WHEN I first saw the cluster of phones pointed seaward from the Watt Street hill next to the old bowling club site, my first thought was "early whales".
Maybe the humpback season had started.
And then I saw it. A rainbow so close you felt you could touch it. As you can see, one end was literally dipped into the Bogey Hole.
The other end was just beyond the break at South Newcastle.
It had to be a sign that the contest would resume today, with good waves, and with a strong local showing.
As I write this, at 7pm, the Swellnet online surf forecast shows a long-expected building swell, but the real peak is Monday and Tuesday: with the next leg of the tour at Narrabeen a week away tomorrow on April 16, Newcastle finishes on Sunday.
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As good as they are - with a myriad of data points fed into sophisticated computer models - swell forecasts are not written in stone.
Tuesday morning was bigger than expected.
Yesterday was smaller, hence the decision to hold a lay-day. Swellnet predicts just under a metre of easterly swell and light onshore winds today, but more favourable westerlies should kick in tomorrow, with the first of the southerly swell due to arrive.
The forthcoming round of 32 in the men's is the only guaranteed opportunity to see all of our local hopes in action, provided, of course, that Merewether's Morgan Cibilic overcomes the injury he confirmed on Tuesday night.
In heat four, Julian Wilson, in the higher-seeded red jersey, takes on fellow Aussie Jack Robinson.
In heat five, Cibilic, in black, faces dual world champion and 2021 ratings leader John John Florence, in red
In heat seven, Ryan Callinan is in red against rising American Crosby Colapinto.
In heat nine, Jackson "Jacko" Baker has a career high point against a raging red-hot favourite in reigning world champ Italo Ferreira, of Brazil.
The lay-day provided a break - if that's the right word - for the equal #17th seed Cibilic, who has an injured left foot after a surfing accident on Monday.
Cibilic told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday night that he was going for scans.
The word from the Merewether camp yesterday was that the natural-footed charger has a fractured small toe on his leading or left foot.
It's not a great situation, but professional surfers, like other sportspeople, have to cope with injury and pain. Merewether sources said the Championship Tour rookie was "certain" to surf his heat.
The cut-throat nature of the bottom end of the CT means no surfer wants to sacrifice all-important ratings points, with Cibilic needing to end the year in the top 22 to automatically re-qualify.
When he tore knee ligaments on the same left side in Portugal in October, Cibilic surfed two Hawaiian contests in a knee brace, and did enough to win the "triple crown" rookie of the year award.
The surf in Newcastle last night had clean straight lines, and if the wind stays low overnight, the waves should be contestable this morning.
Things should improve on a run-out tide from a high at 5.45am, an hour before contest officials make the 6.45am call on whether to resume.
The WSL says it needs "just over two days, maximum", to finish the event with four days left.
The clock is ticking.
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