THUNDERCATS: The absence of last year's top two crews, including reigning multiple champion duo Nick Routledge and Tony Aitkenhead, has provided a window of opportunity for others at the King of Coolum surf cross race.
About 10 Thundercat teams will compete in the fifth edition of the event at Coolum Beach this weekend, when a predicted swell of up to 1m should ensure there is plenty of thrills and spills.
Brothers Nathan and Jay Durston, who have won the state title for the past four years, are eager to make their presence felt.
"We've placed pretty well in every King Of Coolum event so far, but the Riley brothers (James and Charles) and current champs Nick and Tony have always managed to get the extra points on the day. With both of them not racing, it just might be our turn this year," Nathan said in an event press release. But Nathan, who is also the Brisbane Coast Thundercats president, is way of the likes of youngster Jesse Johnson.
"He's only competed in a handful of races so far but he's proven to be on the 'race pace' by always ending up at the pointy end of the leader board. He's very quick," he said.
Last year's winners are taking a rest from competition.
"Nick has raced for the majority of time the sport has been in the country, which is around 15 years, so I think he's earned the break," Nathan said.
"Multiple runners-up James and Charles Riley are out this year as well. It's definitely opened up the title to all-comers."
Thundercat racing features 4.1m inflatable catamaran-style surf boats that can reach speeds of up to 90km/hr and jump up to six metres in the air.
The event will be held between 9am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday.
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