Paul keen to defend his title

By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

ONE competitor who will feel completely at home contesting next month's Coconet Classic kiteboarding event is Gold Coast star Paul Jackson.

Jackson, who admits to being "20ish'' but also boasts 20 years' surfing experience, is the reigning champion after taking out last year's title at Tannum Sands beach.

Last year's win followed his runner-up finish at the 2004 Classic and Jackson hopes to maintain his proud record with another good performance this year.

"It would be nice to add to (my record) but there's a few young guys coming through the ranks,'' Jackson said yesterday. "I'll have to try to keep them in their place.''

Jackson first took up kiteboarding three years ago after becoming disillusioned with competing for waves with large numbers of fellow surfers.

It is a decision he does not regret.

"I took to it straight away, it's a lot better (than surfing),'' Jackson said.

Jackson said the Coconet Classic was "up there'' among the best kiteboarding events and with good prizemoney on offer, knows he will be up against some of the nation's best competitors.

The annual Coconet Classic, which is expected to feature about 150 kiteboarders from throughout Australia and overseas, could draw up to 4000 spectators to Tannum Sands beach during its four days.

Competitors will chase $10,000 prizemoney in eight event categories, getting under way on April 14 and concluding on April 17.



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