MORGAN Cibilic has pulled off the boilover of the Newcastle Cup, knocking out dual world champ John John Florence in an explosive heat at Merewether.
After opening the heat with an 8.0, Cibilic held the lead the whole way and closed it out with a 9.03 to win the heat 17.13 to 13.16, a massive win and a big margin.
Morgan Cibilic blasted out of the blocks early in his heat against world number one John John Florence, who surfed in the yellow leader's jersey - a clothing innovation pinched from cycling - despite the fractured little toe in his left foot.
Commentator Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew said he spoke to Morgan Cibilic at the beach early in the morning and "he was hobbling" and not even sure if he could surf.
But Florence is not a dual world champ for no reason, and he pulled off a 7.93 to the high 8.10 points laid down by Cibilic.
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Merewether's Luke Egan, providing expert local knowledge to the streaming broadcast, said Ciblic had "come from the clouds" to grab his CT spot, adding that there were others, until recently, ahead of him even when picking a Merewether club team.
Midway through their 30-minute heat Florence had a tiny lead at 13.16 to Cibilic's 13.10, and as the heat wound down, the rookie widened his lead.
With scores of 9.03 and 8.10 to a 7.83 and 5.33, both Cibilic's waves were "excellent" on the WSL criteria, and clearly better than the best the Hawaiian master could muster in what must be recognised as inconsistent conditions.
At the same time, Cibilic won the Van's triple crown rookie of the year award in Hawaii at the end of the northern hemisphere winter, and has pulled off plenty of big performances in and around Pipeline, where John John and his surfing siblings Nathan and Ivan, grew up.
The Merewether crowd went nuts as Ciblic proved his competition mettle.
Surfing fans may well look back on this moment at Merewether as history in the making.
Although the early heats were marred by a distinct lack of waves on the high tide, the results at this morning's Rip Curl Newcastle Cup have gone the way of the surfer whose best wave was clearly better than anything of their opponents.
In the opening heat, Brazilian Gabriel Medina stunned the crowd with a progressive aerial in an otherwise innocuous wave that put the heat well beyond his rival, Aussie Connor O'Leary.
Each surfer caught fives waves with Medina's 7.33 and 4.83 making a 12.16 two-heat score, rolling O'Leary's 9.60 comprising a 4.83 and a 4.77.
Each heat runs for 30 minutes, with a new heat starting within seconds of the completed heat finishing.
In heat two, Portugese Frederico Morais clearly got bigger waves than Central Coast veteran Adrian 'Ace' Buchan, although Ace scored a solid wave with seconds to spare that closed the two-point gap at that stage but was not enough to take the heat.
Morais scored 12.10 points from a maximum of 20, from a 6.17 and a 5.93, to Buchan's 11.20 from a 5.27 and a 5.93.
Brazilian veteran Adriano De Souza was one of the first crew from what is now a South American surfing powerhouse, and the veteran clocked up his 500th Championship Tour heat this morning in the water against another veteran, Jeremy Flores, who grew up on Reunion Island and moved to France to pursue his pro surfing dream.
The marginal conditions tested the competitors, and rain arrived briefly after 9am to hamper things slightly for the spectators.
De Souza won the exchange, taking his heat tally to five wins against the Frenchman to two by Flores. He returned 10.93 from a 5.00 and a 5.93 to bundle out Flores, whose 7.40 from a 3.87 and a 3.53 was not enough.
As subjective as surfing might appear to be, the WSL judging criteria has been refined and tweaked after years of experience to a system that rewards the most committed and radical surfing.
In an explanation of its judging criteria, the WSL breaks down five main areas: "commitment and degree of difficulty, innovative and progressive manoeuvres, combination of major manoeuvres, variety of manoeuvres and speed, power and flow".
To put the numbers in perspective, WSL says the judging scale is: 0.0 - 1.9: Poor, 2.0 - 3.9: Fair, 4.0 - 5.9: Average, 6.0 - 7.9: Good, 8.0 - 10.0: Excellent.
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