Championship Tour Stars Take Over City of Newcastle Pro Day 2

A handful of World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) competitors have made cameo appearances today at Merewether Beach for Day 2 of the 2022 City of Newcastle pro presented by Burton Toyota Qualifying Series (QS) 5000 event as part of Newcastle Surfest. It was another big day of competition with the completion of the Round of 64 for the women and the men in wind affected three-to-four foot surf. 

Along with Australia and Oceania’s best up and coming surfers battling it out for a spot on the 2022 WSL Challenger Series, Merewether today hosted the likes of Portugal’s Frederico Morais, Italy’s Leonardo Fioravanti as well as Merewether resident Julian Wilson and local heroes Jackson Baker and Ryan Callinan. Apart from Wilson, these CT stars are using Surfest as a warmup for stop 4 of this year’s CT, The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach which is set to commence in just over a week’s time. 

Looking more comfortable than ever at his home break today was 2022 Championship Tour Rookie Jackson Baker who took an easy heat win in his opening round matchup. Baker, who has been turning heads at the elite level this year, comes into Surfest without the need for points but still with pressure of bringing home the win for his hometown of Newcastle. Today, he took a step in the right direction, progressing into the round of 32. 

“It feels really cool to be back competing at Surfest,” Baker said. “It’s always such a fun week here at home and I’m excited this year to enjoy it for what it is and not be too stressed about QS points – I can just focus on putting on a show for my home town which is cool. This is also a great opportunity to surf some heats. On the CT you don’t surf many heats unless you’re winning the things so this is great to get time in the jersey. I’ve seen Ryan (Callinan) is on the other side of the draw so hopefully we can both get the job done and both meet in the final – that would guarantee a local winner which would be so good.” 

Leonardo Fioravanti is one of two international CT competitors using this week in Newcastle to warm up for Bells as he continues searching for a breakthrough result in 2022. The Italian star has been competing in Newcastle for almost a decade now and is happy to be back and is enjoying the challenges the regional QS competitors are throwing at him. 

“I’m so happy to be back in Newcastle, I love this place,” Fioravanti said. “I had ankle surgery in the off season so I am still trying to work myself back into form so this is a great opportunity to do that. It looks like there is some great swell on the way so it could look a bit like Bells out here over the weekend. There are a few CT guys in the event and it would be cool to all meet up on Finals Day but honestly, the level here in Australia is crazy high. There are young surfers here who I’ve never heard of before and they’re ripping so we’re all going to have our work cut out for us.”

Leonardo’s travel partner Frederico Morais has also entered competition here in Newcastle with the hopes of getting as much time as possible in the jersey ahead of the Aus Leg of the CT. His opening round heat wasn’t as smooth as his fellow CT competitors as he progressed in second place to local wildcard Joshua Levey who, in his first ever QS5,000 appearance, overcame one of his heroes with a fantastic display of surfing in the tricky conditions. Both Levey and the ‘Portuguese Prince’ will progress into the Round of 32. 

“I’m pretty speechless to be honest,” Levey said. “I was just so thankful to get this opportunity to surf in an event of this size at my home break and share the water with one of the best in the world. To get a win over Freddy is so crazy, I feel really blessed to have found the waves I did and make it through that one.” 

Later in the day, Former World Number 1 and Merewether resident Julian Wilson took to the water along with local hero Ryan Callinan with results yet to have come out at the time of distribution. 

A special mention must go to Central Coast youngster Jarvis Earle who posted the highest single wave score of the event so far with a 9.10 (out of a possible 10) for a massive full rotation alley-oop air. 

Earlier in the day, the AAP Consulting Women’s Pro saw the completion of the Round of 64 with standout performances from Freya Prumm, Kobie Enright and Nyxie Ryan who had the top three heat totals of the round.
Newcastle Surfest couldn’t happen without the support of The City of Newcastle, AAP Consulting, Burton Automotive, Destination NSW

Pic: Jackson Baker (AUS) by Gary Luke