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Sunset sessions at Għajn Tuffieħa*

Riviera sunset
We explore the first stop for many of Malta's new surfers: Get stuck in at Riviera Bay

(/aˁːjn tʊˈfːɪːħɐ/)

*Aka Riviera

It is literally impossible not to fall in love with Riviera. It’s a wow-spot, it’s an energy spot, it’s a sunset spot, it’s a secluded spot and crucially it’s a surf spot! 

This bay is one of the island’s most untouched areas. The beauty of it is that you can’t see any development or buildings, bar the restaurant which blends well into the environment. The abandoned hotel (Riviera Martinique) sitting on top of the bay almost adds to the charm and, due to the lack of light pollution, star shows here are wild.

This beach is characterised by a copper sand, a gorgeous plateau which framesevery instagram shot perfectly, and those stairs that take you down to the sandy bottom. Simple elements that make a gorgeous bay. Add a sprinkle of sunset colours and you’ve got yourself a romantic little niche. Throw in some wind and you’ve got yourself your surf spot.

This beach is proving to be the ideal training spot for beginners, and the ultimate spot for short boarders and longboarders alike. 

Best surf conditions:

  • Wind: North East (offshore)
  • Swell: West or North West

The bay has an easy entry as the water that splashes up onto the beach drains from either side. From the concrete flat on the right hand side you can climb onto the jagged rocks and jump on your board. Paddle out and you’ll hit the sweet spot.

If that entrance looks too gnarly, you can paddle out straight from the sand on that right hand side, using that backward current to take you out too. Practice those duck dives for the bigger swells, but once you’re out, you’re good. The sets roll in and you’re always quite safe. Currents at this bay have a bad reputation, but with a little experience you’ll be a-ok. Also look out for the flag warning system, it’s key for inexperienced bathers and helps keep this bay a safe one for young surfers.

In summer you’ll be able to surf without a wetsuit and spend longer days at the bay. Making time for sunset after your surf is the best way to end any session and sunsets don’t get much better than those at Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. As we always say, respect the locals, especially given the sheer amount in the summer months – and this goes to all surfers and those non-surfing humans we need to love too. 

That concrete flat section is ideal for surfers as it makes for a comfortable spot to change in and out of your wetsuit and keep your boards safe. It becomes a melting pot of surfers, so if you’re a beginner, lean in for some tips and get to know a couple of the old-timers. 

Double Red Flag

In summer, lifeguards will put out a double red flag… which is bad news for swimmers, but excellent news for intermediate to advanced surfers. It is an invitation, but also a warning. Swimmers are banned from swimming, while surfers surf at their own risk. The currents are fast, unpredictable and getting to the line up takes strength and energy. Inexperienced surfers are better off closer to the beach in shallower water as those currents can suck you under faster than Kraken… if you’re not up for it, don’t. Any hangover? Don’t. Still stoned from the night before? Nah, stay dry mate. Just look and learn…watch a pro do the show and take some sun.

Learn to surf at Riviera with Malta Surf School

The winter months leave the bay deserted and the summer days, as you’d expect, are packed with people. The lifeguards ensure surfers keep to the right of the bay with buoys marking out a swim zone. It is here that you can learn to surf and, as always, it is good to do so with a coach. You’ll find Valerio and his girlfriend Kat there daily so don’t be shy to approach them, they won’t bite.

As the sport grows in Malta it’s good to book in advance, so find Cicco on Instagram (@surfcoachvalerio) and send him some love! If SUP is what you’re after, you’re in luck: Blondie will take care of you and guide you through one of the best ways to relax on a calm day! Happy exploring and see you out there newbies.

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