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Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy announces first three competitors

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Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy has announced former Championship Tour (CT) stars Josh Kerr, Alana Blanchard and Fred Patacchia Jr as the first three invitees of “the world’s most luxurious surfing event”.

Josh Kerr

Australian born Josh Kerr was one of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour’s most exciting competitors for more than 10 years.

Known for his well-rounded approach, Kerr would devastate opponents with his technical brand of aerial surfing, consistently finding himself in the top 10 at the pointy end of the season. In more recent years, Kerr has found himself competing on the WSL Big Wave Tour at some of the planet’s biggest and most dangerous waves.

This multifaceted approach to surfing will see Kerr fair well when he hits the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy this year.

“It’s a real honour to be invited to such a cool event like this,” Kerr said.

“Riding the different boards is something I’ve always enjoyed and to do it in a paradise like the Maldives will be incredible. It’s going to be fun competing against some of my old buddies from the CT, I’ll feel like the youngster again.”

Alana Blanchard

There wouldn’t be many people in the surfing world who don’t know the name Alana Blanchard. The Kauai native has been turning heads since she dominated the junior ranks in Hawaii as a teenager and rose towards the WSL Qualifying Series (QS).

After a short but successful time on the QS, Blanchard made it to CT, rising to No. 10 in the world in 2014. After recently becoming a mother, Blanchard is looking to re-qualify for the “Dream Tour.”

“I am really excited to be surfing the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy,” Blanchard said.

“Doing events is always really fun for me, it’s a good change of pace – and what better place to compete than the Maldives. I always see Instagram posts from past competitors and Four Seasons Maldives Kuda Huraa looks like an incredible place, the waves look perfect and the event just seems so well set-up. I can’t wait to surf in an empty lineup out there and experience such a beautiful place and event with my partner Jack and our baby boy Banks. I love experimenting with different boards so feel like the format will suit me.”

Alana Blanchard. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Fred Patacchia Jr

Former CT veteran Fred Patacchia Jr will return to the Maldives for the first time since he competed in a QS event here more than 15 years ago. The powerful goofy-foot is known for his finesse in the tube and tactician-like technique on his backhand, meaning he will be one to watch when competition hits Sultans this August.

Although he plans to enjoy a relaxing week at Four Seasons Maldives Kuda Huraa, his competitive side will be sure to shine once he pulls the jersey on.

“My first trip to the Maldives was for a QS event,” Patacchia said.

“It was so long ago it was still the ASP and the now two time WSL Champion John John Florence was still in elementary school. It’s a vivid memory though as I instantly fell in love with the place, from landing at the airport and jumping on our own personal boat headed to our own personal island, to riding my first wave and thinking ‘this is paradise.’ I’m excited to be taking my wife along with me as this will be her first time to the Maldives and we’re both so excited to be staying at Four Seasons. My intentions are to kick back, relax and enjoy all that the Resort has to offer. If I get around to it, I’ll paddle out for a wave or two.”

Fred Patacchia Jr. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

Although it is tradition for the previous year’s winner to be invited back to the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy, the reigning two-time event winner Taj Burrow has had to withdraw due to a serious knee injury sustained while surfing in Western Australia.

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 USD 25,000 prize winnings.

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 Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, which plays host to the contest’s competitors, judges and Tropicsurf partners.

Four Seasons Explorer. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

With less than two months to go for the event, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa has announced an exclusive Surf, Spa and Save offer for stays of minimum four nights from August 3 to 13. It includes:

  • 15 percent off room rate
  • One 60-minute massage in The Island Spa for two guests per stay
  • Two day passes to view the competition from Four Seasons Explorer (individual tickets to Single, Double, Triple Fin and Grand Finale)
  • VIP Tour Cocktails (nightly cocktail hour with the six Surfing Champions contestants throughout the week of the competition)

Combining innovation, wellness and conservation, Four Seasons Resort Maldives 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 December 2016 as the group’s first exclusive-use private island: off limits to everyone else, limitless to the guests.

