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2 0th April 2006

Fresh from retaining her national title a fortnight ago, star Kiwi wakeboarder Andrea Fountain takes on the world this weekend.

The high-flying 24-year-old is in Qatar for the first of four rounds in the World Wakeboard Cup series. It’s about 30deg in Qatar, where Fountain flew from hometown Auckland this week.

The water conditions will be much more buoyant than at home, because of the high salt content. That will test the competitors who have trained in freshwater lakes or rivers.

For the talented Fountain it’s the first stop on a hectic, six-month schedule across the northern hemisphere.

One of the first two athletes in the Pinnacle programme, the NeW Zealand sports mentor programme backed by Hyundai, Fountain takes to the water with great prospects.

At world level she is the defending WWC champion and after a knee injury concern at home this summer she bounced back to wrap up the New Zealand title at Lake Karapiro on 8 April.

“I felt good even though my two runs weren’t perfect,” commented the effervescent rider before she flew out of Auckland.

“I had one fall, but I bounced back to complete some of my best tricks.

“This is my sixth New Zealand title and it’s always important to me … in some ways there’s more pressure here in front of my home crowd than away on the world tour.”

But Fountain is under no illusions about the tough season ahead.

“The bar is raised every year, with girls training harder and devising new tricks. It won’t be easy, but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” she commented.

“Working with Pinnacle over the past month I’ve already been lifting my professional approach, and we’ll continue that over the next year as I build towards the 2007 world champs.”

As well as Pinnacle and Hyundai, she is supported by Liquid Force Wakeboards, Ballistics Wake + Snow, and Gallaz Footwear.