Mark Occhilupo: single fin warrior

Mark Occhilupo has triumphed in the Single Fin division of the Four Seasons Surfing Champions Trophy, at Sultan's Point, Maldives. The former world surfing champion from the Australian Gold Coast defeated Layne Beachley, in off-shore, one metre (2 -4ft) waves.

The opening day of the inaugural event, saw historic match-ups between six former world champions, who all drew clean lines across the reef break waves as they showcased the single fin surfing style of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Despite the nostalgia, passions ran high amongst the sensational six surfers who own an impressive 20 world titles between them. Occhilupo, 45, dominated the final with his trademark backhand top to bottom turns to leave seven-time world champion Beachley, 39, requiring a near perfect 9.57 on the final siren.

“I felt pressure for sure,” said Occhilupo. “Layne beat Damien (Hardman) in the semis and she was surfing great on that single fin. She got a couple of good waves in the final too, but I was lucky to get the better ones,” said Occhiupo.

The 1999 world champion, who travelled into the Maldives fresh from commentating at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, said the win capped off an incredible week of surfing.

“It really has been the best couple weeks I have ever had,” said Occhilupo. “My last surf before the Maldives was in 8 to 10ft Chopes. Then to come straight to the Maldives and win the single fin event when I haven’t surfed on a single fin in about 25 years is just incredible.

“I’m so stoked my shaper Jason Stephenson ‘JS’ shaped me a really good board. I’m ecstatic right now and feel primed to take out the entire event,” added Occhilupo.

Lone female competitor Beachley, proved she was not to be underestimated in the class field, finishing second overall and causing the elimination of two time world champion Hardman in a close fought semi-final.

“It was such a pleasure to be competing against my idols,” said a gracious Beachley. “The only female in an all male crew and to make the final against Occy was just awesome, he is one of my heroes.”

“I just hope Dooma (Damien Hardman) talks to me at dinner tonight,” joked Beachley. In the second semi Occhilupo eliminated 2006 world longboard champion Josh Constable, 30, after a tight tussle in a wave-challenged semi. Constable was holding priority in the dying minutes and only required an achievable six-point ride to advance, but poor positioning robbed him of the opportunity.

Four Seasons Surfing Champions Trophy Single Fin Division Results:
Final: Mark Occhiupo (Aus) 15.66 def Layne Beachley 11.67