RYAN Callinan is backing himself to requalify for the World Surf League championship tour (CT) via the second-tier circuit after his encouraging display at the France Pro.
The Merewether goofy-footer won just his third heat of his maiden CT season at Hossegor, where fellow rookie Keanu Asing later upset defending champion Gabriel Medina in the final on Thursday.
Callinan downed South African Jordy Smith in round two of a CT event for the second time this year before going blow for blow with world No.1 John John Florence in one of the heats of the contest in round three.
The 24-year-old Novocastrian produced a round-high individual wave score of 9.13 with a huge backhand air reverse but fell short – 16.8 to 15.5 – of causing a boilover.
Despite the highlights, Callinan remained 36th on the CT rankings with two events left. He is almost 10,000 points, the amount given for a contest win, outside the top 22 and automatic re-qualification for 2017.
Callinan, though, is in a solid position to make the tour again through the qualifying series (QS).
He sits ninth on the QS, where the top 10 surfers who do not qualify via the CT earn a spot on the top tour for next year.
Callinan was equal 10th on the QS in 2015 to earn his place among the sport’s 36 elite male surfers and was eyeing another successful run on the series to keep his position.
After starting the year competing in two 6000-point QS events, at home in Surfest and at Manly, Callinan was hoping to surf in only prime, 10,000-point contests on that circuit for the rest of the year.
He has two 10,000-point events remaining, both in Hawaii next month, but will now squeeze in the 6000-point contest at Joaquina Beach in Brazil from November 1 to try to improve his chances. His next assignment is the 10th CT event of the year, the Portugal Pro, from October 18.
“Over to Portugal for the next one then down to Brazil,” Callinan said.
“I didn't make it as far as I wanted in the Cascais 10,000, so really trying to back myself on the QS and give myself every opportunity to be back on the CT for next year. Then to Hawaii for the last leg.”
Callinan was a quarter-finalist at the Cascais Pro in Portugal two weeks ago. It was his equal-best points grab, 5200, on the QS this year along with the US Open of Surfing. He earned 2650 with a quarter-final exit at Surfest.