RYAN Callinan is aiming to help Merewether Surfboard Club claim back-to-back regional surftag series titles on their home break today as he builds towards a return to international competition.
The 20-year-old former Australasian No. 2 junior has recovered from knee and ankle injuries which have stalled his career for 15 months.
The goofy-footer is making a return to regular competition and will team with Jesse Adam, Craig Anderson, Paul Parkes, Mitchell Ross and Jackson Brent in the NSW north contest of the nationwide competition today.
Callinan is using the event as preparation for the four-star World Qualifying Series contest in China this month.
"I'm feeling good, my legs are feeling good and I'm focusing on more contests this year," Callinan said.
"This is always a fun contest and we have a great team together, so I'm looking forward to it."
All but Brent were part of last year's win at Merewether, but he is in this year's squad after returning to competitive surfing to spearhead Merewether's win at the Kings of the Castle tag team event in November.
Teams will have four open surfers and one over-30 rider, each of whom must catch three waves before handing over to a teammate in hour-long, four-side heats.
Callinan said the addition of Brent gave Merewether plenty of options.
"We'll pick the team on the day," he said. "There's a couple of people who are really good at Merewether, but if it's down the beach somewhere, we might put a couple of different people in."
The series is Australia's largest team surfing competition and offers a prize pool of over $130,000.
The winners take home $15,000.
Sixteen teams from the Central Coast, Newcastle and the mid north coast will battle at Merewether for six qualifying spots at the Australian championships at Ballina.