Surfing legends line-up announced for 2019 Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy

With just five weeks to go until the Indian Ocean’s hottest surf invitational, the news is out that surfing legends Joel Parkinson, Kai Lenny, Wiggolly Dantas, Matt Wilkinson and Maldivian wildcard Mohamed Fayaz are booked to take on defending champion Josh Kerr in the world’s most luxurious annual surfing contest: Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy held at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa.

Bringing a promising mix of style, creativity and big wave prowess, the new announcements are set to seriously ramp up the competition at the epic one-of-a-kind event, which tests some of the world’s hottest surfing names, past and present, across three different divisions: single-fin, twin-fin, and triple-fin thruster.

“We’re extremely excited about the assemblage of surfers in this year’s event. With such a diverse and talented field competing, you can be sure that there will be some amazing surfing taking place. We’re in for a real treat,” event co-ordinator Mark Winson of Tropicsurf was quoted in a statement, as saying.

Joel Parkinson (AUS)

“Parko” grew up surfing on Queensland’s Gold Coast. At just 18 years old, Parko stunned the surfing world by winning his first World Tour event as a wildcard, which set the scene for a remarkable career.

During his nearly two-decade ride, he racked up 12 World Tour event wins and a host of major milestones including: four runner-up finishes on the World Tour (2002, 2004, 2009 and 2011); the ASP World Title in 2012; and a perfect heat at the Oakley Bali Pro in 2013, skilfully pairing two perfect 10 rides.

More than that, he’s a fun, laidback lovable guy, and one of the sport’s most stylish and naturally gifted surfers, blending power with grace and finesse.

Parkinson shares, “Surfing at an event like the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy is an opportunity I could not pass up on given my love for the Maldives and having fun. The Maldives is one of my favourite surf spots in the world and as a holiday destination it doesn’t get more amazing for a surfer and his family. Now my kids are older we are making this contest into a family project and I am coming to win the Four Seasons Surfing Champions Trophy to show them Dad can still mix it with the best of them.”

Kai Lenny (HAW)

Happiest on a wave – and true to his name, which means “ocean” – Kai Lenny grew up on Maui’s northern shore, riding all manner of boards: kiteboards, windsurfs, stand-up paddleboards and, of course, surf boards, riding his first wave aged four.

Undeniably one of the world’s greatest watermen, at 26 years old Kai is pushing the boundaries of big wave surfing, recently being awarded Men’s Best Overall Performance and Men’s XXL Biggest Wave at the World Surf League Big Wave Awards.

Lenny’s talents, however, aren’t confined to big wave surfing, with the young Hawaiian being an accomplished short boarder who’ll be looking to showcase his full repertoire on the speedy walls of Sultans.

Wiggolly Dantas (BRZ)

A goofy footed, big waver lover from Ubatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Dantas’ surfing initiation happened at the tender age of three when his brother would repeatedly push him into their local breaks (their mum owned a shop on the beach, so the sand and waves were their playground). It wasn’t long before he was taking his brother’s board when he wasn’t using it.

Dantas first competed at the age of six and has been gunning to be the best surfer in the world ever since, joining the World Surfing League in 2015.

Hugely respected in the sport and known for his humble yet fiercely competitive nature, watch out for Wiggolly’s powerful rail game, lightning fast reflexes and critical backhand attack.

Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

One of the world’s most free-spirited surfers, Australian goofy footer Wilko finished in the top five of the Championship Tour in 2016 and 2017, transforming from offbeat party boy to title contender.

Raised near Avoca Beach, New South Wales, he spent his formative years catching breaks on Copacabana Beach and traversing the coast with his dad in their van, participating in surfing contests. A savvy competitor from a young age, he joined the CT in 2010 and quickly established his position within the upper echelon of surfing, taking the surf world by storm with epic back-to-back victories at the start of the 2016 season (and the legendary bar tab that followed at Bells!).

The life of the party on and off the waves, Wilko will bring a unique splash of creativity to this year’s event.

Wilko comments: “I’m so excited to experience the luxury of Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa while surfing an event with an emphasis on fun. It’s rare to be able to enjoy such amazing waves without too much pressure and to be able to bring some of the historic surfboard shapes back to life.”

Mohamed Fayaz (MV)

Hailing from the Maldives’ capital city Male, Pelé (as locals affectionately know him) grew up surfing nearby Raalhugandu.

Rookie of the Tournament in his very first contest – which took place in China, far from his familiar home surf – Pelé went on to compete in multiple WSL QS competitions held in the Maldives from 2001 to 2005, securing the national title in 2003. A bad knee injury in 2007 temporarily sidelined this regular footer, who made a comeback in 2014 and spends his spare time working for a nationwide surf development programme.

As a local surf guide, no one knows the home swells better than Pelé. Keep an eye out for his impressive rail work, surfing with a beautiful floor.

The Surfing Champions Trophy is hosted aboard 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 nightly cocktail events back at Kuda Huraa, which plays host to the contest’s competitors, judges and Tropicsurf partners (the pros behind the Resort’s surf operation).

For a piece of the action, guests can book the Surfing Champions Trophy 2019 package, available at Kuda Huraa between August 5-12. The packages includes:

  • 10 per cent off Bed & Breakfast rates
  • Daily breakfast
  • VIP event passes on board Four Seasons Explorer
  • Nightly cocktail hour with the Championship pro competitors
  • One Surf Lagoon lesson for two (option for advanced surfers to upgrade to Ocean Transition classes)
  • One 60-minute massage for two at Kuda Huraa’s pop-up Garden Spa
  • Surf’s Up call service: complimentary daily surf reports with the latest conditions and event updates
  • Use of stand-up paddleboards
  • Complimentary daily group yoga class

Limited day passes will be available at a fee for non-package guests and members of the public wishing to view the event from Four Seasons Explorer.

World-renowned hotel chain Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts runs three resorts in Maldives: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa and Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah.

Combining innovation, wellness and conservation, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru is a 44-acre, 103-villa wonderland in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — a 30-minute seaplane flight from the main Velana International Airport.

Its sister property, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa lies to the south: an enchanting garden island complete with Island Spa sea sanctuary and Tropicsurf coaches and guides. It features 96 thatched beach and water accommodations constructed by local craftsmen using indigenous materials and techniques to reflect a true sense of the Maldives.

The luxury catamaran Four Seasons Explorer connects the two properties via three, four and seven-night cruises, plus private leisure, surf and manta ray charters.

The latest addition to the Maldives collection, Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, Baa Atoll opened in 2016 as the group’s first exclusive-use private island: off limits to everyone else, limitless to the guests.

To book the Surfing Champions Trophy 2019 package contact: reservations.mal@fourseasons.com or tel +960 66 00 888.

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