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Aussie surfer takes charge at Maldives resort

For Zach Zocher (right), Niyama Private Island’s professional Surf Dude, surfing is a passion that became an obsession, and ultimately lead him to pack for paradise.

Growing up in Cape Town, he started surfing at the age of ten and soon represented his province in the South African Surfing Championships. Still a teenager, he immigrated to Australia with his parents and landed in the beautiful seaside town of Avoca.

“In Avoca I surfed every day and I loved the sense of adventure and exploration that surfing offered me,” said Zach. “It is here that my passion became an obsession and my travels in search of perfect waves started.”

Zach’s epic surf adventures have taken him to some of the world’s surf spots from Jeffery’s Bay in his home country of South Africa, to Trestles and Blacks Beach in California, to the eponymous Bells Beach in Australia and various breaks around the Mentawai Islands.

During a surf expedition in the Maldives he discovered Niyama. “Most of the surf spots in this area remain undiscovered, but at Niyama the secret is right in front of you. It’s the only luxury resort sporting surf-able waves that break directly onto the island,” said Zach.

“The resort offers adjoining twin islands, Chill and Play, and just off the edge of Play Island’s Surf Corner is Vodi surf point – a classic, powerful left hand ride that breaks onto the shore. Off to the West and just five minutes away by speedboat is Kasabu surf point at Kudahuvadhoo Corner – a superb right hander with barrelling sections. Head East for ten minutes to Hocus Pocus at Maeenboodhoo Corner for another barrelling right hander.”

Raving about the surf conditions, Zach continued to rave about the waves around Niyama and how they are relatively mellow and playful, but challenging at times and suitable for intermediate to advanced surfers, with some spots perfect for beginner coaching.

As the resort was gearing up to introduce a series of surf options and tailored services, Zach took the opportunity to offer his expertise on the spot. He then returned soon after as the head of surf operations at Niyama.

Float, Niyama’s water sports operator, offers an array of tailor-made surf programs and services to suit every surfer. “From beginner coaching courses to various surf pass options that offer on-demand boat transfers to surf points located away from the resort, I am on hand to coax first timers or use video analysis to help intermediate surfers get to the next level,” said Zach.

“The best thing about surfing at NIYAMA is the fact that the surf points are off the beaten track with uncrowded waves and high quality breaks,” he said. Zach also confessed that, despite having surfed some of the best spots around the globe, nothing compared to arguably the ultimate luxury surf experience offered at the resort – a private seaplane at surfers’ disposal to discover and surf secret spots. “The seaplane allows surfers to discover untouched waves anywhere in the ocean, and swim back to the plane for the scenic short journey back to the resort.”

“I am super excited about this opportunity and I cannot wait to explore and share the secret surf spots of this stunning country with my fellow surfers” he concluded.

For more information about Niyama’s surf options and bespoke surf services, visit

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