Thirroul's Owen Wright in Teahupo'o quarter-finals

Owen Wright scores big on near perfect waves in Tahiti on Tuesday.
Owen Wright scores big on near perfect waves in Tahiti on Tuesday.


Australian surfers have shone in the fourth round of the Billabong Surf Pro in Tahiti, with Thirroul's Owen Wright and Josh Kerr earning direct quarter-final advances.

Owen triumphed over Filipe Toledo and fellow Aussie Kai Otton with a score of 8.17, while Kerr trumped Wiggolly Dantas and giant-killing Spaniard Aritz Aranburu to qualify directly for the final eight.

Aranburu had earlier eliminated second-ranked Mick Fanning in a shock third round victory.

"I think we all forgot how shallow this wave actually is," said Kerr of the iconic reef break of Teahupo'o.

"Now, when the good ones come it's very shallow. I bumped the reef and I saw Ace [Buchan] do the same on his last wave."

Wright echoed his compatriot's sentiment.

"It's so shallow and every time you take off you can just see the reef," he said.

"It's crucial to make those waves now and that really played into that heat."

Defending Tahiti champion Gabriel Medina and 11-time WSL champion Kelly Slater also held off stiff competition to snare the other two automatic quarter-final spots.

"I'm stoked to make it through to tomorrow and make it to the final day and I think we're going to have great waves," said Slater.

Earlier, a 'perfect-10' wave score from lowly ranked American CJ Hobgood thwarted Julian Wilson's chance to leap to the top of the World Surf League standings.

The Australian world title contender was eliminated after losing his third-round battle 13.60 to 9.50.

The world No 36 pulled a rabbit out of a hat in the last five minutes of an otherwise uneventful heat, emerging faultlessly from a barrel that looked to have swallowed him up.

It was the first 'perfect-10' of the tournament.

"As I'm bracing for it, these two little angels on fluffy little pillows appeared, then I saw the light," said Hobgood, who lost to Slater in round four and will now compete for a quarter-final spot with Aranburu.

"Then I was like 'Dude who cares if I lose, just make your last wave a 10'."

Wilson joins Fanning as Australians to have missed an opportunity to capitalise on the elimination of Brazilian ratings leader Adriano de Souza.

Aussie Joel Parkinson (14.60) was also bundled out earlier by Frenchman Jeremy Flores. - AAP


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