• Local Hero Ryan Callinan Secures Highest Heat Score of Opening Day
  • Top Seeds Marks, Fitzgibbons, Florence, Moore, and Wright Dominate Round 1
  • More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com
Pictured: Hometown hero Ryan Callinan (AUS) tops opening day at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona with the highest heat total. Credit: © WSL / Miers

The Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona, the second stop on the World Surf League (WSL) 2021 Championship Tour (CT), opened today with the completion of men’s and women’s Seeding Round 1 in small and tricky conditions at Merewether. What lacked in the way of waves on Day 1 was made up for with incredible performances as the world’s best returned to CT competition in Australia for the first time in almost two years.

Local Hero Ryan Callinan Secures Highest Heat Score of Opening Day

Local favorite Ryan Callinan (AUS) got his hometown campaign off to a flying start by winning his opening round heat with the highest two-wave combination of Day 1. Callinan put on a perfect display of local knowledge, finding the best wave of each set and improving on each ride with his technical backside prowess to post a 15.26 heat total (out of a possible 20) to progress into the Round of 32. 

“We get really good crowds around the world who are always so supportive, but when it’s your home crowd there’s something so special about it,” Callinan said. “These aren’t the waves we have come here for, but it was still really fun and to be back competing and to find some decent scores. It’s so good to have these fans here. They bring such a good vibe to the event even if the conditions are sub-par. I’m really embracing it as it is such a special experience for me.” 

Callinan’s fellow locals, Morgan Cibilic (AUS), and wildcards Jackson Baker(AUS) and Philippa Anderson (AUS), also found success today and will progress into the third round with solid performances. Merewether-transplant Julian Wilson (AUS) will come back in the Elimination Round as he looks to enjoy the same success he did at this beach in 2020 when he won Newcastle Surfest. 

World No. 1 John John Florence Brings Winning Momentum To Newcastle

Current World No. 1 John John Florence (HAW) has lauded the world over for his performances in big surf and waves of consequence, but today at Merewether, the two-time WSL Champion showed he has what it takes when the waves are small. Florence opted to ride a carbon-fiber constructed board in the tough conditions, which looked to work perfectly as he laid down his trademark rail-carves to post the second-highest two-wave combination of the day. Florence’s 14.56 (out of a possible 20) sees him move directly into the Round of 32 and slates him as a bigger threat than expected when surfing makes its Olympic debut later this year. 

“The first heat back is always nerve-racking, but to be honest, I was more nervous a few days ago,” Florence said. “Yesterday I had a good warm-up surf and that made me a lot calmer coming into today. The small waves make it harder for sure but my equipment works well in weaker surf like this and small waves are an area I’ve been working on over the last few years, it also has a lot to do with coming in with the right mindset. I have fun in waves like this because it’s different to what I’m used to which keeps it interesting.” 

Caroline Marks Dominates Merwether on Day 1 

Caroline Marks (USA) dominated Day 1 with the highest single-wave score of the event so far. Marks garnered an excellent 8.00 point ride (out of a possible 10) for a series of critical backhand snaps all the way to the beach. Marks’ success sent Brisa Hennessy (CRI) to Elimination Round 2. 

“It’s so good to be back competing in Australia,” Marks said. “It’s been a few years, so it’s great to be back, as it’s definitely one of my favorite places in the world. It was definitely stressful getting here, but I’m happy to be healthy and back doing what I love. I’ve missed competing so much.”

Fellow Olympic qualifier and four-time WSL Champion, Carissa Moore(HAW), was also a top-performer. Moore put on a power surfing clinic in her opening heat at Merewether, carving her way to an early win over Anderson and Sage Erickson (USA). 

Moore wasn’t the only multiple World Title holder to find success in Round 1 with Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) also taking a solid victory in the smaller-than-hoped-for surf. The seven-time WSL Champion looked fired up as she kept busy all heat to overcome Bronte Macaulay (AUS) and Johanne Defay (FRA) in Heat 4 of Round 1. 

Sally Fitzgibbons Makes Strong Start on Road To the Rip Curl WSL Finals 

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) set an impressive benchmark in the opening heat of women’s Round 1. The current World No. 3 posted a 14.00 point heat tally, which included a near-excellent 7.83 score (out of a possible 10) for her heat win. Like Florence, Fitzgibbons is renowned for her big wave surfing but her performance in today’s fun peeling smaller waves reminded all just how good she surfs on the smaller days.

“I’m frothing! It’s so nice to be back competing and with a crowd on the beach, especially an Aussie one,” Fitzgibbons said. “Heat 1 is always exciting, so I definitely had a lot of energy going into that one. My preparation was good and I had a great free surf leading into that heat, so I was trying for some progressive moves that didn’t quite come off but I’ll definitely be trying for more of them in my next heat.” 

