By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
WITH more than $20,000 in prizemoney on offer, entries have been flooding in from all over Australia for this weekend's Interstate Surfcraft Carnival at Park Beach.
Surf life savers from around the country will converge on Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club this weekend for an annual event, now in its 34th year, that is building up a reputation as one of the best carnivals of it's type in the country.
Carnival co-ordinator Tony Mutkins believes that this weekend is set to be the most successful in the carnival's history.
"It's shaping up to be a big weekend with some of the best in the business competing for a stake in the prize pool," he said.
"We have strong interest in the craft area this year with champions like Wes Berg, Hayley Bateup and the current iron woman champion Kirsty Harris from Northcliffe lining up to compete in the iron person, board and ski events."
In the surf boat arena, more than 170 surfboat crews will be battling it out for a share of the cash.
The Currumbin crew, who were winners of the Open men's surfboat division last year, are returning to Coffs Harbour to defend their title.
Having finished runners-up at the Australian titles, the boys from Currumbin will be entering this weekend as the red-hot favourites to claim back-to-back titles.
The current Australian champion crew from Avoca Beach will be working hard to confirm their dominance in the open women's while a lot of local interest will be focused on Woolgoolga's masters crew who will be working hard to win back their title after losing narrowly in 2006 to Wauchope.
Heats for the surfboat events are starting today at 8am with the finals being held tomorrow.
The craft area will also see some fierce competition in board, ski and iron person events, all of which being held today.
With a big field and many strong and talented athletes the weekend promises to be big with plenty of spectacular action for all to view along Park Beach.