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4th Phuket Surfing Contest at Kata Yai beach

8 -10 September 2006 : The 4th Phuket Surfing Contest, the main annual event for local wave surfers, was held on Kata Yai beach over the weekend.



Jointly organized by the Karon Municipality, Kata Karon Hotel Business Association, and Love Kata-Karon Club, the event is aimed at promoting the water sports as well as spice up the islands tourism during the green or rainy season.

It was opened on Friday by the Phuket City District Chief Veerawut Chanpen but there was a lot of rain over the 3 days rather putting off the number of expected spectators, which disappointed the supporters like the T.A.T . There were also strong winds of up to 40 kilometres an hour, but the gusts broke up the top of some of the best waves that were reaching 3-4 metres in height. However in general the 120 surfers and the main organizers, Chanin Aiyrak, President of Phuket Boardriders Club and khun Jirasak Tanakittitham, Manager of the Kata Karon Hotel Business Association were happy with the conditions and support from sponsors:

The 8 judges came from the USA, UK, Australia and Thailand, and one of them Tom Fekete, originally from USA, now living here, told us how they judge the competitors:

There were different divisions like Short Boards of up to eight feet, and Long Boards over 8 feet, Groms or Beginners under 19 years old with the youngest competitor only 12, and lastly Open or the top division for men over 19 years old, with one competitor aged 56. We spoke to one of the younger Open finalists, Jimmy Smith, who is half Thai and half Kiwi or New Zealander, with his trusty short board beside him:

Despite Phuket not having the best conditions for year round or regular surfing, the competitors, judges, organizers and spectators enjoyed Kata Beachs waves at the best surfing location there is in Thailand plus the easy going atmosphere of friendly rivalry and relaxed rules of the Phuket Surfing Contest 2005, and were sure they will be back next year, riding out the waves, whether there is a tsunami or no tsunami.


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