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Brazilian storm hits the Cold Water Invitational

Surfer being carried in glory
What a day we had at Marley's Cold Water Invitational! Strong winds, good vibes and better surfers!

Brazilian veteran Fernando wowed the crowd throughout the day with some of the leanest, cleanest and most graceful surfing seen on the Maltese islands. He seemed to dance his way through the competition heats, all the way to the top spot as his compatriots carried him around Marleys as our winter wonder!

The day started in a curious manner. The judges and crew from Malta Surf School got to the bay at 8.00 to find nothing but a flat sea, with little hope… and as the orange light dragged on, so did our hopes. 

But, the dragging hours gave the opportunity for the growing surfing community to chill out, skate, snap photos and stay dry in the sun. With smiles growing, so the swell responded too and finally, some waves broke… and fortunately kept growing in size.

The breakdown

Heat 1 finally got underway in tricky conditions as the first four brave guinea pigs kicked off the 2023 Cold Water Invitational at Marley’s. 

20 surfers competed in four initial heats, and two semi-finals, till three heroes scooped trophies in the final. 

20 surfers in total, 19 males and one lady, impressed judges with cuts, turns and even some attempted 180 landings… and wait, was that a semi-barrel we saw, or am I getting carried away here?

Bomba mag was on hand to judge each session, guided by International Surf Judge Mark Bencini together with Coen, Damian and competitor Hadrien.

We were treated, and luckily could escape the onshore winds and judge from the comfort of our jeeps.

The Final

Fernando’s heats scored ridiculous points and it was clear from the get-go that he would be the one to beat. He breezed through his heats and made it to the final alongside Frenchman Basile Rio, Brit Sky Howes and Laurie, who had this knack of executing perfect pop-ups on critical parts of each wave. She was unstoppable!

Sky’s final leg was not his finest and he saved his best wave for after the final horn sounded, sliding into the slipway like a boss… to no avail but for loud laughs from the excited crowd.

Laurie’s high-energy approach earned her huge applause throughout the whole day and an eventual third spot overall.

Basil was a powerhouse who chose quality over quantity as a tactic. He executed that strategy perfectly, landing second place behind fantastico Fernando.

Fernando, well mate, we’ve run out of superlatives. You showed those waves whose in charge, dominating the invitational from start to finish! What a delight it was to witness.

Of course, a special mention needs to be reserved for Valerio as his energy was dominant throughout the whole day, and he even got to compete in his own invitational, reaching the semi-final! Congratulations to the legends in the sea, grinning the cold and the thousands of jellyfish, you all rock! 

Now Cicco, read this bit carefully: When’s the next one?

PS check out Mia’s video here, and images below!


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What a day we had at Marley's Cold Water Invitational! Strong winds, good vibes and better surfers!