The World’s Most Opulent Surf Comp Returns
Joel Parkinson, Kai Lenny, Matt Wilkinson and more join Josh Kerr at the multi-craft Champions Trophy in the Maldives.
Remember that non-CT, non-QS comp we kept hammering on about last year? The one with bath-temp waters, hollow, long right handers, and a comp format that requires aptitude on crafts with three-fins down to one. Well, it’s that time of year again and this year the lineup is even more stacked.
Josh Kerr won last year with a 10-point ride tube and above the lip antics, and this year he’ll be defending his title against Joel Parkinson, Matt Wilkinson, Kai Lenny, Wiggolly Dantas, and local, Mohamed ‘Pelé’ Fayaz.
As per usual the six surfers will take to the fun and often pumping right hander, Sultans, on multiple occasions across the single fin, twin-fin, and thruster events, before the top two go rail-to-rail in one last heat to determine who gets invited back next year. And yes, other than a quirky multi-discipline competitive format, there’s a reason why people are vying to come back every year.
Trunks, groomed walls, and almondy tubes are nice and all, but there’s a reason they call it “the world’s most luxurious surf event”.
The event is pure luxury. And no I’m not just saying that based on the press release. We’ve been and the reasons we want to return extend well beyond waves.
Even those who aren’t surfing in the event are given a tour in excessive opulence. A 5-star resort, unfathomable food, near-endless cocktails, and an outlook that would have us questioning the photo’s legitimacy had we not been lucky enough to attend last year.
This is however a surfing website, not Getaway, so I guess we better talk about the surfing and surfers a little too.
Sultans is a short boat trip away, but why worry about that when this is on your bedroom doorstep.
Josh Kerr needs no introduction – especially at this event. Last year he won the single and twin-fin division before going on to score 10-points in the final and solidify his spot on next year’s roster. Since quitting the CT in 2017 Kerrzy has maintained an eclectic quiver while keeping his competitive edge. If Sportsbet had some odds on this I’d probably back him in to win again.
Now we’ve got the newcomers, who dare I say are the most head-turning names to grace the the invitee list yet.
First up is Joel Parkinson, who we’re speculating hasn’t stepped off his JS Black Baron twin since receiving this invite a few months back. He also took out the Burleigh single-fin classic back in January of this year. And I don’t think we need to mention what his surfing is like on a thruster, do we?
Then there’s Kai Lenny who’s better known for his foil antics and tow-surfing airs than small-wave performance, but don’t let that cast doubt over the young Hawaiian. Had Kai not followed the ‘waterman’ path in which he seemed destined pursue, it’s not hard to imagine him striking fear into the likes of Florence, Medina, and Filipe in a WSL jersey. You mightn’t see it much, but Kai rips on a ‘normal’ board. And for the twins and singles, well if you can ride a foil you can probably ride them too.
Sultans and those lucky enough to be competing there.
Next we’re onto the goofy-footers, Matt Wilkinson and Wiggolly Dantas. Matty dropped off the tour last year and found a new outlet in food & bev, but he’s still kicking on the QS and don’t forget he was the world number one for a significant number of months throughout 2016 and ’17. Plus, Sultans is a right, the direction in which Wilko’s surfing impresses us the most. The second goofy on the roster is Wiggolly. We haven’t heard much of him lately, but he’s 32nd on the QS and from what I can remember had a pretty lethal backhand whack. I also remember him paddling strangely, but he seemingly ironed that out after copping an eponymous roasting in the comments.
Lastly we’ve got the local wildcard Mohamed Fayaz, more commonly known as Pelé. Pelé was the Maldives national champ back in 2003 but was sidelined from surfing in ’07 with a serious knee injury. Let’s be real and admit that Mohamed ain’t going to win this one, but there’s a lot to be jealous of when he gets to call the Maldives home.
If Parko can surf his twin this well at J-Bay, just imagine when he’s in a pair of trunks and staying at the Four Seasons in the Maldives.
While you might not be able to surf in the event – unless someone misses their flight like Bruce Irons last year – you can be a part of the experience – if your pockets are deep. The Four Seasons is offering a Surfing Champions trophy package deal which you can check out here. Which includes VIP event passes, cocktail hour with the pros, massages, daily breakfast and all else that you can expect for a resort of this calibre.
If you can’t make it over, then at least you can take solace in knowing we’ll update the results of the event as they happen, live. Or just wait for the highlight reel to drop day-after-day when the event kicks off between August 5th and 12th.
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