Standout at Surfing Champions Trophy
Greeted by flawless 3-foot waves at the right-hand reef break of Sultans, Bethany and her fellow competitors arrived on the beautiful Island of Kuda Huraa and hit the water for the first time in preparation for Day 1 of the 2016 Four Season Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy.
On her second time to the Maldives, as the lone female competitor, Bethany enjoyed the challenge of riding the different equipment required for the unique format of the Champions Trophy, which involves surfers competing on single-fins, twin-fins and thrusters over three separate competition days.
“My first surf was so fun – the conditions were perfect,” Hamilton said. “It’s been fun trying to figure out the different equipment and Sultans really is a perfect wave for trying different boards. It’s going to be really cool surfing with all these guys, I can’t wait.”
Her competitors included the legends of the sport: Taj Burrow (AUS), the eventual event champion; Rob Machado; Travis Logie; Shane Dorian, and Jamie O’Brien, along with local goofy-foot ripper Hussain ‘Iboo’ Areef.
“It’s been really cool to surf with Bethany; she is such an inspiration. I’m just loving it here,” said O’Brien.
Bethany was a standout performer on the twin fin. With only a couple of days practice under he belt on the unique craft, the Hawaiian goofyfoot looked like she was on a thruster going vertical turn after turn. It was not enough to progress to the semifinals though.
“This was my first time surfing a twin fin,” Bethany said. “It’s really fun. I like how you really have to draw out your turns. Surfing with all of these guys is so amazing. It’s just fun to be in the water with them. It gets me excited to surf and pushes me. I’m not in it to take them down, but it would be cool to make a heat against them.”
On the event layday, Bethany and Adam enjoyed not only the waves, but some of the other activities on offer at the Four Seasons Maldives Kuda Huraa.
The thruster division rounded out the competition on the final day. Hands down the most impressive performance went to Bethany Hamilton of Hawaii. In the unique format, Hamilton was the only competing female. Hamilton posted an excellent 8.63 and had her male opponents on the ropes. The inspirational goofy-foot was unable to find a back-up score and finished 6th overall at the event.
“That wave was so perfect – one of the ones you really look for,” Hamilton said. “It’s been so good to be here with my family and surfing with the guys. Seeing Rob and his style is just amazing. It’s been a really awesome event.”
“This has been unreal,” Machado said. “That heat was sick, Bethany blew me away, her surfing is incredible. Everyone at this contest rips so hard, once you’re off tour it’s rare to be around people who surf at this level, it’s so cool to see, especially making everyone surf single and twin fin boards. I came to the Maldives years ago and it was a real mission getting around to waves but this trip has been amazing; Kuda Huraa is so close to all these waves it’s been so incredible.”
“This is one of the best events I have ever competed in,” Logie said. “The vibe is really cool and the waves have been pumping the whole time. …I think Bethany Hamilton is the best surfer in the world, I’ve always had respect for her but seeing her surf this week was incredible.”
Learn more about the event, the results, and the stories at www.surfingchampionstrophy.com