Merewether's Morgan Cibilic has received praise from a seven-time world champion after his "impressive" rookie season ended at the World Surf League finals.
No.5 Cibilic was eliminated by fourth-ranked Conner Coffin in the opening match of men's competition at Californian break Lower Trestles on Wednesday (AEST).
Australian legend Layne Beachley described Cibilic's efforts in 2021 as "epic" and feels like its just the beginning of his journey on the championship tour.
"An impressive start to what will undoubtedly be an illustrious career," Beachley posted on social media.
"Well done Morgan Cibilic. World #5 in your rookie year is epic! Bring on 2022!!"
Following five lay days, the inaugural WSL finals were called on by officials in excellent conditions.
Cibilic (9.84) fell 5.16 points shy of Coffin (15) in their 35-minute heat.
The 21-year-old had four scoring rides. His two highest were 3.67 and 6.17.
US surfer Coffin started with a 7.83 and finished with a 7.17.
Top-ranked Brazilian Gabriel Medina was later crowned world champion after beating Filipe Toledo 2-0 in a best-of-three decider.
The women's showdown between Carissa Moore and Tatiana Weston-Webb was level at 1-all.
Aussie pair Stephanie Gilmore (5th) and Sally Fitzgibbons (3rd) were earlier knocked out by Johanne Defay and Weston-Webb respectively.
There were shark sightings at Lower Trestles which paused competition on at least two occasions.
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