Local seeds make early exits at Newcastle's Surfest competition

NEWCASTLE capped off another successful Surfest at the weekend, with a commendable effort from local seeds.

The 10-day surfing event, in its 29th year, attracted more than 200 competitors.

It included a host of events, including the six-star rated Burton Toyota Pro, Hunter Ports Women's Classic, and Hunter Business Board Riders Pro Junior.

Most of the local seeds were knocked out early in the competition, which was plagued by a lack of swell.

Disappointment set in early for Newcastle's highest-ranked surfer Ryan Callinan, who bowed out in the first round of the men's event.

For Newcastle's own five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore and Queensland's Joel Parkinson, who is ranked No. 3 in the world, the pro events were their first competitive outing of the season.

However, Gilmore made a shock exit in round five of the women's classic, followed by Parkinson in round seven of the men's event.

Fresh out of high school, Caves Beach wildcard James McMorland made his debut in the pro junior but was eliminated mid-way through.

Port Macquarie's Matt Banting took home the trophy in the men's pro, while Hawaii's Malia Manuel defeated fellow Hawaiian Alessa Quizon in the women's.

The pro junior was beaten by Cooper Chapman from North Narrabeen.

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