THE Newcastle Cup is on hold until 6.45am tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, as organisers react to a drop in the swell overnight to wait for expected bigger conditions.
A World Surf League spokesperson said that after a surf check early this morning, the officials decided there was still ample time to finish the contest in the allotted window, in confidence with what the weather map would bring.
The lay-day is a boon for Merewether's Morgan Cibilic, who revealed last night that he was dealing with an injured foot from a surfing accident on Monday.
He is due to meet 2016 and 2017 world champ John John Florence when the surfers next hit the water.
Carissa Moore spoke to WSL about her heat victory over Novocastrian Philippa Anderson, in which the 8.0 she scored for one of her two counting waves was the highest women's ride of the day.
"It is challenging, you know they have the local knowledge, they know where to sit they have the love and support of the crowd, it's kind of like you against the rest of the world," Moore said after she emerged victorious.
She was justified in noticing the crowd support.
WSL said that throughout the day, more than 3500 people brought their passes through the gate.
"It doesn't mean there were that many people there all the time, but that was the total that came and went during the day," the WSL spokesperson said.
And there were plenty who did stay all day to watch the action in sometimes challenging three to four foot (one metre to 1.5 metre) waves, although the "challenging" relates to dead sections in the wave, rather than their size or any possible danger - as can be the case in the big wave tour.
The WSL says Italian Leo Fioravanti has been the rider of the contest so far in the men's, with the highest heat total of 15.67, including a 9.0.
He did it on a backup board after a collision with a young surfer outside the contest area during a warm-up surf.
"It was heavy, I was on the wave and this grom took off in the whitewash and I took off out the back, on the inside . . . and he just went on the whitewash and he was just basically going in, I felt like," Fioravanti said
"So I did a cutback and he ran straight into me. I felt [the nose of] his board go straight into my fin plug and basically scooped my fin plug out."
The run-in between Fioravanti and the other surfer underlines the democratic - or free for all - nature of the surf.
As someone remarked the other day, you don't go to Wimbledon expecting to have a hit with Roger Federer.
But in the surf off Merewether this week, and at other beaches either side, you can expect to rub shoulders with the world's best.
Although for everyone's sake, hopefully not as closely as the Fioravanti experience above.
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