Sun, surfers and Four Seasons luxury—doesn’t get much better than that, mate. And all those ingredients came together at the inaugural Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy.
The week-long event was organized in conjunction with luxury surf pioneers, Tropicsurf of Noosa, Australia. The event took place at the world-class break Sultan’s Point, located just off Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa. The overall winner was Australian 1999 World Champion, Mark Occhilupo from Tweeds Head, NSW, who won all three divisions of Single Fin, Twin Fin and Thrusters, before defeating world longboard champion Josh Constable of Noosa, QLD, in the Grand Champions Final to take home $19,000 of the $25,000 USD on the line.
The President of the Maldives, His Excellency Mohamed Nasheed, and members of his cabinet watched the Grand Champions Final from the three-deck, 39-metre Four Seasons Explorer luxury catamaran, the Maldives ultimate surf vessel. The surfers certainly made the most of the five-star resort facilities. “Personally I would like to congratulate Four Seasons on winning the award for best resort in the world and I can vouch that’s true,” said Occhilupo. “It’s been an amazing time here. Sanjiv (Hulugalle) and all his staff have been incredible to us.”
Occy dedicated his win to the late Tony Hussein Hinde (1953-2008), an Australian-born Maldivian surfing pioneer considered to be “the father of surfing in the Maldives”, who looked after Occhilupo on his first visit to the island nation over a decade ago. He celebrated by dancing with the President to the sounds of the traditional Maldivian Bodu Beru drummers.
The other four contestants, all Australians, included five-time world champion Mark Richards of Newcastle; seven-time world champion Layne Beachley of Manly; six-time world champion Nat Young of Town, and two-time world champion Damien Hardman of Narrabeen, NSW.