11x World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) won the 2022 Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy at Kuda Huraa, winning against Rob Machado (USA) and Taylor Knox (USA) in Round One. Slater then went on to match up against local wildcard and Maldives Surfing Champion Hussain “Iboo” Areef (MDV) in the first Semifinal, and advanced to the Final Round.
“I am very honoured and very happy to have surfed these past few days,” said Iboo. “These guys are legends, they are the people I watched when I was learning to surf. They had a big impact on my surfing career. That last heat with Kelly was probably the best heat of my life. I never thought in my dreams that I would be surfing against him, man-on-man. He’s hard to beat, he’s the best in the world! I don’t think I’ll get to see anyone else like him in my lifetime, so this has been an amazing opportunity.”
Slater then went on to compete against Rob Machado (USA) in the Thruster Division Final, where he scored a 9.33, the highest wave score of the event, in the dying minutes of the heat. This solidified his second victory of the event, making him not only the Single-Fin Winner but now also the Thruster Champion.
“This whole event has been so fun, it’s been really relaxed with the guys,” said Slater. “To have this crew together has been really enjoyable, and Iboo has been a great addition. I’ve never met him before, but he’s had a smile on his face the whole time – it was so nice to get to know him and surf with him. He said he was really stoked to surf a heat with me today, and I was really happy to surf with him too. He’s just a really good dude.”
Following the Thruster Division Final, the two surfers with the most points accumulated throughout the event were set to surf in the Grand Final. Slater and Shane Dorian (HAW), who have been the most consistent surfers over each division, were the Finalists. The two have been going head-to-head throughout the event, Dorian with two-out-of-three heat wins against Slater.
The 2022 Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy is a luxury surfing event like no other, and the iconic lineup of Momentum Generation surfers (Kelly Slater, Taylor Knox, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian and Ross Williams), along with local wildcard Hussain “Iboo” Areef, have made this year one for the history books.
Thruster Division Results:
Kelly Slater (USA) – 1st
Rob Machado (USA) – 2nd
Shane Dorian (USA) – 3rd
Hussain “Iboo” Areef (MDV) – 3rd
Ross Williams (USA) – 5th
Taylor Knox (USA) – 5th