RYAN Callinan is confident of achieving one of the best finishes of his burgeoning career after producing back-to-back eight-point rides to cruise into the final 16 of the four-star Burleigh Pro yesterday.
The Merewether surfer led for most of the heat with a total of 16.37 after earning scores of 8.17 and 8.2 with his second and third waves.
Mitch Crews (17.73) swooped late to take the heat, but Callinan was well clear of Argentine Santiago Muniz (12.34) and Frenchman Maxime Huscenot (11.44).
‘‘It was a great day,’’ Callinan said. ‘‘I paddled out and started up the point a bit and got an eight pretty much straight off the bat.
‘‘Then my next wave was also an eight, so that really set me up.
‘‘I was just trying to hold them off for the rest of the heat and then Crewsy came back and got me in the end.’’
The 20-year-old will next meet World Championship Tour surfers Bede Durbidge and Adam Melling, as well as Kiwi Ricardo Christie.
‘‘That should be very interesting,’’ Callinan said. ‘‘I’m really excited for that because I watched the heats today and they all surfed really well.
‘‘But with the scores I’m getting I feel like I can take it to them a bit and give it a good crack.’’
The goofy-footer, who is coming off an injury-marred 18 months, was keen to make the World Qualifying Series event at Burleigh a career highlight alongside his semi-final effort in a six-star event in France two years ago.
Callinan, a wildcard at this month’s six-star Surfest Men’s Pro, is the only Novocastrian left in the hunt at Burleigh after Philippa Anderson was eliminated by .03 of a point from the women’s contest.
The 21-year-old from Merewether held second place in her round-four heat behind Hawaiian Alessa Quizon (15.43) with a score of 12.37 and looked safely through with two minutes remaining.
But Sydney WCT surfer Laura Enever produced a 7.5-point ride to give her a 12.40 total and the spot in the next round of the six-star event.
‘‘I think you’d rather lose by five than .03,’’ Anderson said.
‘‘With three minutes to go I sat on Laura and tried to push her deep, but a good wave came through and she got it. It happens. There wasn’t much I could do.’’
Anderson, the 2009 Surfest women’s champion, will carry Hunter hopes at Merewether in the six-star Women’s Classic from February 18-24.