A look inside the world’s most luxurious surf contest

This just shows how far professional surf contests have come.

Shane Dorian will return to the Maldives to defend his Four Seasons Championship title, at the most luxurious surf contest in the world. Photo: WSL.

Shane Dorian will return to the Maldives to defend his Four Seasons Championship title, at the most luxurious surf contest in the world. Photo: Courtesy of WSL

It’s known as “The world’s most luxurious surfing event.”

Next week (from Aug. 8-14), some of surfing’s most celebrated athletes will compete in the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy, a truly unique event, where surfers ride singlefins in the first round, twin fins in the second and thrusters in the third round with a $25,000 purse.

The surfers are also “handicapped” by age -- Older surfers get more time in the water.

The event is based at the Four Seasons Maldives Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, a garden island  surrounded by a crystal lagoon.

Guests stay in sprawling thatched-roof “bungalows” -- if that’s what you call a dwelling with a private glass-walled swimming pool, or a three-bedroom suite sitting on a dock in the cerulean Indian Ocean -- and enjoy a world-class spa.

There also happens to be six world-class eateries to choose from including meals in private gazebos. From there, the Four Seasons Explorer, a 129-foot luxury, live aboard catamaran takes surfers and spectators out to the two peeling reef breaks, Sultans and Honky’s.

Or if you’re really looking for some adventure, you can just hop on their seaplane and check out the other reefs in the region from above, pick one, and be back to enjoy the Tiger Prawn Seasoned with Shichimi Togarashi Pepper, Tomato and Bell Pepper Grilled Seafood Platter for lunch.

It wasn’t that long ago that traveling competitive surfers slept in their board bags.

And the hook of this event is always the impressive list of the invited surfers. Past invitees have included Curren, Occy, Layne Beachley, Dave Rastovich, Sunny Garcia and Taylor Knox.

This year, the invitees are Pipeline specialists Jamie O’Brien, former Championship Tour competitor Travis Logie, longtime tour legend Taj Burrow, the inspiring Bethany Hamilton, and California’s purveyor of style, Rob Machado.

The Four Seasons Maldives, home of the world's most luxurious surf event. Photo: Courtesy Four Seasons.

The Four Seasons Maldives, home of the world’s most luxurious surf event. Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons/maldiveskh

This year will also include Maldives local champion Hussain ‘Iboo’ Areef. Of course, 2015 champ, Hawaiian Shane Dorian will also be there to defend his title.

Just seven competitors. You don’t have to follow surfing too closely to know that this is a pretty star-studded field. In addition to the different fin set ups, the surfers are also ‘handicapped’ by age. Older surfers get more time in the water. 

Machado rides singles and twinnies all the time. But folks have to be curious to see how J.O.B. and Bethany handle equipment from the past. Last year, Shane Dorian lit it up on a twin fin.

“Lisa and I can't wait to return to the Maldives to enjoy the chilled out vibe of the Champions Trophy,” Dorian said of he and his wife, “It’s such a unique concept with fun waves and great company and definitely one of the highlights of our year.”

And if luxury surf packages are your style of travel, you can book a stay at the Four Seasons Maldives and score yourself.

Generally, summer and early fall are best for swell. Or if you really want to get some swanky swell, you can book the week of the Maldives Four Seasons Championship, get some VIP passes and ride the catamaran out to the action every day with Taj, Bethany, Shane and crew.

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