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The Magic of Marley’s

Surfers discuss the conditions
Marley's is one of the more advanced surf spots of the Maltese Islands. Here's a wee breakdown of it for you to chew on

Right, you’ve no doubt read about the Cold Water Invitational… so let’s shine the light on the surf spot Marley’s!

Marley’s is something else. By the location, on the coastline of Bahar ic-Caghaq, you’d never guess it’s a surf spot. A tiny sandy beach, near a car park, with a jetty jutting out to sea. It is a popular spot, with a few restaurants or bars and one famous ice cream van. In fact, that’s what the area is famed for – incredibly good ice cream!

But of course, there’s the sea, right? So add a little wind and some magic tends to happen. And with that wind comes something else. Seemingly mad humans in wetsuits carrying these long objects with fins on them…

When it works down at Marley’s, it’s pumping, but don’t be fooled, as this spot is quite a tricky one. It’s a shallow bay, with a sharp reef, which has claimed a few scalps already. It is definitely not a spot for beginners but is often the first bay people head to after mastering Ghajn Tuffieha bay. Wipe-outs here can be nasty, turns have to be quick and fast, and this spot needs to be respected. 

The infamously fun Grigal

When we get the famed Grigal wind, the North Eastern, Marley’s tends to wake up. If the swell also comes in from the same direction, boom, we’ve got ourselves ideal onshore conditions. 

On rare occasions, the wind shifts south, so the waves go offshore and it works even more, with plunging waves, with tiny almost-barrels.

Malta’s fastest wave

Left wave: When the wave breaks, it breaks hard on the reef, so you can’t simply go straight as you’ll pass from the 2m depth point to a shallow 30cm over a reef. Wiping out is simply not an option. You’ve got to turn immediately to the left, which gives you the fastest wave in Malta. Mastering your turns first is absolutely key before trying this spot.

Right wave: The right wave, coming from a northern wind, gets you past the reef, on rapid, shallow water, and you’ve got to stay on a double section, where the reef drops a little and it gives you fair depth. It’s a fast pop-up, quick burst, but opens up with big turns available, which gives you a trip to the shore right until the coast road. 

Main hazards at Marley’s 

The waves break on the same point, so when you get inside from the slipway you paddle facing the waves, as soon as you arrive you’ve got to keep the position. The bay is a tiny, narrow funnel and the current of the waves breaking pushes you left to Maghtab. You’ve got to keep moving and paddling facing left. 

Booties are absolutely necessary due to the shallow reef. The current is super strong and it is littered with buoys, meaning tangling is a reality. It’s a technical spot, with sharp quick turns. You can pump, you can curve so it’s fun. Longboarding is fun too on a rare day, but you don’t want a long fin at all, otherwise, you’ll grind it on the reef. 

This spot is not your average picture-perfect beachy sunset spot. It’s technical, rapid and dangerous. Before dipping your toes here, observe the more experienced surfers, and study the turning points and the way the funnel-shaped bay works. 

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Marley's is one of the more advanced surf spots of the Maltese Islands. Here's a wee breakdown of it for you to chew on