Australian Josh Kerr won his second consecutive
Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions on Friday.
He and fellow Australian Joel Parkinson won the
single-fin and twin-fin divisions respectively to book their spots
in the Grand Final matchup, despite both earlier falling in the
semi-finals of the thruster division. The pair’s third and
deciding battle for the week lived up to the hype with the two
Championship Tour veterans going blow-for-blow in a gripping
encounter worthy of the occasion.
Parkinson kicked off proceedings with an 8.5 and
a 7.27 to take an early lead, but things were just getting
started. Kerr opened his account with a 7.17 and then a 9.33 to
move into the lead, before it quickly swung back to 2012 World
Champion Parkinson when he unleashed a series of trademark swoops
and vertical stabs up into the lip for a 9.17. Kerr was on the
wave behind, however, and pulled off the most incredible manoeuvre
ever witnessed at the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions
Trophy: an explosive grab rail reverse (also known as a "club
sandwich") performed on an incredibly critical opening section of
the wave. The dynamic display netted 2001 World Airshow Champion
Kerr a near-perfect 9.93, and won him the event.
“I already had a couple of good scores,” said
Kerr (pictured) after his win, “so I decided to put everything I could into
my next wave and see if I couldn’t put the final nail in the
coffin. It was a steep, gnarly section, as I was bottom-turning I
was thinking to myself, ‘what are you doing?’ but went for it
anyway. Somehow I came out of it really clean and had the biggest
smile on my face for the rest of the wave, it was really cool.”
“Kerrzy went to town on me!” Parkinson said at
the presentation. “I thought I started really well, then next
thing you know I was on the ropes! Kerrzy had a 9.33 and nearly a
perfect 10, and even though I had a 9.17 of my own I was still
chasing a combination and pretty much packed it in and
headed back to the boat with four minutes to go. This week’s as
much about the beauty of the Maldives as the surf contest though,
and to get to share all of this with my family is really special.
Riding different boards was incredible too! I’ve been asked a lot
over my career and never been able to choose, but I’m pretty sure
now that my twin-fin is the board I’d ride for the rest of my life
if I had to pick one!”
In the final of the thruster division, 2019
Waterman Of The Year and Hawaiian Kai Lenny took out three-time
Championship Tour event winner Matt Wilkinson from Australia.
After non-stop waves saw Lenny and Wilkinson knock out Kerr and
Parkinson in the semi-finals, the ocean then went to sleep for the
thruster division’s decider. Famed for his big wave surfing and
multi-board heroics, it was an ecstatic Kai Lenny who claimed the
win with a 12.00 total after Wilkinson only caught one wave in the
encounter, a 6.33.
After Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) withdrew from the
event, Kerr and Wilkinson received first round walk-throughs
today. In the second of the three-man round one heats, Parkinson
and Kai Lenny defeated local wildcard Mohamed Fayaz, who went down
swinging and put on his best performance of the event.
“When I saw the roster for this event I wasn’t
sure if I’d be able to keep up,” said Lenny. “But, with each round
I got more confident, and come the thruster division I was
definitely feeling more comfortable. I was watching the rest of
the guys closely, and felt like I was improving with every wave.
I’ll definitely take some confidence from this win, especially in
really good waves up against a Championship Tour field."
Josh Kerr 19.26 defeated Joel Parkinson 17.67
Thruster Division Results
Kai Lenny (HAW)
2. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
3. Joel Parkinson
(AUS) equal with Josh Kerr (AUS)
5. Mohamed Fayaz (MDV)
2019 FS Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy
Josh Kerr (AUS) 2700 points
Parkinson (AUS) 2700 points
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 2500 points
Kai Lenny (HAW) 2500 points
Mohamed Fayaz (MDV) 2300 points