After Morgan Cibilic's victory over John John Florence, the crowd was absolutely amped by the time Jackson "Jacko" Baker hit the water just on noon.
His opponent, current world champion Italo Ferreira from Brazil, is not only the reigning #1, he's is indisputably one of the busiest surfers on the tour. As the commentators said, he surfed a phenomenal 17 waves in the opening seeding round, when he also surfed against Baker, who surfed eight.
Today, Ferreira paddled north up the beach into a beach break that gave the goofy footer a left to surf forehand on. In the earlier heats, both surfers stuck together.
Baker surfed gamely and showed flashes of his ability but the waves were inconsistent and did not help his cause.
But Ferreira - who moved back to the point alongside Baker with a few minutes to go - was electric in everything he did.
Even though the judges had generally scored bigger waves higher, Ferreira ripped the lefts to pieces, throwing and making aerials, and moving with almost impossible speed.
The flamboyant Brazilian actually got out of the water with 30 seconds to go, and there were hearts in mouths as Baker picked up a nice wave 10 seconds later, needing a 6.4 to progress and cause an even bigger upset than Cibilic.
He surfed the right well but in the end the judges gave him a 5.7 which was not quite enough.
The commentators had noted Ferreira's high wave count throughout the heat but the Merewether local got going in the last few minutes and actually finished his half-hour with 11 waves to the Brazilian's nine.
The heat finished going by 12.80 points to Ferreira against Baker's 11.20.
It was a brave showing - Ferreira moving back down to sit beside Baker in the closing minutes could be read as an effort to pressure the Novocastrian psychologically, but if anything it had the opposite effect, as the moustache-wearing natural footer saved his best for last.
In the next heat, number six, after the Cibilic rock and roll show, another Aussie in Wade Carmichael gave the parochial crowd something else to cheer about with a clear one point win over Hawaiian Seth Moniz.
Charmicael posted 12.17, comprising a 4.67 and a 7.50, to the 11.67 compiled by Moniz in the form of a 5.50 and a 6.17.
Callinan held a solid lead for the first 25 minutes of his heat but with less than five minutes to go, Griffin pulled a big air out of nowhere on a small wave and momentarily took the lead.
But Callinan fought back, scoring a 6.33, the highest score of the heat, to eventually prevail with 11.40 - from a 5.07 and then the 6.33 - to Colapinto's 11.06 built from a 5.83 and a 5.23.
Heat eight, between Australian veteran Owen Wright and Brazilian Miguel Pupo, was a sea-sawing affair with Pupo taking the lead in some inconsistent conditions and looking increasingly frustrated with the conditions as the drone cameras focused on the lanky (6 foot 3 inches or 1.9 metres and 81 kilograms) red-jersey leader.
He took a small wave that gave him the lead 9.60 to 9.00 and although Pupo took off on a small bump with seconds to go, it was a nothing wave and he fell trying to push around a whitewater section.
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