NEWCASTLE'S Philippa Anderson has lost her round of 16 heat to world champ Carissa Moore who put on a master class of power surfing as the swell cleaned up and the wind dropped at Merewether early this afternoon.
Anderson caught a few mid-scoring waves but the heat was Moore's from the start, and she was never headed as she beat the Qualifying Series (QS) campaigner from Newcastle by 14.93 points to 8.34.
Anderson caught eight waves to Moore's seen but the Hawaiian's scores of 8.00 and 6.93 prevailed over Philippa's pair of 4.17s, which were her final two waves.
The commentators noted repeatedly that Moore was setting the pace among the women with huge power turns that threw more water than anyone else.
But Anderson put on a game performance - a wild-card entrant in a seeding system that makes it a herculean effort for the lower ranked surfers to proceed.
And she received a big reception from an enthusiastic home-town crowd at Merewether.
THE Rip Curl Newcastle Cup resumed this morning with variable surf that was far from classic Merewether but had size and shape enough for the contest officials to get things under way.
With two contests to get through - the men and women surf separately, but with the same elimination process leading to a two-surfer final - the World Surf League (WSL) needs to ensure it has enough waves and time to have the event wrapped by Sunday evening.
Today's surfing began with the men's elimination rounds, with Port Macquarie's Matt Banting, Culburra's Mikey Wright, South African Matthew McGilvray and Brazilian Jason Andre bowing out in the four three-surfer heats, in which the first two surfers progress to the next rounds.
In the men's that's the round of 32 and in the women's the round of 16.
In the women's two elimination heats, the losers were Malia Manuel of Hawaii and American Sage Erikson.
That second elimination heat provided the first upset of the day, with Australia's Macy Callaghan defeating Frenchwoman Johanne Defay, pushing world #5 Sage Erikson of the US out of the event.
Callaghan, daughter of former pro Gabe Calleghan, surfed her first CT in 2017, while Defay surfed her first event in 2012 and is one of the veterans of the tour.
The women's contest continued after the eliminations into the round of 16, featuring eight knockout heats.
Macy Callaghan's run ended in the first final 16 heats to Australian superstar Stephanie Gilmore, a seven-times world record holder and a danger in any competition she surfs in.
The WSL format scores the highest two waves - with a top score of 10 per wave - that a surfer scores in their heat, in these conditions being of 35 minutes each, with a water patrol of roving surf skis to get the surfers back out to the takeoff area rather than waste valuable heat time in paddling.
The second heat provided another big upset, with Aussie Isabella Nichols defeating world #3, Brazilian Tatiana Weston-Webb.
Nichols told commentators after her heat that she had no idea how she was going because her ears were blocked - "I think I've got surfer's ear" - and she could not hear the scores being relayed to the competitors by the beach public address system.
With Joe Turpel anchoring the commentary, and experts including Newcastle's Luke Egan and Gold Coast legend Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew adding their expertise alongside co-commentator, Aussie Ronnie Blakey, the beach-side spectators, as well as the WSL's online audience, were kept up to the mark about the action in the water.
Competition surfing involves tactics as well as pure ability and Brazilian Jason Andre provided a few minutes of drama in the fourth and final elimination heat when he left his two rivals, Italian Leonardo Fioravanti and Conner Coffin of the US, down at the main Merewether break and paddled north up the beach towards the next break at Pogos.
The contest operates with a priority system, that is based on when a surfer returns to the break to "claim" priority.
If they don't paddle for a wave, a rival can sneak "under" them, but in a three-person heat, the person with third priority can get desperate as the clock winds down to the 25 minute mark and the surfer is "chasing a score".
Short of a good wave and needing a score, Andre had hoped to get some waves to himself.
The big screens showed second placed Conner Coffin searching for Andre, wanting to keep an eye on him, and the commentators hailed it as an unusual - but potentially inspired - move by the Brazilian.
But it didn't work and Andre was bundled out.
Just after noon today, the third heat of the women's, Sally Fitzgibbon against Keely Andrew, was hit by a lull in the swell.
Rabbit described it as the first heat that didn't have surf: "it's actually been pretty consistent", he said.
Sally Fitzgibbon has won seven of the eight heats she's surfed against Andew but she was trailing for much of the heat and was eventually knocked out in what Rabbit described as "a very disappointing result for Sally, victim of a very slow heat and a sluggish start".
The women's fourth heat between Australian Tyler Wright and American Courtney Conlogue was under way as this went online at 1pm.
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