In pulsing, overhead conditions at Sultans on Sunday, Australian Josh Kerr claimed Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy for the second year running.
He and fellow Australian Joel Parkinson won the single-fin and twin-fin divisions respectively to book their spots in the Grand Final matchup, despite both earlier falling in the semi-finals of the thruster division. The pair’s third and deciding battle for the week lived up to the hype with the two Championship Tour veterans going blow-for-blow in a gripping encounter worthy of the occasion.
Parkinson kicked off proceedings with an 8.5 and a 7.27 to take an early lead, but things were just getting started.
Kerr opened his account with a 7.17 and then a 9.33 to move into the lead, before it quickly swung back to 2012 World Champion Parkinson when he unleashed a series of trademark swoops and vertical stabs up into the lip for a 9.17. Kerr was on the wave behind, however, and pulled off the most incredible manoeuvre ever witnessed at the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy: an explosive grab rail reverse (also known as a Club Sandwich) performed on an incredibly critical opening section of the wave. The dynamic display netted 2001 World Airshow Champion Kerr a near-perfect 9.93, and won him the event.
“I already had a couple of good scores. So, I decided to put everything I could into my next wave and see if I couldn’t put the final nail in the coffin. It was a steep, gnarly section, as I was bottom-turning I was thinking to myself, ‘What are you doing?’ But went for it anyway. Somehow I came out of it really clean and had the biggest smile on my face for the rest of the wave, it was really cool,” said Kerr, after his win.
“Kerrzy went to town on me!” said Parkinson at the presentation.
“I thought I started really well, then next thing you know I was on the ropes! Kerrzy had a 9.33 and nearly a perfect 10, and even though I had a 9.17 of my own I was still chasing a combination and pretty much packed it in and headed back to the boat with four minutes to go. This week’s as much about the beauty of the Maldives as the surf contest though, and to get to share all of this with my family is really special. Riding different boards was incredible too! I’ve been asked a lot over my career and never been able to choose, but I’m pretty sure now that my twin-fin is the board I’d ride for the rest of my life if I had to pick one!”
“Obviously the prize money and the trophy are cool,” said Kerr.
“But getting to come back here to Four Seasons Maldives is the real reward. Today is my 13th wedding anniversary, lucky number 13, so that’s a great anniversary present for my wife, as well as having the kids here. I didn’t win too many events during my career, so it’s extra cool to win this in front of them.”
In the final of the thruster division, 2019 Waterman Of The Year, Hawaiian Kai Lenny, took out three-time Championship Tour event winner, Matt Wilkinson, from Australia.
“When I saw the roster for this event I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep up. But, with each round I got more confident, and come the thruster division I was definitely feeling more comfortable. I was watching the rest of the guys closely, and felt like I was improving with every wave. I’ll definitely take some confidence from this win, especially in really good waves up against a Championship Tour field,” said Lenny.
“I was blown away by how good the single and twin-fins were, they seemed magic! We were surfing some decent sized waves and I was doubtful, but the performance level was different, and there’s something really refreshing about the lines you have to draw. The Maldives are the ultimate playground, they offer every type of condition for every type of activity, and even when the surf is supposedly no good it’s still firing!”
After non-stop waves saw Lenny and Wilkinson knock out Kerr and Parkinson in the semi-finals, the ocean then went to sleep for the thruster division’s decider. Famed for his big wave surfing and multi-board heroics it was an ecstatic Kai Lenny who claimed the win with a 12.00 total after Wilkinson only caught one wave in the encounter, a 6.33.
“I really wanted to make the final today,” said Wilkinson.
“So was fired up for the semi-final with Joel. I’ve always loved surfing against him, so to beat him at a perfect right point is pretty nice! It was a pretty slow final and I didn’t get too many chances, but I’ve loved my week here in the Maldives and will go home with a lot of great memories.”
After Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) withdrew from the event, Kerr and Wilkinson received first round walk-throughs on Sunday. In the second of the three-man round one heats, Parkinson and Kai Lenny defeated local wildcard Mohamed Fayaz, who went down swinging and put on his best performance of the event.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Fayaz.
“This week has been so fun. I always used to watch these guys on tour and in all their movies, but this is the first time I’ve got to see them in real life and it’s just been so exciting.”
The Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy was hosted aboard Four Seasons Explorer – the Maldives’ ultimate surf vessel. Fans had the chance to get up close to the action with onboard VIP passes whilst the ‘surf tour’ experience continued with nightly events back at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, which played host to the contest’s competitors, judges and Tropicsurf partners.
Umair Badheeu sets new, national freediving record at AIDA Philippines National Championship
Maldivian freediver Umair Badheeu has achieved a new national record with a dive to a depth of 62 meters in the bi-fin category. His accomplishment was made possible with the support of Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels, a key sponsor and advocate for Umair’s pursuit of excellence in freediving.
Competing among 14 international participants, Umair’s performance not only secured a new national record but also surpassed his previous bi-fin category record of 60 meters by a margin of two meters.
Reflecting on the challenges of transitioning from his training in Egypt to competing in the Philippines, Umair said: “Adapting to reduced buoyancy due to warmer waters and encountering jellyfish were part of the new environment.”
