IT was all because of a terrible human tragedy in COVID-19 that the elite level championship pro surfing tour came to Newcastle for the first time since the 1990 Surfest.
But out of adversity came something good: so good, that the answer on everyone's lips afterwards was, can we do it again?
At Saturday's presentation, deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen stood on stage between the co-founder of surfing company Rip Curl, Doug "Claw" Warbrick, and the king of Merewether, Mark Richards.
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Later, lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the council had been "advocating hard to attract the WSL back to Newcastle", part of "a long-term concerted effort to promote" the city as "a drawcard destination".
Cr Nelmes said the contest had "showcased" Newcastle to "a global audience of more than 10 million people and injected an estimated $15 million into the local economy".
Even allowing for a possible touch of hyperbole in the figures - and remembering that a reported $5 million of public money has gone into Newcastle and the Narrabeen Cup starting Friday - there is no doubt that the Newcastle gamble has paid off.
And it was a gamble.
The "Dream Tour' evolved away from normal beachbreak venues to chase the world's very best waves. In Europe, Africa, Asia, north America and South America, as well as Australia.
It takes precision planning and a lot of money to get the world's best surfers to the world's best waves, and at a time when they're "on".
WSL's general manager for Australia, Asia and Oceania, Andrew Stark, has been on hand to watch it all go down.
The WSL copped a ragging from some in the surf world for coming to Newcastle. As vitriol turned to praise, Stark reminded everyone that Newcastle had been a COVID one-off.
"WSL sincerely thanks the Newcastle community for their support in delivering an extremely successful championship tour event this year," Stark said.
As noted earlier, Surfest is a WSL event - and an extremely important part of the step-up Qualifying Series tour.
When Ballina council knocked back a contest at Lennox Head, the WSL knew that Surfest's Warren Smith and his team would deliver organisationally and there was a good chance Merewether would turn on the waves, which it did.
Afterwards, Mark Richards said it could have been a very different ending if the wind had been onshore, the surf dribble and the weather wet, which is always a possibility.
Kelly Slater, interviewed during the Saturday morning broadcast, reminded the commentators that regular CT destinations don't always deliver, either.
He recalled Pipeline Masters finals in tiny surf, and that's far from the only example.
So the best thing we can say, at this point, is that we've had one Newcastle Cup, and it was great. We can't say there'll be another.
But then again, before February 16, when COVID closed the door on Bells Beach and opened a door for us, who'd have predicted 54 of the world's best surfers would be here at all?
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