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Joel Parkinson opens Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy in style



The Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy kicked off in fine fashion at flawless four-foot Sultans this morning, with single-fin surfboards the order of the day at the world’s most luxurious surfing event. “Look at this, it’s incredible!” said Adriano de Souza as he saw the empty lineup for the first time. “Just to be in this contest is a blessing, but with waves like this too? Wow!”

At day’s end 2015 world champion De Souza finished runner-up in the single fin division to 2012 world champ Joel Parkinson, who as a previous Surfing Champions Trophy competitor looked comfortable both at Sultans, and with the format. The Surfing Champions Trophy sees competitors battle it out in single fin, twin fin and thruster divisions. Start times are staggered from oldest to youngest and in 2023 Joel Parkinson will surf 31-minute heats while Adriano de Souza will enter the water at the 28-minute mark, Mason Ho a minute later, Coco Ho and Hood Ahmed a minute after that, while Conner Coffin joins the field at the 25-minute mark.

“Today was firing!” said Parkinson. “It’s amazing to be back here. I feel like I’ve put a lot of time into my single fin surfing these past few years. Hopefully I can be as competitive in the next rounds but once the boards get a little more high-performance I think my surfing might get left behind.”

De Souza started the day with a win over Hawaiian surfer Coco Ho and local wildcard Hood “Hoobs” Ahmed, who unlocked plenty of opportunities on his backhand. While De Souza needed the first half of his first heat to adjust to his equipment, once things clicked he engaged contest animal mode, finding barrels and aggressively attacking the lip to comfortably advance with a 15.50 two wave total.

Ho quickly found her groove atop an XOCOCO single-fin, one of many offerings from the new surfboard brand she has founded with shaper Matt Parker. “It’s about time surfboards were designed for women,”

said Ho, “and that doesn’t just mean ‘shrink it and pink it’, that means making boards that actually work.” Ho’s words rang true, the tubes she weaved through the course of the rounds the ultimate proof of concept.

In the second heat of the day Parkinson came up against Ho’s brother, renowned Hawaiian freesurfer Mason Ho, and Californian style master Conner Coffin, who only recently announced his retirement from WSL competition. “I’m new to this,” laughed Coffin, “so I thought I’d better get over here and let Joel show me how it’s done!”

Parkinson did just that, blazing through the opening rounds with a pair of eight-point rides to take the win. The Surfing Champions Trophy came alive at the 15-minute mark of the affair with a four-foot set broadsiding the Sultans reef and rousing the early morning crowd in the channel. Parkinson, already sitting on an 8.5 opener, pulled into a long, deep tube, backed up by a series of trademark carves on the first wave of the exchange. Coffin let his rails sing on the second, before Ho wrangled the foamball on the third. As the judges went to work another three waves turned inside out and spat into an empty channel. With minutes to go Mason found another gem, navigating a long tube to kick out in the channel with the 7.3 he needed to relegate Coffin to third place safely secured.

In the first semi-final Ho and De Souza went back and forth exchanging exquisitely ridden barrels and vicious carves from start to finish. While Ho threaded the best wave of the heat to lock in an eight after bowing to the Gods while kicking out, Adriano’s mixture of turns and tubes saw him advance with a pair of sevens.

The second semi saw Parkinson put on a tube riding clinic. The opener, a barrel sandwiched between trademark swoops earned him a 6.5 before Ho had entered the lineup. Once she did, Ho sat and played the waiting game while Parkinson went to work under priority, a 7.5 for a smaller yet hollower inside drainer putting plenty of pressure on the Hawaiian. Ho’s opener was a long, deep tube that she just missed the finish of, leaving a huge score behind as she got a little high and cartwheeled away.

Parkinson’s technical takeoff skills then earned him an 8.1 for a deep drainer that he threaded from the moment he found his feet. On the wave behind, with Parkinson looking straight into it, Ho again flew threw a huge tube, before again getting clamped.

The last set of the encounter saw Parkinson take off deep on a boat wake-ribbed wave, come from behind the peak and thread the pit to perfection. This resulted in the best wave score of the day, a 9.27, and a front row seat as Ho threw peace signs in the tube on the wave behind, her never-in-doubt exit earning her a 7.1 and plaudits from her opponent, and the channel. “I saw that barrel from the boat!” said de Souza, “It was insane, so good.”