Cover photo: Josh Kerr. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS

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Exploring the depths: Technical diving at the British Loyalty wreck in Addu Atoll

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In the southernmost reaches of the Maldives lies a submerged relic steeped in history – The British Loyalty shipwreck. This underwater treasure, resting 33 meters below the surface between the islands of Maradhoo and Hithadhoo in Addu Atoll, has become a haven for technical divers seeking a unique and thrilling experience.

The British Loyalty, an oil tanker with a storied past, was constructed in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and played a crucial role during the colonial era, serving the British Royal Air Force until the late 1970s. Tragically, the ship met its fate during World War II when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in Madagascar in May 1942, resulting in the loss of lives and significant damage.

Despite facing the perils of war, the British Loyalty managed to find its way to Addu Atoll after being repaired. Its duty shifted to supplying oil to the base in Gan until another harrowing incident in 1944, when a German U-boat torpedoed the vessel. Miraculously, the ship did not sink but sustained considerable damage. Instead of full repairs, it was repurposed as a fuel storage vessel until the British withdrawal from the Maldives in 1946, leading to its intentional scuttling across the atoll.

Today, The British Loyalty lies beneath the crystal-clear waters, offering a captivating dive site for enthusiasts. Aquaventure Maldives, a PADI 5 Star Dive Center in Addu, facilitates these mesmerizing dives, providing enthusiasts with a chance to explore the sunken vessel and the vibrant marine life that has made it their home.

Divers have the opportunity to navigate through the 140-meter-long wreck adorned with corals and inhabited by schools of small fish, turtles, and occasional visits from manta rays and sharks. The deck and keel of the ship feature two large holes, inviting divers to swim in and out, enhancing the overall experience of exploring this historic underwater site.

To ensure the preservation of the natural beauty surrounding the wreck, the Maldives Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared The British Loyalty a Protected Area in 2018. This designation emphasizes the commitment to maintaining the delicate balance of marine life and safeguarding the historical significance of the site.

For those seeking an extraordinary adventure beneath the waves, Aquaventure Maldives invites divers to embark on a journey through time, exploring the depths of The British Loyalty and witnessing the captivating underwater wonders of Addu Atoll. With experienced instructors and dive masters boasting thousands of dives in the atoll, Aquaventure Maldives promises a safe and unforgettable technical diving experience in this unique underwater realm.

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Sheraton Maldives hosts “Shape-Up” bootcamp for Global Wellness Day

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Fitness enthusiasts can maintain their routines while connecting with the natural beauty of Furanafushi Island

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa invites fitness enthusiasts and wellness seekers to join an exciting boot camp in celebration of Global Wellness Day. ‘Shape-Up’, a two-day event, will take place on June 11 and 12, 2024, celebrating health, fitness, and well-being. Hosted by renowned German fitness coach Dennis Felber, the event promises a dynamic mix of workouts against the idyllic backdrop of Furanafushi Island.

Dennis Felber, recognized for his coaching expertise, brings years of experience in promoting healthier lifestyles, weight loss, and muscle building. His engaging and effective approach ensures that participants of all fitness levels can achieve their personal goals. The program includes a variety of workouts, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for beginners, beach circuits, battle ropes, fun aqua aerobics, and many more, ensuring an exciting and diverse fitness experience for everyone.

Elevate your performance with an intensive session with Dennis Felber at CocoFit, an innovative outdoor gym that allows fitness enthusiasts to maintain their routines while connecting with the natural beauty of the surroundings. To complement each session, the signature Furana Detox, crafted from fresh lemongrass, mint leaves, and pandan leaves harvested from the resort’s own Furana Organic Garden, is served to get you refreshed and refueled. To conclude the day, our executive chef, Riccardo Pinna, has curated a wellness-inspired dinner consisting of a three-course hearty meal to ensure a balance of nutrients for your body. The evening promises an experience that delights your taste buds and supports your overall well-being.

