The decision to include the Coolangatta Gold as part of this summer's national ironman and ironwoman series has drawn a bumper field for the iconic event.
Sunday's gruelling endurance race is also the first event of the national series, as Surf Lifesaving Australia attempts to breath new life into the competition.
Defending Coolangatta Gold and ironwoman series champion Georgia Miller says the move is a big one for the sport and has changed the competitiveness of both the men's and women's fields.
"Last year there'd probably be five athletes you knew could take the title, whereas this year there's 20 girls or men on the line you know could take it," Miller told AAP.
"In that sense there's definitely more excitement around it and I know there'll be a lot more people coming down to watch it."
Miller only returned from South Africa on the weekend after helping Australia to victory in a tri-nation series against the hosts and New Zealand in Durban.
As well as jet lag, the Northcliffe club member has to overcome a field including her main rivals from last year's ironwoman series as well as returning three-time Coolangatta Gold winner Courtney Hancock.
"I know she's training phenomenally at the moment," Miller said of Hancock.
"Hopefully I'm in the mix and can get my series away to a good start but we'll see."
The absence of six-time winner Ali Day from the men's field means that event is also looking wide open.
Day has held a mortgage on the Gold, winning the past four years, but without him there others such as former runner-up Matt Bevilacqua, Cory Taylor and returning veteran Matt Poole are all a chance of claiming the title.
Danish lifeguard Michael Iwersen will also be hoping months of training in freezing waters off his homeland pay off in the Gold Coast sunshine as the first competitor from his nation to take on the 41.8km course.
Australian Associated Press