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Show NewsSam Bleakley writes from Oxbow World Longboard final in the Maldives

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  Posted by Admin on Monday 26th October, 2009 @ 11:54 GMT
News Category: International Events & Comps | Visited 2356 times Bookmark and Share
Sam Bleakley (along with Ben Skinner) are currently on Chaaya Island in the Malidives competing in the Oxbow WLT second and final event of the season.
Sam took the time out before the event started to write this article, which describes the wave at 'Pasta Point' and also gives an insight into the plight of the Maldives with the ever-growing and real threat that climate change has to this paradise.

by Sam Bleakley Sunday 25th October 2009

At turquoise Pasta Point three foot lefts bend around Chaaya atoll, breaking like sheet glass, splintering to clear shards of water. On the paddle out you register that the water is so clear that it is hard to make out the curvature of the wave. The reefs below are thriving, a web of electricity
crackling just under the skin of the sea.

Waiting for sets outback are cranes fishing on the reef, a perfect model for patience. At the right moment you pounce – timing is everything. The crane dips through the giant, clear lens and spears the fish,compensating for refraction. You read the refraction of the waves and take off, instantly adapting and then improvising as if straight into a wailing jazz solo. The sun’s reflection blinds you, adding to the challenge. Your eyes become increasingly bloodshot, mirroring the rising sun that stains the horizon with newborn life, the totem of hope for the sun worshipping people called the Redin, who inhabited these atolls thousands of years ago. The beauty of nature can be literally overwhelming, as you visibly wilt in the hothouse heat.

At first sight the Maldives seems like paradise, but its future offers a gloomy prediction, a setting
sun rather than the dawn of the day. Quite simply, the atolls lie too low to deal with the one metre
of sea level rise predicted over the next century. The highest point of 2.3 metres is the ‘lowest
high point’ for any nation on Earth. This is the fragile and terrifying front line of climate change.
However, the new president, Mohamed ‘Anni’ Nasheed, is a visionary. Not only is he
environmentally enlightened, attempting to develop the first carbon-neutral country in the world,
but he is also campaigning to buy up land in India, Sri Lanka or Australia to build a new ‘Maldives’
to replace the old homeland when it disappears. The plan is to relocate the people of the
Maldives through careful use of the country’s tourism revenues, establishing a sovereign wealth

Anni is a remarkable, far-sighted leader who sees through the bend of the country’s horizon and
will leave a remarkable legacy if his plan comes to fruition. He is raising global awareness about
sea level rise through imaginative tactics, recently hosting an underwater cabinet meeting on
Girifushi, with ministers using air tanks and communicating through hand gestures! Anni is
educating for adaptability. The late Australian surfing legend Tony Hinde was also a master of
adaptability, imagination and foresight. He began surfing these atolls in the 1970s and
established the stunning resort at Pasta Point to share this slice of Maldivian magic. He
embraced Islam and initiated a new and open-minded era of luxury surf tourism in the Indian
Ocean based on immersion in the natural wonders.

Adaptability, imagination and foresight will also be the secret to surfing success at this final event of the Oxbow World Longboard Tour. “Adaptability is crucial to great surfing,” says the charismatic longboard icon Robert ‘Wingnut’ Weaver, who will be the event announcer.

Even at a predictable wave like Pasta Point, what the wild, unfurling body of the ocean offers is surprise, to which surfers must respond through improvisation and the ability to bend with that wave and see through the unseen. There will be little in the way of relaxation competing on this taut wave. It is like a stretched rubber band about to snap. The wave reels off as if gasping for breath and will force competitors to take big gulps of the warm air, releasing tensions with style and control through slingshot sections and swerving shoulders.

The winner will be reinventing what is possible on this wave, thinking anew, inscribing their spontaneity on the see-through faces. No straight lines, no room for squares, but plenty of acute rebounds to offer a new vocabulary of longboard flow that is the language of improvised music.

For more information, photos and live webcast log on: www.oxbowpro.com
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