IT was a COVID-driven one-off event but the Newcastle Cup has gone so well that there were fingers crossed all over Merewether this afternoon that the World Surf League Championship Tour could somehow return to Newcastle.
Four time world champion Mark Richards, on stage for the presentation to winners Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore and runners up Gabriel Medina and Isabella Nichols, said afterwards that the elements had come together to make for a special event.
Richards said Merewether had turned on contestable waves and the feedback from the surfers was that they had enjoyed the competition and been blown away by the reception from Newcastle in general, and from the crowds on the beach.
The Newcastle Cup was sponsored by Rip Curl and the company's co-founder, Doug "Claw" Warbrick had come down from his Gold Coast home to watch the event, and his posse of Rip Curl sponsored surfers.
On the men's side, Rip Curl backs Medina, home-town giant killer Morgan Cibilic, Conner Coffin and Owen Wright, with Wright's sister Tyler, and Brisa Hennessy, on the women's.
WSL regional manager Andrew Stark was another keen observer, with the privately owned business working closely with the NSW government on this contest and the next event on the tour, the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic, starting on Friday.
Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen joined Richards, Warbrick, the WSL's tour head Jessi Miley-Dyer and lead commentator Joe Turpel on the presentation stage after the event, as the top four surfers received their trophies.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes told the Herald afterwards that the event had "showcased Merewether and Newcastle to a global audience of more than 10 million people".
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