Championship tour rookie Morgan Cibilic is in doubt for the return of World Surf League competition because of a perforated eardrum.
The 20-year-old, who has been back living in Newcastle for the past two months, was scheduled to take on Merewether clubmate Ryan Callinan and Matthew McGillivray in an all CT-round one heat of the the Tweed Coast Pro, possibly from Sunday.
The event starts the Australian Grand Slam of Surfing, which is part of the WSL Countdown leading into the potential return of tour competition after the COVID-19 shutdown.
Merewether's Philippa Anderson has gained an invite into the women's event as one of the top qualifying series surfers.
Cibilic said he was hurt two weeks ago surfing at Bar Beach and the injury usually needed four to six weeks of recovery.
"I jumped off a wave and slapped the water really hard with the side of my head," Cibilic said. "I'm going to see the specialist Thursday about whether I'm going to do the event."
Cibilic may instead return at the Gold Coast Pro at South Stradbroke Island, which will require a 14-day isolation in a Tweed Coast bubble to cross the Queensland border.
The injury has been a setback in an otherwise exciting time for Cibilic, who starred in the movie Postcards From Morgs released last month featuring Mick Fanning.
"I'm so happy," he said. "And it was pretty fun to make, so that's always a plus."
"It was pretty cool to be hanging out with Mick and Owen [Wright] and those boys, surfing with them and that, it was pretty mental."