In the all-world champion final, Parkinson (2012) took on De Souza (2012), though the three-minute head start for the elder statesman from Queensland amounted to nothing when the ocean went flat for the duration. After a slow start Parko got the ball rolling with a wider wave that didn’t look like much off the bat, but ended up a 6.43 as it grew down the line and let Parkinson sink his JS single fin into a series of strong turns. De Souza replied with a big set that offered no wall after an impressive drop, and he quickly aborted the mission to regain priority.

Parkinson took up residency on the wider peak while de Souza stationed himself at the top off the lineup. The contrasting tactics were on full display on the next set, de Souza taking off deep and reaping little reward, while Parkinson threaded a deep tube to perfection for a 9.07 and a handsome lead. With Adriano needing two fresh scores tube-pig Parkinson went to work burying his snout in every barrel that dared rear its head, occasionally paying a visit to the open face for a turn or two. Adriano found a late consolation 8.43, for a series of wild hacks, but to the victor go the spoils and Parkinson took out the single fin division to light up day one with his Cheshire Cat grin.

“A win is the best way to kick off the working vacation, isn’t it?” laughed Parkinson. “I’m really looking forward to enjoying the afternoon, and doing it all over again tomorrow. You beauty!”

The Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy runs from August 21-28. The forecast looks good for the rest of the week so stay tuned for more updates when competition resumes with the twin fin division.

Single Fin Division Results:

  1. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
  2. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
  3. Coco Ho (HAW) equal with Mason Ho (HAW)
  4. Conner Coffin (USA) equal with Hood Ahmed (MDV)

2023 FS Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy Leaderboard:

  1. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 1000pts
  2. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 900pts
  3. Coco Ho (HAW) 800pts
  4. Mason Ho (HAW) 800pts
  5. Hood Ahmed (MDV) 700pts
  6. Conner Coffin (USA) 700pts


Catch the wind with Kitesurfing World Champion Youri Zoon at COMO Cocoa Island



Embark on an exhilarating kitesurfing odyssey from May 6th to 20th, 2024, at COMO Cocoa Island alongside Youri Zoon, celebrated for seizing the kitesurfing world championship twice. Under his seasoned guidance, amplify your kitesurfing prowess, whether you’re a neophyte craving the fundamentals or a seasoned aficionado striving for intricate manoeuvres and airborne thrills.

Kitesurfing merges windsurfing, surfing, and wakeboarding for a dynamic water sport. Using controllable kites, riders harness wind power to glide across the ocean’s surface while being set against the backdrop of endless horizons and azure waters.

Throughout his residency, Zoon will conduct guided kitesurfing sessions, offering novices a gentle introduction to the sport or empowering veterans to elevate their abilities. Additionally, Zoon will host enlightening COMO Conversations, delving into his personal journey to kitesurfing eminence and the obstacles he surmounted along the way.

Guests may arrange activities with Zoon at their leisure, with plenty of time to make the most of our private island comforts, from massage treatments at COMO Shambhala to sandbank dinners under the stars and more.

Hailing from the Netherlands, Zoon’s affinity for kiteboarding burgeoned at the tender age of 13. A prodigious talent, he swiftly amassed accolades, securing victories at the Junior European Championships and Dutch Nationals in his inaugural year. Subsequently clinching the world title in 2011 and 2012, Zoon’s enduring passion for the sport fuels his ongoing commitment to mentorship and coaching, ensuring his legacy endures both on and off the water.

Nestled within South Male Atoll, COMO Cocoa Island beckons discerning travelers with its intimate enclave of 33 overwater villas. Renowned for its iconic Dhoni Water Villas, which pay homage to Maldivian maritime heritage, this idyllic retreat offers a sanctuary of tranquillity and indulgence. Accessible via a scenic 40-minute speedboat journey from Velana International Airport, COMO Cocoa Island promises an unrivalled blend of luxury and seclusion.

For details on COMO Hotels and Resorts or to plan your next escape, please visit

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Sheraton Maldives hosts successful second season of Full Moon Futsal Cup



Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa celebrated the culmination of the highly anticipated Full Moon Futsal Cup on March 31, 2024. The tournament, which commenced on March 17th, brought together 12 teams from neighboring resorts in Malé Atoll, fostering a spirit of friendly competition and camaraderie.

