IT will be mate versus mate at Merewether with Morgan Cibilic and Ryan Callinan to surf against each other in the quarter finals, with only one to proceed to the semis.
Friday morning has produced a two out of three for local suporters, with adopted Novocastrian Julian Wilson leaving it too late at the end to catch his Brazilian opponent, veteran Adriano de Souza, losing 7.10 to the 8.40 posted by the 2015 world champ.
Callinan took half a heat to get a decent score on the board, but when he did he reeled in his opponent Owen Wright at the halfway point.
He was never headed from that point and set up a big Merewether showdown in the quarter finals with his club mate Morgan Cibilic, meaning that the Newcastle-based club will have someone go as deep as the semi-finals, at least.
The fourth heat of the round of 16 opened with Owen Wright posting a 6.00 and a 6.07 and with Callinan having a single score of 1.00 after 16 minutes, there were fears the Merewether surfer would lose in the dual-goofy match-up,
But Callinan then posted a 6.27 and a 7.60 in quick succession.
A short 0.83 was followed by an extraordinary wave that scored just 3.57 but brought the crowd and the commentators alive with a very "technical" backhand tube that streaming commentator described as "the most difficult 3.57 ever".
Mark Occhilupo commentating said that Callinan "stalled and laid back at the same time", with only a light touch of the front of his board with one hand.
Callinan finished the heat with 13.87 to Wright's 12.07.
Cibilic in the previous heat had "comboed" Central Coaster Wade Carmichael 16.00 to Carmichael's 10.33.
Both Merewether surfers winning high scoring heats seemed to indicate some advantage with local knowledge in conditions that show plenty of swell but waves not always lining up between sections.
Interviewed after his heat, Callinan said Wright was one of his heroes, which was "always nerve-wracking'. But he was confident in the water and "had a lot of fun, had a ball" on the wave that scored the 3.57.
The action continues at Merewether.
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