Ryan Callinan has launched his Newcastle Cup campaign with a dominant performance, winning his heat and posting the highest score of the round.
The hometown-favourite scored 15.26 from his two best waves to make a massive statement on the contest's opening day.
The seeding heat victory advanced Callinan straight to the round of 32.
Fellow Merewether surfers Morgan Cibilic and Jackson Baker also advanced, avoiding an elimination round.
On his first wave of the day, Callinan produced a powerful four-turn ride to score 7.33.
The impressive display won a roar of support from the crowd of mainly locals watching on.
He backed it up with a 4.00 a few minutes later but scored a huge 7.93 in the final 10 minutes to go well clear of competitors Leonardo Fioravanti (12.50) and Griffin Colapinto (8.53).
Jackson Baker and Morgan Cibilic also both finished second in their opening heats to avoid the elimination round.
Baker, who is competing in the championship tour contest as a wildcard, was second to reigning world champion Italo Ferreira with a two-wave score of 11.50
His 5.43 and 6.07 were enough to edge out fellow Aussie Jack Robinson.
Cibilic was quiet for much of his heat but surfed two solid waves in the last 10 minutes to move into second.
The 6.17 and 4.53 scores were enough to avoid the elimination round.
Filipe Toledo dominated the heat with multiple aerial spins.
READ MORE: Full coverage of the Newcastle Cup
Cibilic, who is in his first full year on the CT, said he changed his approach after watching the Brazilian.
"I was stressing so hard and Filipe kind of moved over to the middle [waves] so I thought I'd just go to rocks by myself and do what I know," he said.
"I surf that wave all the time, so I knew it pretty well.
"I just waited for an opportunity and got one."
Julian Wilson finished third in his heat with a score of 10.53, just short of Wade Carmichael's 10.60
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