SO/ Maldives emerged victorious after a thrilling final match, securing the coveted title of Full Moon Futsal Cup Champions 2024. Mohamed El Aghoury, General Manager of Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, presented the winning team with the Championship trophy and gold medals during a closing ceremony. Additional prizes, medals, and certificates were awarded to recognize the exceptional talent displayed by all participants.

“We are honored to have hosted and participated in such a vibrant tournament,” Mohamed El Aghoury commented, reflecting on the event’s success. “The Full Moon Futsal Cup celebrates not only sportsmanship but also fosters strong bonds within the resort community.”

Throughout the tournament, all teams showcased exceptional skill, determination, and teamwork, captivating spectators and fellow competitors alike. Notably, Sheraton Maldives’ own associate teams, Team Sheraton and Team Furana FC, participated with commendable spirit.

This involvement aligns with Marriott International’s Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) initiative, which prioritizes fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel valued. The participation of the Young Professionals ARG team specifically exemplifies the group’s dedication to community building, skill development, and mentorship. The tournament provided a platform to spotlight the energy and potential of young professionals, promoting their growth and contributing to the organization’s future success.

Extending beyond a sporting event, the Full Moon Futsal Cup embodies the values of unity, friendship, and healthy competition. This aligns with Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa’s commitment to fostering community connections and Marriott International’s TakeCare philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of physical well-being among associates.

The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa extends its sincere gratitude to all participating teams, supporters, sponsors, and organizers who contributed to the resounding success of the Full Moon Futsal Cup 2024. The resort eagerly anticipates continuing this tradition of sporting excellence and camaraderie in the years to come.

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Dive into memorable underwater adventure with Baros Maldives’s Eco Explorer Experience



In today’s world, where the fragile balance of marine ecosystems teeters on the edge, to call for sustainable tourism practices resonates louder than ever. Baros Maldives, deeply rooted in its respect for nature, leads the way in conservation and preservation. Baros’s Eco Explorer Experience stands as a testament to the island’s commitment, inviting guests to not just observe but to actively contribute to the safeguarding of our underwater sanctuaries.

Nestled on a lush, natural island paradise, Baros is a sanctuary surrounded by a kaleidoscope of marine life, boasting a world-class house reef, celebrated for its unparalleled beauty and biodiversity, attracting adventurers and nature lovers alike.

The Eco Explorer Experience is a carefully curated immersive experience designed for those who seek to delve deeper into the mysteries of the ocean. This experience is more than an adventure; it’s a journey of discovery and contribution, offering intimate encounters with the marvels of the sea, all while promoting marine conservation.

With this experience, Baros guests enjoy a myriad of enriching activities, culminating in a bespoke photobook documenting the essence of their Eco Explorer journey beneath the waves.

Coral Restoration and Conservation: Participants will immerse themselves in coral ecology, by planting personal coral gardens under the guidance of Baros’s resident Marine Biologist. This hands -on experience not only fosters coral growth but also contributes to the restoration of these vital habitats. Through the Coral Cube initiative, guests will apply innovative techniques like using fast plug cement to build thriving underwater ecosystems. The Baros marine team will share bi-annual updates with the guests so that they can follow the growth of their corals.

Marine Life Identification: This educational session equips guests with the knowledge to identify different fish species and understand their vital roles within the marine ecosystem. Equipped with snorkelling gear and new insights, guests will explore Baros’s world- class house reef during a snorkelling tour, guided by the resident marine biologist, to witness the vibrant marine life.

Night Snorkelling and Bioluminescence: As night falls, the reef reveals a different kind of beauty. With UV lights, guests will explore this nocturnal wonderland, observing the reef’s inhabitants in a new light. This magical experience is not only enchanting but also educational, offering insights into coral health and the ecosystem’s delicate balance.

Baros recognises the fragility of the marine environment and is committed to fostering sustainable tourism practices. The Eco Explorer Experience is more than a holiday activity, it’s an invitation to become part of a larger movement, advocating for the protection and preservation of our marine environments.

Join the Baros marine team on this extraordinary journey. Together, dive deeper, explore further, and unveil the boundless wonders of the ocean, ensuring they remain vibrant for generations to come.

For bookings and more information, please visit or contact Baros directly at or call +960 664 26 72.

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