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Russel Winter (UK) feels at home in Newcastle, Oz.

Russel in Newquay, sorry Newcastle. Pic: Joli

British surfer feels right at home in Newcastle

British boardrider Russell Winter felt right at home in the wind-swept surf but it was a hot batch of Australians who dominated proceedings on day five of the Mark Richards Newcastle City Pro.

Winter, the only European on the top tier World Championship Tour, revelled in the wild and woolly two-metre waves on offer at Newcastle Beach to charge into round eight of the $A120,000 contest.

"The surf out there reminded me of England," the 25 year-old said.

"It was quite windy and a bit bumpy, just like it is back at home in Newquay (Cornwall), so the conditions are fine with me".

Winter shone brightly but it was the Aussie contingent that set the four star world qualifying seRies aglow.

The standouts include Taj Burrow from Western Australia, Central Coast youngster Glenn Hall, Sydney-siders Kurt Jacobs and Tom Whittaker, Gold coast trio Health Walker, Scott Wildin and Shannon Pollard, plus MacDonald brothers, Anthony and Philip from the NSW south coast.

Whipper-snapper Burrow, the world No.6, somehow found a long tube ride on a break where others had trouble getting their minimum three waves.

"I was having fun because I felt pretty confident," said Burrow, who emerged from the water with about four minutes still left on the clock.

Winter, ranked 35th in the world, returned to the circuit this month after enduring a horror run with injuries and illness last year.

The no-nonsense natural footer developed a debilitating blood infection after wiping out on a reef on Tahiti, then he tore his medial ligaments several months later.

"I´m feeling a lot better now, I want to get on with it."

Other overseas competitors who impressed today included three-time world title holder Tom Curran (US), Hawaiian Roy Power, New Zealander Maz Quinn and Brazilian quintet Fabio Silva, Tanio Bareto, Wilson Nora, Otavio Lima and Danilo Costa.

Big names hitting the water for the first time tomorrow include two time Mark Richards Pro champion Mark Occhilupo, Queenslander and defending contest holder Mick Fanning, 1994 champ Shane Powell and hometown favourite Luke Egan

Press - Surfersvillage.


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