NEWCASTLE surfers Morgan Cibilic and Ryan Callinan have been rewarded for their high placings at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup, with Callinan equal fourth and Cibilic equal seventh as the World Surf League Championship Tour heads to Narrabeen on Friday.
Newcastle Cup winner Italo Ferreira leads with 16,085 points after two events, with runner-up Gabriel Medina second on 15,600.
Hawaiian John John Florence is third on 11,330 after falling to Cibilic in the round of 16. Callinan, South Africa's Jordy Smith and Japan's Kanoa Igarishi are equal fourth on 8065 points.
ALL OUR SURFING COVERAGE HERE
Cibilic and Brazilian Felipe Toledo are seventh on 7415 points, ahead of Kelly Slater, who missed Newcastle, injured, on 6350.
After a brilliant day's exhibition of competition surfing on Friday - highlighted by Carissa Moore's headline grabbing aerial late in the afternoon - finals day on Saturday dawned with changed conditions - enough for the officials to delay the start by an hour to 7.45am.
Saturday's early contests - the men's quarter finals - were met with inconsistent surf at the top of a run-out tide, but as the offshore wind picked up and the sun gathered strength, the waves did their thing to the joy of the crowd and the satisfaction of the surfers.
By the middle of the day, when four-time and reigning world champ Carissa Moore was taking on Sunshine Coast rookie Isabella Nichols, the bigger set waves were connecting all the way to the shore, making for long rides and plenty of face for the surfers to work with.
Moore, 28, made the final after beating US 19-year-old Caroline Marks 17.74 to 10.17, while Nichols, 23, had slipped by fellow Aussie Keely Andrew, 26, by 13.20 to 12.13. Moore showed her dominance throughout the final and was never headed.
After the presentation, Nichols lamented a lack of waves but said: "I feel like I'm dreaming, to surf against my idols
"I've got to re-set and calm myself down after all this high," Nichols said, adding that she had never surfed in front of such a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Cibilic's quarter-final win over Callinan was a nail-biter and the thousands of spectators were either roaring with appreciation or silently anxious as the minutes ticked by in his semi-final against Medina, who seemed to come awake after just doing enough in previous exchanges to get the nod from the judges.
Five of the final eight men in the contest were Brazilians and the all-Brazil final pitched the reigning world champ in Ferreira against the 2014 and 2018 champion.
Medina had the best wave of the final, an 8.60, but despite catching 11 waves could only muster a 4.67 for his backup score, meaning Ferreira had enough with a 7.17 followed two waves later by a 7.77 to score a comfortable win on points, 14.94 to 13.27.
Ferreira said it had been a wonderful time in Newcastle and it had been great to get into the surf after a fortnight's COVID quarantine.
He said Australia and then the US had dominated world surfing for a long time but it was "now Brazil and it is so cool to see so many guys and girls ripping".
Moore thanked her support crew, especially Merewether's Mitchell Ross, for his coaching and tips on negotiating the Merewether rocks.
Most of the big names in surfing are well sponsored, but prize money is an important part of their living.
The WSL has committed to equal prize money and the WSL rule book shows that championship tour events, including the Newcastle Cup, have a first prize this year of $US70,000, or almost $92,000 at the current exchange rate.
Second place earns $US40,000, or almost $52,500.
A list of results published yesterday showed that Cibilic, in equal third place, won $US20,000, taking his winnings this season to $29,000.
Callinan, in equal fifth, takes home $US15,000, for a season total so far of $27,000.
Championship Tour surfers are able to enter Qualifying Series events, and as points from these events count towards their rankings, the surfers in the bottom third of the CT will increasingly turn to QS events to get their points scores up to avoid relegation, with only the top two-thirds of the CT guaranteed a place on the following year's tour.
FOLLOW MORGAN CIBILIC AND RYAN CALLINAN ON THEIR WORLD TOUR JOURNEY. NARRABEEN NEXT STOP.
It's less than a cup of coffee a week. $19.50 a month ($4.50 a week) $187.20 annually upfront ($3.60 a week). Just hit the red SUBSCRIBE button at the top of the screen.
IN THE NEWS:
- 'I wasn't going to toe the line': One Nation, Stuart Bonds part ways
- Body at Barrington most likely missing woman: police
- Jesmond stabbing: alleged victim's outlook hopeful
- PHOTOS NewRun: Hill 2 Harbour numbers swell in COVID return
- Australian commemoration for Prince Philip
- Surfing: Merewether goes mad for WSL champions
- Knights: Titans thrash Newcastle on Gold Coast
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: