The past few days in Malé, Maldives have been a blast as competitors arrived and familiarized themselves with the wave known as Varunulaa Raalhugandu. The local wave riding community welcomed everyone with open arms.
On Wednesday night, a gathering of 86 athletes from 16 different nations, including the remarkable Maldivian local team, attended a registration and briefing event where the competitors registered and received their event kits. The technical director, Diogo Marques, and head judge, Francisco Garritano, were present.
Thursday afternoon, an impressive opening ceremony took place with speeches. Hassan Rasheed (AKA Rush), General Secretary of MBBA (Maldives Bodyboarding Association), extended his gratitude to the competitors for traveling halfway across the world to be here and compete in Maldives. Thayyib Mohamed, Managing Director of Visit Maldives, delivered an amazing inspirational speech, expressing pride in hosting Visit Maldives Pro 2023, the largest bodyboarding competition in Asia. Thayyib highlighted how bodyboarding and surfing have played a key role in making Maldives the world’s leading destination in recent years. He emphasized the commitment to strengthening the bodyboarding culture both locally and internationally, fostering local talents, and providing opportunities for them to shine on the global stage. Thayyib also thanked everyone involved in making the event a reality, especially the MBBA team and organizers. “This is going to be an incredible week of competition. The highest level of our sport will be performing right in front of all of us,” exclaimed IBC CEO, Glenn Cuevas, in his remarks.
The event was graced by the presence of the first lady of the Maldives, Fazna Ahmed. She expressed her love for the spirit of the IBC (International Bodyboarding Corporation) and delivered an ecological speech, urging competitors and supporters to make efforts in keeping the area clean and reducing single-use plastics.
The ceremony was further elevated by spectacular local music and dance performances. The event is scheduled to kick off on Saturday morning, promising an incredible week of competition at the highest level of the sport. Stay tuned for more excitement!
Photos by Pablo Jiménez and Jesús De León