Following a two-year hiatus, Four Season Maldives hosted its Surfing Champions Trophy’s historic 10th edition. The competition saw some of the biggest names in the international surfing scene compete against each other for a whopping USD 25,000 prize, kicked off on August 22 and ended on August 29, last Monday.
Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy is recognized for its unique event format, throwing away the conventional set 30-minute heats in favor of surfer’s heat time based on their age. The surfers are challenged across three different surfing disciplines; single-fin, twin-fin and the more conventional triple-fin thruster; all three, ensured to bring out the most of the surfers’ prowess. This also gives each surfer the freedom to get creative and “have as much fun as possible in the water.”
Speaking about the event, Kelly Slater; crowned World Surf League champion 11 times, said, “The competition was great; it was a lot of fun, here with four of my best friends that I’ve surfed with my whole life."
The World Champion also added that it was fun competing with locally renowned surfing forefather, Hussain ‘Iboo’ Areef.
Slater further adds, “the waves could’ve been better. We had a little bit of tough conditions. But it was clean and small. I grew up in small waves, so I had a good time.”
He also said that while he was accustomed to competing against usual rivals, he had never competed against the local legend, so he could not expect what kind of competition he was facing. The two had two heats together, and Slater said they had a lot fun.
“I got the chance to compete with the world’s best surfer Kelly in this competition. The people competing in this competition today are those that we saw in surf movies when we began the sport. I came to this position after watching and learning the moves from these people. It is a proud moment for me to be able to compete with them in this competition,” Says Hussain ‘Iboo’ Areef.
“They are very nice and down to earth people.” he added.
For Areef, it was a dream come true to surf at his "home breaks" with surfing legends. Areef had earlier commented about his excitement to surf against Rob Machado in particular, noting that the Australian born American big wave specialist has always been a favorite of his. He further claimed to have learned so much from watching Machado as well as the other big names in the event such as Dorian, Knox and others in the Momentum movies and Loose Change.
“It’s pretty incredible to go from seeing them on the screen and in magazines to lining up alongside them; I feel very lucky to have this opportunity,” a thrilled Areef had said prior to the event.
Speaking about the event and the waves, Slater also said that the tropical islands experienced “some really great waves” and several good surfers visit the islands to surf and gain experience. “So, they are exposed to a lot of high-level surfing,” Slater said, speaking about the experiences of himself as well as the competitors.
One of the major highlights for the World Champion about the Surfing Champions Trophy and the sporting event in Four Seasons, was the availability of sufficient resources. Slater says that the resources were well presented and efficient for the surfers to “become good with the waves.” Speaking more about the competitors, he said that he would not be surprised to see some of the competitors pushing themselves to land a chance on the World Surfing Tour in the future.
He was all praises to Four Seasons, the event host, claiming that the competition’s arrangements were beyond his expectations. He also said he has greatly enjoyed his time at the event venue.
The competition’s final division included Slater along with Areef, freesurfer Rob Machado, Shane Dorian the 2015 surfing champions trophy winner, Taylor Knox the power surfer and Ross Willaims the World Tour veteran.
Rob Machado, who spoke ahead of the event said not to be fooled by the age of the crew, adding, “We’ll be more fired up than ever, competing against guys from our own generation!”