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Kitesurf World Championships in Portimão

THE BIGGEST names from the world of kitesurfing are in the Algarve to participate in the Portimão Kitesurf World Championships 2006, which is currently taking place at Restinga Beach in Alvor, whose calm waters are perfect for the freestyle event. The serious action is expected to take place this weekend, with the final on Sunday, June 18.

It is the first time that Portugal has hosted a stage of the world circuit, which passes through locations such as Belgium, Canada, Tarifa and Brazil. This is the third stage of the world circuit, attracting a number of the world’s best kitesurfers. All eyes are on Aaron Hadlow, the English 17-year-old who is the current leader in the 2006 rankings, with victories in the first two stages. The female world champion, Kristin Boese, is also the focus of attention, as she leads this year’s rankings with a 100 per cent record. The Portuguese are expected to turn out in force to cheer on Rui Meira, ranked in the world’s top 10 in 2005 and seeded seventh in the competition.

With a prize fund of 40,000 US dollars, organisers Gest Group emphasised the importance of developing this up-and-coming sport, which is becoming increasingly popular.