Merewether goofy and one-time ‘CT campaigner Ryan Callinan has given his quest to requalify a serious boost by taking out the QS10,000 Billabong Pro at Ericeira in Portugal over the weekend. The win sees Callinan jump to second on the qualifying series ratings’ and also book himself a spot in next week’s Quiksilver Pro France as a replacement wildcard.

Callinan earned the victory by way of defeating two of the form competitors in the world at the moment. In crumbly 3-4’ Bells-like righthanders, the heavy-footed Novocastrian bagged a 7.83 in the last three minutes of the final to snatch the win from current world number 9, Kanoa Igarashi. Earlier, in the semis, he beat a man no one else has been able to touch in recent months in Gabriel Medina. Medina, who was obviously on hand in Portugal to get the ball rolling for a strong European leg and potential second world title, looked unstoppable through the earlier rounds, taking out Ethan Ewing in the quarters before being stopped in his tracks by a gritty Callinan. A win over such high-calibre surfers combined with a victory in Japan earlier this year should give Callinan plenty of confidence coming into the final leg of the ‘QS in Hawaii.

Ryan unloads on a poor, helpless righthander. WSL/Poullenot

‘This is a huge stepping stone and I feel like everything's clicking for me at the moment,’ a euphoric Callinan told the WSL. ‘I peaked in the final and everything was amazing! This year's been a whirlwind, I don't know what's happened to me. I've never won an event before and this is my second for this season!’

Of the other Aussies at the event, only Ewing and Byron boy, Soli Bailey, enjoyed successful campaigns, with Ewing reaching the quarters and Bailey bowing out in Round 5. Unfortunately  a host of fellow countrymen, including Jack Freestone, Reef Heazlewood, Matt Wilkinson and Mikey Wright, all suffered early round exits. With just two major ‘QS events left on the calendar, the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and the Vans World Cup at Sunset, only Callinan and Ewing sit inside the ‘QS top ten, with Wright, Freestone, Heazlewood and Bailey all needing big results to climb the ladder and spark an Aussie resurgence on the ‘CT.

Here’s hoping Callinan’s big win serves as the catalyst to get it done.

Results:

Final

1. Ryan Callinan 15.13

2. Kanoa Igarashi 14.94

Semi-final 1

1. Ryan Callinan 12.17

2. Gabriel Medina 11.97

Semi-final 2

1. Kanoa Igarashi 13.90

2. Tanner Hendrickson 3.37