Wind conditions key for sailing comp

FINAL registration and early heats took place at the Australian wave sailing national championships in Ballina at the weekend.

Competition was on hold yesterday after persistent rain and unfavourable winds.

More than 40 sailors have converged for the week-long event at Flat Rock.

"We have a big window but we'd love some wind and waves in the next couple of days," contest director Martin Batstone said.

"There is only one Australian title each year and we have competitors from all over the country here.

"We probably need six to eight hours to run a full round and we're not sure how lucky we'll be with the conditions in the next few days."

There is an open division for professional wave sailors, masters, women, amateurs and a youth division.

Ballina's Paul Bellamy is among the favourites in the masters division.

"The open and masters guys take it very seriously," Batstone said.

"Some of the open guys are sponsored so there is a bit of pressure on them to do well.

"There is a world tour event in Maui (Hawaii) that is just finishing and some of these guys are coming back or aspiring to get to that level."

Tom Cohen is a member of the NSW Wave Sailing Association and has competed all over the world including places such as Cloudbreak in Fiji.

Most competitors are from NSW and Queensland.

Batstone expects the best conditions to be later in the week before the final day of competition on Saturday.

Spectators are welcome on the beach at any time during the competition.

Local sponsors are North Coast Holiday Parks, Fishy Fishy Lennox Hotel, and Northern Rivers Oral and Maxillo Facial Surgery.

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