seven months later, placing 5th in the 2004 NSSA nationals (winning it the following year).
A truly inspirational soul surfer, Bethany’s career highlights include: Hawaiian State Champion, T&C Pipeline Women’s Pro winner (2007), Surf n Sea Pipeline Women’s Pro winner (2014), and 3rd place at this year’s Fiji Women’s Pro. Hamilton’s competitive prowess coupled with her strong passion for surfing.
[caption id="attachment_19689" align="alignright" width="2048"] Caption: Bethany Hamilton on her way to a 3rd place finish at the 2016 Fiji Pro CT event as a wildcard: WSL/Sloane[/caption]
“I’m so excited to have fun surfing with the boys in the Maldives’ pristine waves,” Hamilton said. “It’ll be fun and interesting competing on twin and single fin boards. I’m Looking forward to a cruise time with my family and enjoying our time in paradise.”
Considered one of the smoothest surfers of his generation, Californian Rob Machado is an iconic soul surfer, spending over the last decade travelling the world surfing the most perfect waves he can find, usually on different and experimental equipment. Some people forget however that through the nineties, Machado was a solid fixture in the WSL CT top 10, even making it to World No. 2 in 1995 and was seen as a formidable opponent by his fellow competitors.
Machado’s ability on boards of all shapes and sizes will see him as a major threat when competition gets underway at the 2016 Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy.
“I’ve always been a massive fan of this event,” Machado said. “Having the three different board types in one event is a really cool concept – it just sounds like an amazing event in an amazing location.”
[caption id="attachment_19690" align="alignright" width="3888"] Caption: Rob Machado can thread a tube better than most: WSL/Cestari[/caption]
Event coordinator, Mark Winson of Tropicsurf, predicts the most exciting year yet with this incredible and diverse line-up of competitors.
“There’s no guessing which way this will go, and that’s what makes it so exciting,” Winson said. “Spectators are in for an electrifying show of surfing skills.”
For the first time in the event’s history a local wildcard will go head to head with the world’s best in the main event. Hussain ‘Iboo’ Areef is widely recognised as Maldives’ national surfing hero. The reigning Domestic Champions Trophy winner and successful Maldives Open campaigner will be a legitimate threat on the world stage of the Champions Trophy.
“I am honoured to have this opportunity to surf in the Four Seasons Champions Trophy this year”, Areef said. “I am so stoked to be able to surf with my heroes. Thank you Four Seasons for giving a Maldivian a chance to participate in this event. I’m really looking forward to it”
[caption id="attachment_19691" align="alignright" width="1181"] Caption: Hussain ‘Iboo’ Areef will be one to watch for on his home turf against some of the best surfers on the planet: Four Seasons Maldives[/caption]
Equally as exciting is the announcement that the upcoming Maldives Open surfing event will be used as the selection competition to determine the highest placed local surfer for future Champion Trophy’s. Mark Winson of Tropicsurf sees this as one of the most thrilling evolutions of the Champions Trophy.
“There is so much surfing talent here in the Maldives and the Maldives Open is widely regarded as the highest level of domestic competition in the country, Winson said. “It’s the perfect opportunity for local surfers to earn unequalled bragging rights, a share of US$25k prize money, and the Champions Trophy. I’m sure that Iboo and surfers just like him will be real contenders in this event for years to come”
Maldives Open contest organiser and president of the MBBA Fuku Areef explains that;
“Local surfers are really excited to see one of our own go head to head with the world’s best. It’s a tremendous opportunity for Iboo on the world stage and we’re confident that he will do really well. Furthermore, to now have the Maldives Open as the qualification event for future Champions Trophy’s is a great opportunity for any Maldivian surfer to put themselves up against the likes of surfers like Shane Dorian or Taj Burrow. That’s such a great step forward for local surfers and the Champions Trophy concept”
The 2016 Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy will run from August 8-14. For more information head to www.WorldSurfLeague.com, ww