Duncan surfs to world title no.3

By GREG WHITE

FIFTEEN years after last claiming the crown, Emerald Beach's Rees Duncan has captured his third World Waveski open title.

Duncan first won the open title as a 16-year- old junior and is renowned for being the first and only person to win an open and junior event at the same World titles at 19 years of age.

Rather than slow down having reached his 30s, Duncan feels he's now at the peak of his career.

"Looking at the film footage the style has improved, I feel good within myself and believe I'm surfing better than ever," he said.

"At this stage injuries should be holding me back but things are great.

"Honestly, I believe I've got another six years' competition in me and I intend to defend the title to get within striking range of John Christenen, who's won the World title five times."

This latest championship now gives Duncan 11 majors in total, including seven national titles, his most recent coming in 2006.

Going into the event at Makarori Beach near Gisborne, New Zealand, Duncan was hailed as the one to beat along with defending champion, French professional surfer Matthew Babaritz.

"I had no problems in the run to the final and was very confident I could do it," Duncan said.

"The surf officials call the scores out so you know what you have to beat.

"When I was given an '8' for the first wave and a '7' for the second, I knew I'd made it but was a bit surprised it was so clear cut."

He believes the presentation of the event was close to the best he's seen.

"Organisers made a lot of effort with the opening and closing ceremonies and there was a fantastic cultural feel," Duncan remarked.

"The trophies looked very different but the fellow who made them explained the meaning behind them, so it was a special moment."

Duncan will attempt to win his eighth national open title at Wollongong from July 30 to equal the record, also held by John Christensen.

But today, he and brother Khane are heading overseas to make a movie.

"We're going to Mentowie Island near Sumatra for the great waves," he grinned.

"Gee, it's a tough life."



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