Merewether powerhouse Jackson Baker maintained his perfect record in qualifying series contest finals with a dominant display to take out the Port Stephens Pro on Tuesday.
Baker defeated Jordan Lawler 16.7 to 14.3 in the decider at One Mile Beach to claim 1000 points towards his campaign to make the challenger series, which is the next step towards qualifying for the championship tour.
The 24-year-old, who in 2018 won 1000-point contests at Great Lakes and Tweet Coast, and a 1500-point event in South Africa, added to his unbeaten record in finals after a nail-biting run.
He defeated Dakoda Walters 15.95 to 15.5 in the quarters with a last-minute 6.6 when needing a 6.15. He then struck late with an 8.83 in his semi-final to beat Liam O'Brien 16.16 to 13.43.
However, in the final, Baker was never in trouble. He earned scores of 6.33, 5.83 and 8.33 with forehand attacks in the two-to-three foot conditions to rack up a best two-ride total of 14.66 before Lawler had even stood up on a wave.
Baker then added an 8.37 midway through the 30-minute final to leave Lawler with little chance.
The win followed a quarter-final effort at the 1000-point Great Lakes Pro last week to kick-off Baker's QS run for 2021. He was now 11th on the Australian/Oceania QS rankings, which take into account results from the 2020 season cut short by COVID-19.
Next he has the 1000-point Maroubra Pro from Friday and the 3000-point Central Coast Pro from March 2 before competing as a wildcard at the new CT event on his home break in April.
"Four wins from four finals feels pretty good," Baker said.
"It's been such a great couple of weeks to be back competing.
"I started working last year and got a dose of the real world so I feel really fortunate to be back in competitive surfing as I think everyone around here is.
"It's been a good start to the year and I hope to keep the momentum going especially ahead of my wildcard entry into the championship tour event at home in Newcastle. That's the main goal I'm working towards along with challenger series qualification."
Merewether clubmate and fellow Newcastle Pro wildcard, Philippa Anderson, also improved on her Great Lakes result at the Port Stephens event.
A semi-finalist at Great Lakes, Anderson made the women's final at One Mile Beach on Tuesday but was edged out by Kobie Enright 14.5 to 13.4.
Enright started with an 8.17 and backed it up with a 6.33 to control the decider early. Anderson posted an 8.37 to give herself a chance. She then earned a 5.03 to need a 6.13 late but she came up short.
She still rose to equal third in the Australian/Oceania QS rankings.
"My goal coming into this season was to finish every event on finals day and I've done that so far so I'm happy with that," Anderson said.
"I've had a third and a second, which means the next event should be a win so I'll work towards that."
"Now, we are off to Maroubra which is good. It's a place I'm familiar with, have had a win at and is similar to my home beach so am always confident heading there, so hopefully, I can make the final again and take the win."