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Wavefest champion Reuben Lemmes returns to Great Southern to defend title as big swells expected for surf comp

Harry GrigsonAlbany Advertiser
2023 Wavefest winners show off their prizes.
Camera Icon2023 Wavefest winners show off their prizes. Credit: Albany Boardriders Club/RegionalHUB

Defending Wavefest open men’s champion and Margaret River product Reuben Lemmes will be back to try to retain his crown when surfers tackle strong Great Southern swells this weekend.

More than 50 surfers will run into an estimated 3m-high swell at Parry Beach, about 80km west of Albany, with the men’s open division set to be contested by 24 competitors.

The Albany Boardriders’ annual competition will also consist of an over-35 men’s, over-45 men’s, open women’s and over 30s women’s, with each having eight entrants.

The men’s open category will feature six initial heats, followed by three second-round heats, then two semifinals and a four-man final round while all other divisions will commence with four heats leading directly to the finals.

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While the tournament is usually held over two days of the June long weekend, Albany Boardriders competition director Dave Beeck said they would make their decision on conditions if this year’s event is one or two days.

“They’re forecasting 3m swells which is great but there is also a fair bit of (bad) weather around on the weekend,” he said.

“It will be a north-westerly, which is good but we won’t make our decision until the last minute.

“We usually host the event over two days, but because of all this weather around, we may have to condense it all into the Saturday — we won’t make the call until later.”

Winners of each division will take home the traditional wooden fin trophy and a Ripcurl wetsuit while Hilzeez and Big Drop Surf Shop vouchers are among a host of other prizes up for grabs.

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