Surfing: Merewether rely on wildcard after falling short at ABB qualifier

OFF THE TOP: Merewether star Ryan Callinan in action during the NSW Central qualifier at North Narrabeen on Saturday, November 2. Pictures: Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW
OFF THE TOP: Merewether star Ryan Callinan in action during the NSW Central qualifier at North Narrabeen on Saturday, November 2. Pictures: Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

MEREWETHER Surfboard Club will rely on a highly likely wildcard entry to defend their Australian Boardriders Battle national title after bowing out in the semi-finals of the NSW Central regional qualifier last Saturday.

Hosts North Narrabeen won to secure their place at the national decider in Newcastle on February 16-17.

Placegetters Queenscliff and Curly United also qualified for the national final. Merewether fell short of the four-team final after finishing last in their semi-final.

North Narrabeen (40.61) won the semi from Curly (32.31), North Shelly (31.83) and Merewether (25.74).

"This is such an amazing event," Jordy Lawler, the 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro Champion from North Narrabeen Boardriders, said.

"To have waves like this and to have a team that surfed as well as they did really stokes out the entire community. It was awesome to host the competition here and have clubs come from all around NSW and we can't wait to surf in the national final in February next year."

Anchored by Lawler, the local club proceeded to muster up a giant 34.27 heat total to get the win ahead of fellow northern beaches clubs Curl Curl, Queenscliff and North Steyne.

World No.12 Ryan Callinan needed a 6.6 late in the semi to get Merewether into the regional decider but the right wave didn't arrive.

"Everyone fired on the day, but we didn't all fire together unfortunately, but it was a good result and we will hopefully get a wildcard," Merewether team manager Tim Ryan said.

"The guys from Narrabeen were incredible all day. It was like trying to surf against us at the Rocks. They had it absolutely wired.

"Ryan needed a 6.6 and sat waiting for the last five minutes but unfortunately nothing came through. He did the right thing but it wasn't our day."

Ryan said Jesse Adam, Philippa Anderson and Mitch Ross were standouts for Merewether, who won the national final this year without the injured Callinan and Jackson Baker.

Now in its seventh season, the Australian Boardriders Battle is the country's biggest grassroots boardriders event, involving more than 60 of Australia's best boardrider clubs and $110,000 in prize money.

Meanwhile, Mike Clayton-Brown bowed out of the ISA world junior championships in repechage round six.

The Port Stephens surfer was competing for Australia in the under-16 boys' division at Huntington Beach.

Clayton-Brown was last in his repechage round with 7.8, finishing behind Frenchman Kyllian Guerin (11.87), Chilean Noel de la Torre (13) and Costa Rican Aaron Ramrez (8.13).

All three Australian under-16 boys' competitors were eliminated from the round six repechage.

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