Ryan Callinan has repeated his skins heroics of 2017 to put Merewether Surfboard Club into second place after day one of the Australian Boardriders Battle at Newcastle on Saturday.
The former championship tour competitor won three heats in a row, as he did in last year’s national final at Newcastle, to be the standout performer in the four-man heats, elimination format featuring each of the 24 clubs’ No.1 surfer.
Callinan posted high scores of 8.1, 7.5 and 8.5 in each contest to prevail.
Merewether also finished second to Elouera in their heat of the team’s division to progress to round two ahead of South Arm and Culburra.
“I’m really fired up for this year and kicking off the season with this event is perfect,” Callinan said.
“There is so much pressure to perform for your club so it’s no different to a big heat on the QS or in a CT. Having everyone here on the beach cheering makes it such a great atmosphere and definitely lifts you to perform.”
On Saturday morning, Frenchmans Boardriders Club again won the host region trials to get a spot in the contest but they lost James McMorland because of a shoulder dislocation he suffered on a wipeout.
They still finished second in their teams heat to progress and will meet Merewether, Elouera and defending champions and leaders Avoca at 11.30am on Sunday. Jackson Baker will surf in the skins round two for Merewether at 9am.
World champion Tyler Wright won her women’s division heat for Culburra before they bowed out of the crucial teams category.
“It’s such a great feeling representing not only your team but your hometown,” Wright said.
“This is such a great event to compete at and holds so much atmosphere with everyone cheering on the beach. It’s a great way to ease back into competition for the 2018 season but there is still a significant amount of pressure to perform.”
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