This marks the third national record Umair has achieved. He previously set two national records of 62 and 64 meters in the free immersion category of free diving at the Andrea Zuccari World Cup held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in October. Free immersion freediving is a discipline that requires divers to descend and ascend pulling a rope.
Umair’s switch from training in free immersion in Egypt to the bi-fin category for this tournament demonstrated his adaptability: “It felt like shifting gears, utilising distinct techniques, and returning to a more familiar discipline. This dive marks a confident depth for me, focusing not just on depth but also on refining dive times for a more enjoyable experience,” he remarked.
“Kaimoo’s support has been instrumental, offering me the freedom to train. This support has allowed me to focus on honing my skills and achieving new heights in my freediving,” Umair added.
“Umair’s third record-breaking dive this year is a testament to his exceptional skill and determination. Kaimoo is thrilled to continue supporting Umair’s journey in the world of freediving. His achievements inspire us, and we congratulate him on this impressive feat, looking for-ward to his continued success,” said Mohamed Manih Ahmed, Kaimoo’s Managing Director.
With this record-breaking achievement, Umair now looks forward to a period of rest before gearing up for the upcoming freediving season.
Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels is a leading tourism company in the Maldives that manages five properties across the country. In addition to Embudu Village and Summer Island Maldives, Kaimoo also operates Equator Village in Addu Atoll, and the Mookai Hotel and Mookai Suites in Male’.
Kuramathi Maldives and Rasdhoo Divers dive into adventure with speciality courses
Kuramathi Maldives, in collaboration with Rasdhoo Divers, is elevating the underwater experience by offering a captivating range of Dive Speciality Courses, tailored for both novices and seasoned divers alike. These courses go beyond the ordinary, immersing participants in topics such as Perfect Buoyancy, Wave, Tides and Currents, Turtle Ecology, Manta Ecology, Marine Ecology, Deep Diver Speciality, and Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality.
Perfect Buoyancy: Master the art of achieving and maintaining perfect buoyancy underwater, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable diving experience.
Wave, Tides, and Currents: Dive enthusiasts can now confidently navigate ocean dynamics, enhancing their skills in diverse underwater conditions.
Turtle Ecology: Gain insights into the captivating world of sea turtles, understanding their behavior, and contributing to their conservation.
Manta Ecology: Delve into the mysterious realm of majestic mantas, exploring their habitat, behavior, and the crucial role they play in marine ecosystems.
Marine Ecology: Discover the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and learn how divers can contribute to their preservation through responsible and sustainable practices.
Deep Diver Speciality: Embark on a thrilling adventure below 18 meters, gaining advanced skills for deep-sea exploration and mastering safe diving techniques and pressure management.
Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality: Unlock the secrets of the deep with Nitrox, ensuring safer and longer dives. Enhance your dive planning, elevate safety, and indulge in extended reef adventures.
These Dive Speciality Courses at Kuramathi Maldives are designed not only to enhance participants’ diving skills but also to instill a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility. As custodians of the pristine underwater environment, Kuramathi Maldives is committed to nurturing a community of conscientious divers dedicated to appreciating and protecting delicate marine ecosystems.
Led by certified dive instructors from Rasdhoo Divers Kuramathi, these courses provide a safe and enjoyable learning experience. Whether you are a beginner eager to explore the underwater wonders or an experienced diver looking to expand your knowledge, Kuramathi Maldives invites you to embark on a journey of discovery beneath the azure waves.
Visit Maldives collaborates with Surf Session and Kyllian Guerin to promote the Maldives as a leading surf destination
Visit Maldives has collaborated with ‘Surf Session’, a media platform dedicated to surﬁng. An exciting familiarisation trip and a digital campaign was conducted to promote the Maldives as a leading surf destination in the French market. The digital campaign was conducted on social media and the Surf Session website.
During the ﬁrst part of the campaign, a young surfer, Kyllian Guerin, accompanied Surf Session on a week-long trip where he surfed and explored the best waves of the Maldives. Ayada Maldives, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi, and Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives hosted this familiarisation trip. Kyllians’ journey was captured and brand content in the form of Instagram stories, posts, articles and banners were disseminated on Kyllian Guerin and Surf Session social media platforms and oﬃcial website. As for the second part of the campaign, digital and print articles highlighted the surf lifestyle in the Maldives and were published on Surf Session website. Additionally, an exciting video of Kyllian’s journey in the Maldives was posted on YouTube, showcasing the beauty of the surf spots of the destination.
The campaign strengthened Maldives’ presence as a premium surf destination and drove excitement among Surf Session’s readership and surﬁng community. The campaign increased visibility for French surfers and further strengthened the Maldives brand in the French market. Collaborating with prestigious media like Surf Session and inﬂuential personalities like Kyllian Guerin allows MMPRC to capture the attention of potential surfers and travel enthusiasts alike, encouraging them to choose the Maldives as their preferred holiday destination. The entire campaign resulted in over a collective reach of 919,209.00.
The current ranking of France is at #8 with 41,072 arrivals as of 31st October 2023. MMPRC is consistently promoting the Maldives in the French market through various marketing activities. This year, we conducted a campaign with Vogue France and IFTM Top Resa 2023. We also plan to promote the Maldives at ILTM Cannes 2023 later this year. These marketing activities ensure the Maldives remain a top-of-mind destination for travellers from the French market.
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