surfing

Kite flying is no longer kids stuff. And today marks the opening of the Kite Surfing World Cup at The Hague. May always has been prime kite flying weather and it’s as good as any time to start learning the sport of kite surfing. As I’ve noted before, the Maldives is starting to establish as strong a wordwide profile for surfing as it has for snorkelling and honeymooning. And if you want to add the kite dimension to your boarding (or the boarding dimension to you kite flying for that matter), then Olhuveli’s Watersport World has established a specialised training facilitiy dedicated to the sport…

“Olhuveli houses the first certified kite surfing school in Maldives with impressive equipment, courses and lessons…The Team: Watersports World is an international certificated watersports school. Enrolled in the VDWS association…The Lagoon: There is a huge sandy bottom lagoon surrounding Olhuveli. That is unique in the Maldives and this is even one of the best watersports area in the world!! The wave point: It takes about 10 minutes by the speed boat from Olhuveli to get to ‘Guraidhoo’. The wave/swell season is from May to October with the South West monsoon wind. This spot is still uncrowded comparing with the North Male Atoll wave spots. Mostly, the waves are only for you! Wave beginners are not recommended.”

As you can see from their commentary, May marks the onset of prime Kite Boarding season in the Maldives as well.

Olhuveli’s equipment includes kites from size 3.5 to 17 from North Kiteboarding (Buzz, Evo, Rhino, Rebel) and Cabrinha Kite (Convert IDS 2009 / Contra 08). Their boards include North Kiteboarding (Phantom 143/154, Gonzales 151) XRide 141/129, Mallory 129, Jaime S, Freestylefish 5’0″, Sumo, M2, and Cabrinha Board (Custom, Imperial).

Surf’s *way* up, up, up…

Best of the Maldives: Golf Course – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangi-La Villingili golf course

Well, it’s about time.

As I’ve discussed before, the absence of a proper scale golf course is one of (if not *the*) major inhibitor to prospective high visitors to the Maldives. Today, Shangri-La Viligili has plugged that gap opening the first full sized (well short par 3s…more of an ‘Executive’ course, but bigger than the Kuredu pitch-and-putt) golf course in the Maldives. Minivan reports

“The nine hole course sits on seven-and-a-half hectares of previously undeveloped land at the southern end of Villingili Island. Most holes par three and average 123.4 yards in length, and are set amongst the island’s natural veggetation including of palms, pandanus and other tropical plants. The course includes a clubhouse, refreshment bar and a pro shop. ‘It’s a recreational course, not a professional course,’ explained Shangri-La’s Assistant Communications Manager, Cristina Acenas. ‘It is accessible to beginners but advanced golfers will also enjoy it.’”

It might not end there if the plans for a fully engineered ‘floating course’ with underwater connections comes to light…

Well played, Shangri-La.

Best of the Maldives: Fitness Centre Size – Hulhule Hotel

Hulhule Gym 1

So your New Year’s Resolution is to get fit? Lose a few pounds? Perhaps work off a few of those Traders mocktails?

There was a time when the ‘fitness centre’ was an after-thought to a Maldive resort (some would say appropriately so for anything with the word ‘work’ as in ‘workout’ in it). Often a closet somewhere with some random barbells and a tired treadmill. These days, resorts have understood that keeping up fitness (especially with the plenty of rest, time available and buffet temptations) are an important piece of infrastructure. Most of the 4 star resorts and better now have commendable gyms with a range of up-to-date equipment.

But the biggest, best-equipped centre I can find is the Hulhule Hotel. 22 machines in total including a rowing machine and cross-trainer. For the class school weight trainer, they have full Olympic free weights with a wider range of benches than my local sports centre in the UK.

Hulhule Gym 2