Merewether rookie Morgan Cibilic has scored the biggest win of his short career, today eliminating two-time World Surf League (WSL) champion John John Florence from the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona.
And, incredibly, he achieved that feat with a broken toe.
Using local knowledge to his advantage on Thursday 8 April, the current Triple Crown Rookie of the Year sent the world No. 1 packing in heat five of the round of 32 at Merewether Beach.
Cibilic, who has always flown relatively under-the-radar on the Championship Tour (CT), secured brilliant scores of 8.10 (out of 10) and 9.03 in the small two-to-four-foot surf, giving him a total of 17.13.
The natural-footer, who’s spent his time growing up between the surfing hubs of Angourie and Merewether, now moves into the round of 16.
Florence, making his Newcastle debut in the tournament, could only manage 7.83 and 5.33 to amass 13.16 before bowing out.
Unfortunately, another local young gun, Jackson Baker, lost his battle with WSL CT leader Italo Ferreira, of Brazil.
But, he produced a gallant display, being pipped by just 1.60 points.
Baker registered 5.50 and 5.70 for a combined score of 11.20, with his opponent recording 7.00 and 5.80 (12.80) for the victory.
Novocastrian Ryan Callinan also progressed to the round of 16, beating Crosby Colapinto 11.40 (5.07 and 6.33) to 11.06 (5.83 and 5.23).
The Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona is scheduled to wrap up by Sunday 11 April.
“With the waves on offer and the outgoing tide, we anticipate the conditions continuing to improve throughout the morning,” WSL SVP of tours and head of competition Jessi Miley-Dyer said.
“The swell is expected to increase throughout the day as well, so we’re hoping to get all 16 heats of men’s round of 32 completed today.”