13 September 2015 Hudhuranfushi, Maldives: The Maldives Open 2015 got off to an exciting start today in solid 4-6 foot world class waves, which pumped non-stop into Lohis Point, allowing the first rounds of the Men’s, Bodyboard, and Women’s Divisions to be completed by the time the sun started to set on the Adaaran Hudhuranfushi Resort in the scenic Maldives.
In the Men’s Open division, current ASC Men’s Open rankings leader Dede Suryana from Indonesia handily won his first round heat to secure his second round spot, saying “It was a bit of work out there, as there were some bombs coming through and you had to be in the right spot. But it was great to see those sets rolling through and get a couple of good ones…can’t wait til my next heat tomorrow!”
Also putting in impressive performances and high scores to advance were fellow Indonesian’s Made “Bol” Adi Putra, and defending Maldives Open champion Garut Widiarta, who posted the highest single wave score of 7.83 points (out of a possible 10). Yoni Klein from Israel put on a clinical backside attack with multiple under the lip hacks to earn the third highest single wave score of 7.00 points, though Indonesia’s Tipi Jabrik just slid past him to win the heat with his final wave.
In the Bodyboard division, last year’s Maldives Open bodyboarding champion Gavin Botha from South Africa convincingly won his first round heat with a combined heat score of 17.33 (out of a possible 20 points), dominating the heat over his fellow competitors the closest of which could only muster a two wave total of 7.50 points.
Last year’s runner up Ali Khushruwan from the Maldives also put on a great performance to win his heat, so expect to see him make another final’s appearance this year.
In a last minute decision, Contest Director Tipi Jabrik called the Women’s Division into action as the glassy and perfectly shaped waves rolling in late in the day were a dream come true for the female competitors. Current ASC Women’s ranking leader Nilbie Blancada narrowly squeaked by 13 year old Taina Izquierdo from Indonesia in the first heat of Round 1 by just .13 of a point.
Taina admitted to being a bit intimidated by the large waves, saying “I was a little nervous so I just sat out there for the first like 5 minutes or so. Then when I saw a wave that wasn’t so big I just took it and got my best score. After that I felt more confident and not so afraid I was going to get held down by a big wave. It was great!”
After the surfing action was called off, the official opening ceremony took place that included welcoming words by MBBA’s Mohamed Khushurwan, then short speeches by the ASC’s Tim Hain and Abulla Ziyath from the MMPRC along with local dancing and a press conference.
There were no eliminations today in any of the divisions, as there will be repecharge rounds tomorrow’s for today’s 3rd and 4th places finishers, giving them one more chance to advance.
Tomorrow will see the continuation of the Men’s Open action starting at 7:30 am. Meanwhile here are some of the best shots during the day one of the contest.
“The swell forecast is showing that we’ll continue to get great waves for the next couple of days, so we’re wanting to give the competitors as much time in the water as possible so they can fully enjoy this event,” said Contest Director Tipi Jabrik, “So we’ll look to be starting early tomorrow and all divisions will see action.”
The Maldives Open 2015 at Lohis Point will run from 13-16 September in cooperation with the Maldives Body Boarding Association and the Maldives Tourism Ministry as part of the Visit Maldives Year 2016 Campaign, sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships. This year’s event is hosted by the Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Resort and boasts a total prize purse of $15,000 USD in three divisions; Men’s Open, Women’s Open, and Body Boarding.
Lohis Point at the Adaaran Select Resort is a machine-like lefthand wave that peels perfectly down the reef for often hundreds of meters, and has been the site of WSL (ex -ASP) World Qualifying Series (the world’s top professional surfing organization) events in the past due to its quality, consistency, and accessibility.
Offering up barrel sections as well as steep wall sections for carves, lip hacks, and the occasional punt section, this wave allows the competitors to display their full repertoire of maneuvers during their heats. Stay tuned for photos, press and videos from this exciting event in one of the world’s most exotic surfing locations.
The Maldives Open 2015 is sponsored by Maldives-The Sunny Side of Life, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Resort, Sony Action Cam, Sea Gear, Kudo Surf, SriLankan Airlines, Coca-Cola, Dhiraagu, Public Service Media, Haveeru Online, PrintLab Creations, Event Maldives, Skullcandy, Tourist Police, MNDF Coast Guard, and Maldivian Red Crescent, and is part of the Visit Maldives Year 2016 Campaign.