‘Shape-Up’ is available complimentary for all resort guests aged 16 and above, accommodating guests of all fitness levels. The event also underscores the resort’s commitment to being the World’s Gathering Place, fostering a sense of community among like-minded travelers who share a passion for wellness.

“We are excited to host the ‘Shape-Up’ with Dennis Felber this Global Wellness Day,” said Mohamed El Aghoury, General Manager of Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. “Our goal is to be part of our guests’ wellness journeys by providing enriching activities while they enjoy the unparalleled beauty of our resort.”

Beyond the boot camp, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa offers a variety of enriching activities for guests of all ages. From Sunrise Yoga sessions and adrenaline-pumping water sports to “Adopt A Coral,” a coral planting activity, guests can indulge in both adventure and relaxation while contributing to marine conservation. Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa is accessible with a 15-minute complimentary speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, making it ideal for guests who prefer brief travel.

For reservations and more information, visit www.sheratonmaldives.com or contact the reservations team at Sheraton.Maldives@sheraton.com.

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Amilla Maldives teams up with NGO to protect turtles

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In celebration of World Turtle Day on May 23rd, 2024, Amilla Maldives, a haven nestled within the breathtaking Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, announced a new and exciting partnership with the Atoll Marine Centre (AMC), a local NGO dedicated to marine conservation. This collaboration allows guests to actively participate in protecting these magnificent creatures and their vital habitats.

Founded in Lhaviyani Atoll in 2012, the Atoll Marine Centre (AMC) has become a vital force for sea turtle conservation in the Maldives. Their mission extends far beyond rehabilitation of hatchlings once kept as ill-advised pets. AMC actively rescues and rehabilitates adult turtles entangled in fishing gear or stranded on beaches. Their dedication extends to restoring coral reefs, raising awareness within the local community, and educating future generations through engaging school programs. This partnership with Amilla Maldives marks AMC’s first venture outside their home atoll, signifying the growing importance of collaborative conservation efforts across the islands.

As a proud member of The Conscious Travel Foundation and an EarthCheck silver-certified resort, Amilla Maldives goes beyond offering luxurious accommodations. The resort prioritises sustainable practices and actively engages guests in environmental initiatives. To celebrate World Turtle Day, Amilla curated a series of unforgettable experiences that allowed guests to learn about and contribute to sea turtle conservation:

  • Turtle Discovery Excursion: Witnessing the magic of turtles in their natural habitat through a guided snorkelling adventure.
  • “Turtle Tales”: Educational talks by marine biologists, demystifying the lives of sea turtles and the threats they face.
  • “Adopt-a-Turtle” Programme: An opportunity for guests to directly support AMC’s vital conservation efforts by symbolically adopting a turtle patient recovering at the centre

Amilla Maldives’ dedication to environmental responsibility extends far beyond World Turtle Day. The resort has implemented a series of ongoing initiatives that demonstrate their commitment to a sustainable future:

  • Harnessing the Power of the Sun: A significant investment in solar panel installation has drastically reduced the resort’s reliance on diesel fuel, minimising its carbon footprint.
  • Sustainable Amenities: Amilla Maldives has partnered with socially conscious brands to provide guests with refillable, eco-friendly toiletries packaged in PCR materials.
  • Combating Plastic Waste: The resort has replaced single-use plastic water bottles with reusable Rolla Bottles for all guests. Partnering with Rolla Bottle ensures that a portion of the proceeds goes towards funding ocean plastic pollution clean-up solutions.
  • Supporting Sustainable Fishing Practices: Amilla Maldives actively participates in the Blue Marine Foundation’s “Maldives Resilient Reefs” initiative. This program financially rewards local fishermen for adopting sustainable fishing practices that protect fragile coral reef ecosystems.

By choosing Amilla Maldives, travellers can indulge in luxurious comfort while contributing to vital marine conservation efforts. The resort offers a unique opportunity to combine an unforgettable vacation with the chance to make a positive impact on the environment. Let Amilla Maldives show you how luxury and sustainability can coexist beautifully.

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