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Woods won last year's event and is also the joint Australian champion.
His main competition is expected to come from Taranaki's James Dinnis and Auckland's Anton Blijlevens.
In the women's competition, Annie Crombie, of Christchurch, has returned to defend her title and Queenstown's Sue Bradley also shapes as a strong contender.
The event has attracted 34 competitors. Racing will start at 10.30am each day providing the wind reaches the minimum 13 knots required.
The tournament will run for four days. Monday, February 9, has been set aside as a reserve day.
The slalom course is six 400m legs, with competitors rounding buoys.
The course takes about 5min and the windsurfers can compete in up to 40 races during the tournament.
Olympians Barbara Kendell and Tom Ashley both declined invitations to compete.