Four Seasons Maldives commenced late Tuesday the sixth Surfing Champions Trophy 2016, an annual event starring world champion surfers.
The line-up of renowned names for this year are:
Shane Dorian – USA (defending champion)
Jamie O’Brien – USA
Travis Logie – South America (World Surf League – deputy commissioner)
Taj Burrow – Austrailia
Rob Machado – USA
Bethany Hamilton – USA
This year marks a milestone for the prestigious event, which broke the tradition of only starring world champions to offer a competing opportunity to Surfing Champions Trophy’s first local surfer, Hussain “Ibu” Areef, popular as one of the best surfers in the Maldives.
The opening ceremony of Surfing Champions Trophy 2016 was held at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa in Kaafu atoll with the chief guests, sports minister Iruthisham Adam and environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim.
In her speech, Minister Iruthisham noted the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s recent decision to add surfing to the sports programme for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, and she declared that events such as the Surfing Champions Trophy will serve as stepping stones for local hopefuls aiming for the Games.
“Surfing is a sport recently gaining much popularity among the youth. It has also brought good name to the Maldives. While surfing has been included in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, contests such as these are great boosts for local surfers to advance in this sport. I greatly welcome the decision for Four Seasons Maldives to extend the chance to Maldivian surfers,” said Iruthisham.
Environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim expressed pleasure over the chance for intentional athletes to participate in this event held amidst the natural beauty of the archipelago.
“I’m glad to see this sport’s progress [in Maldives] in not only the business sense, but by opening the doors to the whole world as well,” he declared.
Four Seasons Maldives described this year’s championship as the best to date. The declaration was enthusiastically seconded by the competitors.
Expressing excitement over getting a second shot at the trophy, defending champion Shane Dorian stated that Surfing Champions Trophy is a unique event where he has to go up against surfing champions. He admitted that defending his title this year will be a harder challenge.
Gracing the line-up as the only female surfer for this year, 26 year old Bethany Hamilton brings an additional symbol of strength and endurance to this year’s championship. She had faced the greatest obstacle of her carrier in 2003 when she lost her left arm in a shark attack at the age of 13. However, her love for surfing and her determination had triumphed and she had risen as a champion and a source of inspiration to millions.
Declining to comment on the incident, Bethany stated that she always aspired to be on top which had ultimately led her to this event amongst fellow champions. She also praised the beauty and aptness of the Maldives for such sports.
The Surfing Champions Trophy will proceed in three categories: Single Fin, Double Fin and Thruster. The event concludes on August 14 with a cash prize of USD 25,000 to the champion.