What happens when you take a handful of the world's best surfers, put them on a tropical island, and ask them to surf on twin fins, single fins and thrusters -- all in one event? Welcome to the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy -- also known as the world's most luxurious surf event.
This time around, the contest pitted Ross Williams, CJ Hobgood, Taj Burrow Ismail Miglal, and Maya Gabeira against each other. But in the end it was Burrow who came out on top, for the second year running. In the grand finale, Burrow came up against an in-form Machado. The The latter had been looking dangerous all event, finishing first in the single fin division and second in the twin fin. It was Burrow's fast and critical surfing, however -- staples from his days on the Championship Tour -- that saw him take the overall win with a heat total of 16.73 (out of a possible 20).
"I'm so extremely excited, I'm just having the best time," Burrow said. "This is such an amazing event, I would have retired earlier if I knew this is what life would be like, it's too good. I'm so stoked I got to come back here after a win last year, we get so spoiled at the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and then to come just around the corner and have waves that are this good is such a treat, it's an incredible place. Winning again is really special to me."
For Hobgood, who finished runner-up in the thruster division, the real prize was simply in surfing perfect waves with a luxurious backdrop. "I can't believe I got to have this experience, it's definitely once in a lifetime," he said. "It was a shame I had such a bad heat in the Final but I'm not too disappointed. It's been great to see all of these old friends and hang out. Waking up in Kuda Huraa, the most perfect island and then cruising on a boat for two minutes and you have waves like this, is like a dream."