Kuda Huraa, Maldives – Former three-time, ASP world surfing champion Tom Curren (USA), 49, defeated Pedro Henrique (BRZ), 31, to win the Single Fin Division of the Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy at the third annual event at Sultan’s Point today.
Boasting an incredible 15 world titles amongst the six competitors, the performance level was top flight from the opening round through to the final with defending event champion Damien Hardman (Aus), Layne Beachley (Aus), Tom Carrroll (Aus) and Taylor Knox (USA) all included in the invitational line-up.
In a day harkening back the ‘70s era when single-fins ruled, flow and traditional full-rail power surfing proved key in the challenging 1.5 metre waves. Curren, the world’s most respected surfer for over two decades in the ‘80’s and 90’s, used superior wave selection and strategic control of the priority to dominate the final against Henrique.
The style master out-surfed and out-smarted his opponents to claim the first of the events three divisions and claim USD4000 of the total USD25000 prize pool.
“I’m very happy with that result”, said an understated Curren. “Priority was absolutely vital out there because about one tenth of the waves that came through were actually scoring ones, so I was really concentrating on strategic surfing against those guys today. I realized I had to get the best waves and it worked,” added Curren.
Former world junior champion Henrique, the youngest and least known of the elite field proved lethal all day, eliminating defending event champion Hardman (Aus) from the semi-finals. “Conditions were hard out there, the wind was strong and you needed to find the right waves,” said former Rio de Janeiro local Henrique, who is now based in Portugal with his family. I was just happy to be in the final against Tom, it was amazing. He is such a legend,” added Henrique.
Semifinal one saw California’s Taylor Knox (USA) fall to his boyhood hero Curren in what was remarkably a rare matchup between the two longstanding friends and competitors.
Forty-two year-old Knox, who’s enjoying his first year of retirement after a 22-year career on the ASP World Tour, put in a solid effort, but came up just short in the end. “We were a bit wave starved there in the beginning,” said Knox. “We got a few in the end, but it’s all good. Anytime you get to surf against your hero it’s something special. I’m thrilled to have surfed against Tom. I base all my surfing off his surfing,” added Knox.
Lone female competitor and seven time world champion Beachley (Aus) and two-time world champion Carroll (Aus) both suffered poor starts to the event, losing in their opening heats.
A disappointed Beachley promised to rebound in the remaining two divisions of twin fin and the three-fin thruster. “I’m fired up to perform better,” said Beachley. “I had poor strategy heading into here having only surfed twice in a month but I am definitely refocusing for the remaining two divisions.”
Carroll suffered from inconsistent conditions in a day that saw all four seasons on show at the famed right hand point break with heavy scud showers, sunshine, off-shore and on-shore conditions forcing organizers to stop and start the event several times throughout the afternoon.
The tournament has a waiting period until September 2nd with conditions to be accessed for the twin fin division tomorrow morning at 8am.
SINGLE FIN DIVISION
TOM CURREN (USA) 14:00 Def. PEDRO HENRIQUE (BRZ) 7.50
TOM CURREN (USA) 15.70 Def. TAYLOR KNOX (USA) 12.23
PEDRO HENRIQUE (BRZ) 15.10 Def. DAMIEN HARDMAN (AUS)12.84