Surfing: Morgan Cibilic carves way into tour contention

SURGING: Nineteen-year-old Morgan Cibilic produces a powerhouse backhand turn during his finals run at the Galicia Classic Surf Pro in Pantin, Spain. Picture: Laurent Masurel/WSL
SURGING: Nineteen-year-old Morgan Cibilic produces a powerhouse backhand turn during his finals run at the Galicia Classic Surf Pro in Pantin, Spain. Picture: Laurent Masurel/WSL

Merewether teenager Morgan Cibilic has powered into contention for a championship tour spot after making the semi-finals in just his third prime-rated qualifying series contest.

Cibilic jumped 56 spots to 20th on the QS with 6500 points from his amazing run at the 10,000-point Galicia Pro in Spain. He has 10,570 points, from his five best performances, to sit 2430 outside the qualification line with three 10,000 and a 6000-point event to go.

After making the fourth round at the US Open a month ago, Cibilic shocked his more experienced rivals again to make the last four before losing 15.34 to 14.9 to eventual champion Miguel Pupo on Sunday (AEST). His scalps on the way included Surfest champions Alex Ribeiro and Matt Wilkinson.

In just his second full season on the QS, the natural-footer is now a realistic chance of joining clubmate Ryan Callinan on the elite tour in 2020.

"I've never even dreamed in the past couple of years to see myself in this position so I'm stoked," Cibilic said.

"I focused on my heat strategy mainly and on these little lefts I can kind of rely on a couple of power maneuvers that the judges liked so I'm happy.

"I did win one of my heats with an air but I mainly stick to the face and I know there's definitely some work to be done in the air for me.

"I'm super excited about the next couple of events, I've only heard good things and I'm stoked to be able to explore more places in Europe."

His next events are the 6000-point Azores Pro (September 17) and the 10,000-point Ericeira Pro (September 24) in Portugal. Callinan all but secured his return to the CT with victory at Ericeira last year.