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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Surfers to ride hurricane waves
Hurricane Gordon
Hurricane Gordon is expected to bring flooding to Britain
Surfers are gearing up for the first big wave contest in Cornwall as a hurricane tracking across the Atlantic creates a big swell.

Waves of 12ft (3.6m) high are expected in Newquay on Thursday as Hurricane Gordon moves towards Britain.

Parts of the UK face the threat of localised flooding and gusts of up to 75mph (120km/h) on Thursday and Friday.

The British Surfing Association (BSA) got special permission from the RNLI for the contest at Fistral Beach.

'Raise the bar'

Karen Walton, of the BSA said: "We've had the ambition of running a big wave short board competition in Britain for some time now and we've been patiently waiting for perfect surf to do it.

Mark Harris. Pic courtesy of Neil Harding
Mark Harris is one of the top surfers expected at Fistral
"Thursday is going to be as good as it gets and our 16 invited surfers will have a unique opportunity to illustrate that Britain can be a surfing nation to be reckoned with.

"This event will raise the bar of competitive surfing in this country and really prove which surfers can hold their own in the most challenging waves."

E-mails and texts have been sent to surfers in the contest with a 1,000 top prize.

Among those invited are Llewellyn Whittaker, former Welsh student champion Kieran Evans, former junior European champion Ben Baird, Mark Harris and two times European champion Grishka Roberts.

Hurricane Gordon, which passed Portugal's Azores Islands in mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, appears to have been losing power as it hits cooler waters.

However, winds of 40mph (65km/h) attributed to the tail-end of the hurricane led to a three-hour delay during a training session at golf's Ryder Cup, south west of Dublin.

Azores set for Hurricane Gordon
19 Sep 06 |  Europe
Animated guide: Hurricanes
01 Jun 05 |  Science/Nature

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