The Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Championship Trophy 2019 kicked off Tuesday 6 August. The opening ceremony was held that evening at the Baraabaru restaurant of the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa resort where the competitors were received with a traditional bodu beru procession. The general manager, Randy Shimabuku expressed his delight at having the competition for the 9th year and welcomed the surfers to the island.
Last year’s champion Josh Kerr will be defending his title against surfing legends Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kai Lenny (HAW), Wiggolly Dantas (BRZ), Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and local wildcard, Mohamed Fayaz.
“We are all here to enjoy it. I’m really looking forward to this week. It’s definitely a tough line-up this year. Not that last year wasn’t tough but especially tough this year with Kai, Matt and Wiggolly. And a local. It’s gonna be tough to go up against the local guys. They know the waves so well. I hope the swell materialises the way it’s meant to and I hope we have a good show,”said Kerr.
Organised by Tropic Surf, the competition will be hosted aboard the Four Seasons Explorer, where fans can see the action up close with VIP passes.
The event coordinator Ross Phillips said that they’ve been blessed to have amazing surf every year.
“We had one year when it wasn’t very good but I think particularly last year it was pumping waves. Sultans has world class waves and its tailor-made for high performance and the competitors love it.”
After the first event, we didn’t know if it was gonna happen again but here we are, nine years later so it’s been very successful. We have these professional surfers from all around the world and when they talk to their friends they say that this is the number one event to come to, not just for the amazing waves but they get to bring their families and stay at this amazing resort and be pampered.”
The guest of honour, minister of youth, sports and community empowerment Ahmed Mahloof welcomed the competitors to the country and thanked the Four Seasons for hosting the event for the ninth year, adding that such competitions will give a huge boost to the tourism industry.
“More than 95 percent of the country is water, but sea sports, especially surfing, has been neglected by the previous administrations. But now we are committed to supporting this sport,” said Mahloof.
He said that the government is planning to host the country’s own international surfing competition in the future, adding that the support of brands such as the Four Seasons and international surfing legends would be appreciated.
“I also want to assure the local surfers that they have our full support, and that we are committed to do whatever is necessary to provide them with more opportunities.”
Local surfer Mohamed Fayaz (Pele’) said that he was really excited for the event.
“I’ve been given a chance to compete at an international event after a long time. I’ll be competing with professional surfers. We only got to see pro surfers on TV when we were growing up, so I’m looking forward to it. I think it’ll be great.”
The surfers will compete in single-fins, twin-fins and thrusters over three competition days for the championship trophy and the USD 25,000 prize money.
Juliana Ang, the director of public relations & communications of Four Seasons said: “This is a great event. We’ve been doing it for the last nine years. It gets bigger and better every year, and it’s a wonderful platform to put Maldives on the international map, especially international surfing. And I think there’s a growing interest for surfing in the Maldives as well.
We are very glad to be a part of this together with out partner Tropic Surf who are the pros in luxury surfing. And next year will be the 10th anniversary so we look forward to what’s coming.”