Acknowledgment to Country by Wandiyali Group

Prior to the competition getting underway at Merewether, surfers and fans were treated to a moving Acknowledgement of Country and Smoking Ceremony led by Uncle Kevin McKenny of Wandiyali Group with Jackie Allen performing the National Anthem in Awabakal language, and Perry playing the didgeridoo. The words and Smoking Ceremony acknowledged that the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup is taking place on the land of the Awabakal People. 

Watch LIVE
All the action from the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners. The next call will be tomorrow, Friday, April 2, at 7:15 a.m. AEDT for a possible 7:35 a.m. start. 

Free Ticket Reservations for Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona
Due to COVID-19 regulations limiting crowd size, the WSL is requiring fans to reserve FREE tickets to the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona. Although the WSL’s Tiketek ballot is closed and tickets have been allocated, each competition day at 11:00 a.m. AEDT, unclaimed ticket reservations will become available for free on the Ticketek website. Fans can check in each day at 11:00 a.m. AEDT for free ticket reservations. Please read the WSL’s event guide for more information and FAQs on ticket reservations. Tickets will be issued throughout the event. Reserve your FREE tickets at wsl.tv/NewcastleTickets

The Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona is proudly supported by our partners Rip Curl, Corona, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, The City of Newcastle, Red Bull, Oakley, Hydro Flask, Harvey Norman, Bonsoy, Boost Mobile, Dometic Outdoor, Bond University, BF Goodrich, Burton Automotive, and Oakberry. 

Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Men’s Seeding Round 1 Results: 
HEAT 1: Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.10 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 7.20, Conner Coffin (USA) 4.96
HEAT 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.00 DEF. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 10.70, Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.30
HEAT 3: John John Florence (HAW) 14.56 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 12.73, Mikey Wright (AUS) 12.00
HEAT 4: Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.27 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.17, Matt Banting (AUS) 10.90
HEAT 5: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 10.74 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.27, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 8.16
HEAT 6: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.23 DEF. Jackson Baker (AUS) 11.50, Jack Robinson (AUS) 9.33
HEAT 7: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.84 DEF. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.67, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 8.53
HEAT 8: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 10.84 DEF. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 8.67, Owen Wright (AUS) 8.13
HEAT 9: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.77 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.60, Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.53
HEAT 10: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.26 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.50, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 8.37
HEAT 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.50 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 9.40, Michel Bourez (FRA) 7.77
HEAT 12: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.54 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 8.86, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.84

Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Men’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)  
HEAT 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)  
HEAT 3: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 
HEAT 4: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)

Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Women’s Seeding Round 1 Results: 
HEAT 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.00 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.27, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 8.44
HEAT 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.37 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.50, Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.90
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.73 DEF. Philippa Anderson (AUS) 10.70, Sage Erickson (USA) 10.13
HEAT 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.50 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 9.27, Johanne Defay (FRA) 8.56
HEAT 5: Caroline Marks (USA) 14.93 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.10, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 10.10
HEAT 6: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 9.84 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 9.73, Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.14

Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Women’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)  
HEAT 2: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

COVID-19 Updates
Due to COVID-19 regulations limiting crowd size, WSL is requiring fans to reserve FREE tickets. To learn more, please read the WSL’s event guide for information on free ticket reservations and FAQs. Reserve your FREE tickets at wsl.tv/NewcastleTickets

The WSL will implement a robust and thorough COVID-19 health and safety plan for each event during the Australian leg of the CT in accordance with federal and state guidance. The WSL’s health and safety plan includes physical distancing measures, temperature checks, enhanced high-touch cleaning at the event site, contact tracing procedures, sanitizer stations throughout the event site, and minimal personnel on-site. 

All traveling athletes and support staff completed the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine and received medical clearance from public health officials before entering the general community.

Due to COVID-19, the Australian CT events will run based on state border closures, strictly adhering to federal and state government guidelines and restrictions. All tour stops and dates subject to change due to applicable COVID-19 related restrictions, including global travel restrictions.

About the WSL 
Established in 1976, the World Surf League (WSL) is the home of the world’s best surfing. 
 
A global sports, media and entertainment company, the WSL oversees international tours and competitions, a studios division creating over 500+ hours of live and on-demand content, and via affiliate WaveCo, the home of the world’s largest high performance, human-made wave. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the WSL has regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA.
 
The WSL annually crowns the men’s and women’s surfing World Champions. The global Tours and Competition division oversees and operates more than 180 global contests each year across the Championship Tour, the development tiers, including the Challenger, Qualifying and Junior Series, as well as longboard and big wave properties.  
 
Launched in 2019, WSL Studios is an independent producer of unscripted television projects, including documentaries and series, which provide unprecedented access to athletes, events, and locations around the world. WSL events and content are distributed on linear television in over 743M+ homes worldwide and across digital and social media platforms around the world, including WorldSurfLeague.com
 
WaveCo includes the Surf Ranch Lemoore facility and the utilizing and licensing of the Kelly Slater Wave System.
 
The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.  
 
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.