OCCHILUPO CLAIMS TWO FROM TWO with a TWIN FIN WIN
President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed to Attend Tomorrow's Final Day
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa Named World’s No.1 Resort
Sultans, Kuda Huraa, Maldives, September 3rd, 2011: 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo (Tweed Heads, NSW, AUS) defeated an all-star field to claim consecutive wins in the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy by taking out the Twin Fin division staged in 4ft waves at Sultans Point, Maldives today. The 45 year-old, who also won the events Single Fin division, today defeated world long board champion Josh Constable (Noosa, Qld, AUS), 30, to take his second victory within a week after a five-year hiatus from the winner’s dais.
Following two lay-days in paradise, the competition resumed after an overnight increase in swell provided clean point waves for the six-world champion field. Fast and fluid performances over the turquoise waters of Sultans were on show all day with competitors taking full advantage of the skating action of their twin fin surfboards.
Occhilupo, who overcame a corked thigh sustained in the semis, used smart tactics and a blazing backhand attack to dominate the final from start to finish. The popular goofy footer locked in a pair of sevens early, with full top to bottom turns on the long right-handers, to leave Constable requiring an 8.73 on the siren.
“It feels great. I’m thoroughly enjoying competing again,” said Occhilupo, who has so far won $6000 in prize money, with another $17,000 up for grabs in tomorrow’s final day of competition.
“I haven’t won an event in five years. I thought my last win was in the tropics but it was actually in Margaret River in Western Australia. So to win two in a row feels fantastic.”
“I hurt my leg in the semi against Damien (Hardman). It was bad but I had to go straight back out there for the final. I’ll rest it up tonight and hopefully it's okay for tomorrow's Thruster division.”
In the final, Constable struggled to find any high scoring rides despite locking in the day's highest heat score of 17.00 points (out of a possible 20) in his semi-final against four-time world champion Mark Richards (Newcastle, NSW, AUS).
“Josh has shown some really good form over the tournament so I’m over the moon right now,” added Occhilupo
A versatile surfer, Constable managed to complete his rides with some big airs on the inside section that added to his already lethal repertoire of maneuvers and stopped Occhiupo from relaxing until the final siren.
“Occy is just the ultimate professional,” said a gracious Constable.
“He surfed amazing on the single fin and again today on the twin fin. He was just unstoppable and for me to sit out there and have a final with him was a dream come true,” added Constable.
Semi-final one, saw the tournament's youngest competitor, Constable, eliminate Richards, who surfed with his trademark, super-smooth classic 'MR' style. Fifty four year-old Richards is forever linked with the twin fin after modifying the design and winning four consecutive world titles with his twin setup from 1979 to 1982, and changing the direction of modern surfing to what it is today.
“It was a quantum leap forward in surfing at that time,” said Richards. “It allowed you to surf harder and more radical and it changed the sport to what it is today.”
The second semi-final was a battle of the goofy footers, between Occhilupo and two-time world champion Damien Hardman (Narrabeen, NSW, Aus). Hardman held a narrow lead for most of thirty-minute match-up before Occy turned up the heat using a radical airdrop floater to post a 9-point ride and advance.
“Occy and I were having flashbacks out there, we were both frothing,” said Hardman “The last heat I ever surfed on the ASP tour was against ‘Occy’ and he beat me then too. I can’t take a trick at the moment,” added Hardman.
Occy agreed that the semi was a tough one. “That match-up with Damien was really dramatic and I thought he had me. He was surfing fantastic today but I pulled out that nine and got the win.”
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa scooped the top award at the Conde Nast Traveller 14th annual Readers Travel Awards on August 31, 2011 - The Best of the Best in the World's Top 100. The surfers, partners and event crew have made the most of the five-star resort facilities over the past two lay-days.
“Personally I would like to congratulate Four Seasons on winning the award for best resort in the world and I can vouch that’s true. It’s been an amazing time here. Sanjiv (Hulugalle) and all his staff have been incredible to us, ” said Occhilupo.
The Four Seasons Explorer luxury catamaran once again proved the ideal venue for the Tropicsurf crew to co-ordinate the unique tournament from.
In a huge honour for the inaugural event the President of the Maldives, His Excellency Mohamed Nasheed, will attend the final day of competition tomorrow and present the Grand Champion trophy.
The Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy will crown its inaugural Grand Champion tomorrow as well as the Thruster Division Champion.
Four Seasons Resorts Maldives wish to thank its kind co-sponsors of the 2011 Surfing Champions Trophy: HSBC, Billabong, Wataniya Telecom Maldives, Surfing World and Singapore Airlines,
Further Information: Mandy McKinnon Email: mandy.mckinnon@bigpond,.com
Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy Twin Fin Results
FINAL: Mark Occhilupo 15.43 def Josh Constable 12.43
SF1 Josh Constable 17;00 def Mark Richards 14.17
SF2: Mark Occhilupo 16.47 def Damien Hardman 15.24
RD1 Ht1 Mark Richards 13.97: Mark Occhilupo 13.03; Nat Young 8.67
RD1 HT2: Damien Hardman 16.06; Josh Constable 16.03; Layne Beachley 11.37