Neco Padaratz will bring the so-called Brazilian Storm to the Maldives in an attempt to emulate the stunning form of his compatriots on the WSL Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour. Meanwhile, two-time Longboard World Champion Harley Ingleby (AUS) and Surfing Champions Trophy veteran Tom Curren (USA) will also be vying for the title at the esteemed specialty surf event. They join defending champion, freesurfer Dave Rastovich (AUS), big-wave rider Shane Dorian (USA), and 2004 CT Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) in 2015's battle for surfing's most luxurious prize.
Hosted aboard the 39-meter Four Seasons Explorer catamaran and at the multi-award-winning Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, the champions-only event pits the world's finest surfers across three thrilling divisions in a unique showcase of skill and camaraderie. The World Surf League (WSL)-sanctioned specialty event is a spotlight occasion for the wave-rich country of the Maldives, and a sought-after invite for surfing's royalty each year.
Get to know the event's final three competitors:
Hailing from NSW's Coffs Coast, Ingleby began surfing at age four on a custom-built 5'6 single-fin longboard made by his Dad. He grew up experimenting with a variety of boards but his destiny was set; He joined the World Longboard Tour in 2005, came in third in his second year, and went on to win the title in 2009 and 2014. Passionate about surfing in all its guises, he takes a keen interest in board design -- a skill that will stand him in good stead for the development of the multi-discipline equipment used during the Champions Trophy. And having won his first WSL Longboard title in the Maldives, the country holds a special place in his heart. "I'm super excited to be going back there to surf this unique event," he said, "and to live it up at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa!"
Third time lucky? No stranger to the Champions Trophy -- and testament to the event's allure -- Curren is returning for the third time: He finished runner-up in 2012 to Damien Hardman and was pipped to the post by Taylor Knox in the nail-biting last minute of the 2013 Grand Final. The three-time World Champion is one of the sport's most revered icons, emulated the world over since the mid-'80s and lauded as one of Kelly Slater's only surf idols. With his name linked to some of surfing's greatest ever heats (think Bells Beach in the '85-86 WSL season) he brings style and soul as a matter of course.
"I have such amazing memories of Kuda Huraa and the Champions Trophy is an awesome surfing occasion, I didn't need any convincing to return," he comments. "The camaraderie on and off the waves has to be experienced to be believed." Meanwhile surfing enthusiasts and media commentators alike are eagerly awaiting the unprecedented showdown in style between Curren and Rastovich. Never before has the sport of surfing had a platform to showcase these two icons head-to-head in a heat.
Brazil's Padaratz is a seasoned professional. Turning pro at the age of 18 the two-time World Qualifying Series Champion boasts an amazing record of thirteen Qualifying Series victories, the most of any Brazilian surfer. Now, 20 years later, Padaratz remains inspired by his surfing successors of Adriano de Souza and Filipe Toledo who are No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, respectively. "I'm going to bring the 'Brazilian Storm' to the Maldives" he joked. "Actually I'm just so stoked to be sharing the Four Seasons Maldives experience with my wife, we're beside ourselves with excitement."
The Surfing Champions Trophy is organized in conjunction with luxury surf pioneers, Tropicsurf (the pros behind Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa's surf courses and trips) and run from the Four Seasons Explorer catamaran.
For more information visit: www.surfingchampionstrophy.com