THE World Surf League (WSL) organisers were at Merewether at dawn on Monday to see if the Newcastle Cup could resume or if they had to hold off for a bigger swell forecast for later in the week.
The word yesterday from the WSL and from knowledgeable surf forecasters was that Monday was likely to be another lay-day, a suspicion proven by "super flat" waves as day broke.
While this run of lay-days on the Easter long weekend is frustrating for would-be spectators - and, we imagine, for the state government tourism body Destination NSW and the City of Newcastle - that's the reason that Championship tour (CT) events run with the length of competition "windows" that they do.
It waits for good waves.
The WSL says it can run the contest in fewer than five days, meaning organisers could theoretically wait until Thursday and still have finals day on the last day of the window, Sunday, April 11.
"We've got the head of competition, Jessi Miley-Dyer, the head judge, Pritamo Ahrendt and the surfers' representative, Adrian Buchan," a WSL spokesperson said last night.
"They'll be looking at maps and the various forecasts, and what's in front of them when the sun comes up, to make a call at 7.15am."
Based on past experience, judges will sometimes put the contest on hold for as little as a few hours, waiting - for example - for a more favourable tide or an expected wind shift.
Buchan - known by his nickname of "Ace" - hails from the Central Coast and has plenty of local experience in these conditions.
The WSL staff are being helped by Merewether Surfboard Club's Jesse Adam, a veteran of more than a decade of Qualifying Series (QS) events and who knows the contest breaks as well as anyone.
Miley-Dyer, from Sydney, surfed the CT from 2006 to 2011 and won the QS in 2006, as well as a major event on the women's tour, at Maui in Hawaii, the same year.
Arendt has been head judge since the start of the 2018 season, having joined the CT judging panel in 1999.
In a WSL article announcing his appointment as head judge, Arendt said: "It has been a privilege to watch the highest level of surfing and to critically analyse it.
"I am excited for this opportunity to oversee the panel and ensure the judging is fair and consistent, while also adapting as the world's best surfers break down new performance barriers."
The Herald's Beachwatch correspondent Dave Anderson sees east to south-east swell of under one metre, and north to nor-westerly winds swinging onshore in the afternoon.
All eyes will be on the long-range maps, for better contest conditions.
In its wrap of the opening day's surfing last Thursday, the WSL pointed to "the boundless" energy of defending world champ Italo Ferreira, who caught "17 waves in his heat, all of them bangers, including a huge straight air right into the shorebreak".
The WSL also praised Stephanie Gilmore, who posted one of the highest combined heat totals of day one,showing her "smooth style translates just as well to smaller waves" as it does on the Gold Coast point breaks where "it's often on display".
As you will see, Newcastle's Shane Blue and his Novocastrian Waves surfing site has clips of both surfers, and we also bring you some footage from the sneak visit of Gabriel Medina, along with a few of his tour buddies, to Catherine Hill Bay. Thanks to Catherine Hill Bay Boardriders
SUBSCRIBE FOR OUR NEWCASTLE CUP COVERAGE
It's less than a cup of coffee a week. $19.50 a month ($4.50 a week) $187.20 annually upfront ($3.60 a week). Hit the red SUBSCRIBE button on your screen.
IN THE NEWS:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: