Ryan Callinan sets bar high for Newcastle on surfing scene

NEWCASTLE is back on the international surfing map thanks to Merewether's Ryan Callinan.

The 21-year-old goofy footer displayed a remarkable drought-breaking performance at the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii this month.

Callinan stole the spotlight in the world title decider, taking down American surf star Dane Reynolds and recording the highest first-round two-wave score.

The sponsors' wildcard became the talk of the contest with the win.

Callinan said he was overwhelmed by his achievement in the first round.

"That was my first CT [championship tour] heat ever so it was a pretty special one, and to have a guy like Dane and to take him out, it's overwhelming. I'm a bit speechless," he said.

In the second round, Callinan bowed out to Hawaii's triple-crowned champion Sebastian Zietz.

However, Callinan had made his mark as the first local male surfer at a world championship tour since fellow Merewether rider Luke Egan retired in 2005.

Callinan will enter the World Qualifying Series next year, carrying with him Newcastle's hopes of a full-time surfer on the men's tour.

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