Both South Coast surf stars, Tyler Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons, have progressed to round three of the Vans US Open of Surfing – the sixth stop on the championship tour.
In clean four-to-five foot waves, Culburra Beach’s Tyler Wright, the reigning WSL Champion, took down Hawaiian Coco Ho and trials winner Maud Le Car, from France, in round one heat three.
The ratings leader went to work with a strong 7.10 and 4.87 second wave score.
The result advances Wright directly into round three, where she will meet Hawaiian pair Tatiana Weston-Webb and Coco Ho.
“I wanted to make the most of that wave when it came through without completely safety-surfing it,” Wright said.
“It was quite a fumble on my behalf.
“I probably went a bit too straight up into the lip when I could’ve just gone around so I adjusted that on my second wave for that seven.
“Last year at this event and Trestles, I spent a couple of months here, which set up my whole run through those events and continued into France and Portugal as well.
“Having that time where I could just focus on boards and surfing really set me up coming here again.”
Gerroa’s Sally Fitzgibbons, who is one of the favourites, matched Wright’s achievements and opened with a convincing round one win over compatriot Keely Andrew and South Africa's Bianca Buitendag.
Fitzgibbons moved straight to round three, where she will take on United States’ Sage Erickson and Brazil’s Silvana Lima.
“With the number of winners we’ve had – and on any given day – any of these surfers can take this event out,” Fitzgibbons said.
“It creates a lot of excitement in me and even right to the buzzer you never know if you’ve got a heat won so you’re just on a hustle.
“I want to keep building my performance and bring out my best surfing.”