NCH SPORTSurfest 2015. Heat One. Dixon Park Beach. Picture shows Jackson Baker. 17th February 2015 NewcastleNCH SPORT PIC JONATHAN CARROLLMEREWETHER teenager Jackson Baker collected the biggest scalp of his promising career when he eliminated 2000 world surfing champion Sunny Garcia on his home beach at the Sunset Beach Pro in Hawaii.
Baker finished second in his round-three heat of the 3000-point World Qualifying Series contest with a total of 8.73 from scores of 3.83 and 4.90.
Hawaiian Billy Kemper won the four-man heat with scores of 4.10 and 6.67 (10.77), and 45-year-old Garcia was eliminated in third with 3.67 and 3.50 (7.17).
Baker, 18, was ranked 146th on the WQS before the contest and well within reach of his goal to finish inside the top 150 and gain entry into 6000-point events for 2016.
In his first full year on the WQS, Baker also had aspirations of placing in the top 80 to 100 and securing starts in 10,000-point contests next season.
He was to face Hawaiians Kaimana Jaquias and Koa Smith and Australian Sheldon Simkus in round four.
Meanwhile, Merewether clubmate Ryan Callinan lifted his hopes of making the world championship tour with a dominant first heat at the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival in Brazil.
Callinan started in round two of the 6000-point event and posted scores of 5.17 and 8.73 (13.90) to win his four-man heat ahead of countryman Soli Bailey (12.87), American Patrick Gudauskas (10.83) and Frenchman Paul Cesar Distinguin (9.84).
He was set to meet Kiron Jabour, Hiroto Arai and Ezekiel Lau in round three.
Callinan was sixth in the WQS ratings before early exits in two 10,000-point contests in Portugal dropped him outside the top-10 position needed to make the 2016 WCT.
It prompted the trip to Brazil, where he made a first-heat exit at the Florianopolis Pro to fall to 11th on the rankings before the Mahalo contest.