Surf Champ Kelly Slater Triumphs At Four Seasons Maldives

Of late, many of the world’s finer resort hotels have ventured in their event scheduling into ever more formerly esoteric activities and sponsorships. At same time, surfing continues to boom worldwide, with lesser-known surf spots like the Maldives now on the map. Combine the two themes and you have the tenth anniversary of the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy which took place all last week at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, just north of the atoll nation’s capital Malé.

Billed as “the world’s most luxurious surfing event,” this is the world’s only surfing tournament of its kind sponsored by a single resort. Whether you’re a serious surfer yourself or just enjoy watching good competition from a relaxing vantage point, the heats are open to all guests.

Star competitors in the single, double and triple fin events included 11-time World Surfing Champion Kelly Slater and other icons of the so-called Momentum Generation (which is also the title of a 2018 HBO film) who in the 90s took the sport to new levels; fellow Americans Taylor Knox, Rob Machado, Ross Williams, and Shane Dorian. Maldivian surfing champion Hussain “Iboo” Areef represented the host nation.

In a tight battle in the single-fin division of the event, Kelly Slater took day one of two-to-six-foot sets in the right-hand waves at the celebrated Sultans reef break. The legend voiced his approval of his first time surfing the Maldives: “It’s just such a great location and the waves are beautiful. They’re playful, but it’s really high-level and high-performance surf.”

On a clear Indian Ocean for Finals Day, two-to-four-foot waves broke at Sultans for the Thruster Division. Maldivians waved their flags from boats, cheering for local favorite Areef as he faced Slater who advanced in the end. “They are the people I watched when I was learning to surf,” said Areef of his North American competitors. “They had a big impact on my surfing career.” Against Dorian for the Grand Final, the fifty-year-old Slater won again with high scores of 8.23 and 8.73, to take the ultimate crown.

Back after a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Surfing Champions Trophy promises to continue as a major event at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa which opened a little more than two decades old. For those so inspired, the 97-villa property also has plenty of opportunities for surf mortals to hone their own board skills or take up the sport for the first time.

In their Dream program, beginners go from the lagoon to level two, and can ultimately head onto the breaks. There are also daily boat trips that take surfers out to Kuda Huraa’s world-class waves. The Ride Clinic is a 10-step program operated by the Tropicsurf outfit based out of Noosa Heads town in Australia’s Queensland.

There’s more folks. For the ultra-adrenaline rush, the Seaplane Surfing Safari is exactly what the name says. Lastly, the Four Seasons Explorer premium surfing cruise of 7 or 10 days puts you in a 128-foot luxury catamaran that visits rarely surfed breaks in the Outer Atolls. Two Tropicsurf guides accompany every tour.

Per Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa suggestion, guests will find the best waves for beginners year round, while veteran surfers will want to come from April to October. “It’s awesome especially this year,” said surfer Dorian. “It’s been really fun in the past, but this year is extra special because we all have been best friends for three decades, almost four decades.”

Now’s your chances to make some new surf pals too in the setting of a life. Better get started doing those chin-ups, squats, and lunges.

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