If ever there were a surf contest built for retiring in the lap of luxury it’s the Surfing Champions Trophy, a three-division, invitation-only event held in the Maldives aboard the Four Seasons Explorer. You read all those pieces of the equation right; the Four Seasons; invitation only; retirement; the Maldives. It’s even officially branded as “The World’s Most Luxurious Surfing Event,” made up of predominantly retired CT competitors and packaged for surf fans as an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of surfing’s elite in an exotic destination.
Newly-retired Josh Kerr started this year’s Four Seasons off by winning the single-fin division, beating C.J. Hobgood in head-high waves at Sultans. And even though you’d expect a single-fin contest to call for some old school high lines and drawn out turns, Kerr actually stuck an air reverse in the final to best Hobgood.
“That wasn’t the best air but it did the job so I’ll take it,” Kerr said. “I’ve always thought about getting the call-up to this event, so to be here now is amazing and to win the single-fin is too good. I was most nervous about the single-fin because the waves were way bigger than what I thought my board could deal with but it turned on in the conditions perfectly. This has been such a blast from the past hanging out with all of these guys; we haven’t seen much of each other over the last few years so this has been such a fun catch-up. And we’re doing it here at literally the most luxurious surfing event in the world with our families – I feel so spoiled.”
One guy apparently didn’t get the memo, though — first off, that he’d be riding a single-fin to begin with and second, that “single-fin” didn’t necessarily mean surf like you jumped in a time machine back to the 70s.
“My career was spent surfing to criteria on a particular board so today I surfed to what I think the criteria on a single-fin should be and although I didn’t win I had so much fun,” said Freddy Patacchia after bowing out to Kerr in the semifinal. “These are the best waves I’ve surfed in ages so I’m so stoked.” Freddy P had actually surfed the contest on a borrowed board because he didn’t know to pack one for the Four Seasons. “I think I must have missed an email or something.”
Next up from the luxury resort/yacht: the twin fin division before the now-traditional thruster setups take center stage in the final competition of the event.