Returning Shortly: The World’s Most Luxurious Surf Event
And Bruce Irons, Josh Kerr, CJ Hobgood (and more) just received an invite!
You don’t tune in to watch the Surfing Champions Trophy to see brave men and women pitch themselves into the path of freight trains, save that for the CT's Hawaii leg.
It’s the eccentric faces, the mixture of craft, and tropical venue that gives the Maldives event its allure.
Sultans, the wave, is the most delicious looking tropical right hander. Think consistently head high, user friendly and flawlessly clean. There’s tubes, roomy enough to squeeze inside, yet forgiving for those eager to take it to noon and above.
It’s the perfect wave for throwing weight around on boards with various fin arrangements. Speaking of which, to snatch a spot in the event's grand finale, invitees have to do battle through the first rounds, competing on twins, singles and their usual thruster setups in order to progress.
Interestingly heats are handicapped based on age. Each surfer gets half of their age plus 10 minutes as their heat time, giving the old guard a little more time to get their fill.
Did we mention the place is fucking paradise?
Each year the Four Seasons Maldives casts out its list of exclusive invitees, all highly respected, top tier non-CT surfers. Basically every truly exciting surfer you don't see on the webcast.
They've shipped in surf royalty like Tom Curren, Shane Dorian, Rob Machado, Dave Rastovich, Jamie O'Brien, Beth Hamilton, Sunny Garcia and Taj Burrow to compete in previous years.
TB actually won the thing last time around, bumping The Drifter in the final. Later he stood on the podium, champagne in hand, with hours of uncrowded perfection behind him, and beamed, “Are you guys serious? You pay us for this? I had the time of my life, and we get a pay check!”
Anyway, poor ol Taj scrambled up his knee recently, forcing him to pull out of this year's event, much to the delight of CJ Hobgood, who picked up the free slot.
“I honestly can’t believe we are going back, it’s the best trip me and my wife have ever had and we’ve travelled a bit," said CJ upon receiving his gift. "Thank you, Taj, get better and hope they get you an injury wild card next year."
Who else have they got onboard for this year's tropical soiree?
Bruce Irons, Josh Kerr, Fred Pattachia, Brazilian star, Alejo Muniz and local wildcard, Abdulla ‘Fuku’ Areef. Impressive, huh?
“I'm so pumped to be invited to this event,” said Bruce. "I’ve seen and heard things about the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy in the past and think it sounds like the sickest event. I can’t wait to get over there and surf the different boards in those waves – It’s going to be amazing.”
The official waiting period for surfing's most luxurious event runs from August 6th - 13th, so don't wander far.
Here's a little more detail:
Unique in many ways, the Surfing Champions Trophy determines a surfer's heat time based on their age, and tests skill across three different divisions: single-fin, twin-fin, and triple-fin thruster. Places are granted to surfing’s elite by invitation-only, who then battle it out for both ‘surfing inner-circle’ kudos and US$25,000 prize winnings.
Surfers must use a different board for each division. These need to be authentic designs. They don't have to ride an original from back in the day, they can get one shaped, but it must follow the traditional lines and design (eg, Single Fin, Twin Fin). There's to be no using one board with a versatile fin template, this isn't in the spirit of the event.
As ever, the event will be onboard Four Seasons Explorer – the Maldives’ ultimate surf vessel. Fans can get up close to the action with onboard VIP passes, while the ‘surf tour’ experience continues with shoulder-rubbing events back at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, which plays host to the contest’s competitors, judges and Tropicsurf partners.
And the heat draw: