Hitting the waves

A WEEK of exciting action at Emerald Beach is due to start on Monday as more than 40 of the country's best waveski surfers hit the waves for the glory of being named 2006 national champion.

Local surfer Rees Duncan is a six-time Australian champion as well as a former world champion and he will be spending the week trying to defend his title on his own home break.

His main competition looks like it will come from younger brother Khane who is a two-time Australian champ himself.

As the number one ranked country in the world, the surfing is sure to give spectators a thrill and the competition should be fierce as surfers vie for a spot at the July world titles in South Africa.

Riding waves while seated on top of a board, the surfers are strapped on with a seatbelt, their feet held in by foot straps and a paddle is used to propel the surfer onto waves where they can do similar manoeuvres to stand up surfing.

The excitement of the sport is the extra power generated by the paddle which allows surfers to catch waves more often and easily.

The hot competition should be in the women's division when Melissa Hardy will be defending her title with a big challenge expected from Lisa Ryan who is coming back from a four year absence from competition but will be sure to call upon her experience gained from winning the world title five times.

The top 16 Australian surfers will be kicking the event off on Monday with two man heats with the finals due to be held on Saturday next weekend.

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