Two-time world champion Tyler Wright has launched her long-awaited return to competition but will have to progress the hard way after placing third in her seeding round heat at the Maui Pro in Honolua Bay.
The surfer from Culburra, who is back in action after a 17-month absence through illness, finished behind Lakey Peterson and Silvana Lima and will now contest the elimination round.
Fellow Aussies Sally Fitzgibbons, Stephane Gilmour, Bronte Macaulay and Macy Callaghan all made it through to the last 16 after winning their heats.
Keely Andrew (third), Paige Hareb (second) and Nikki Van Dijk (second) will also do battle in the elimination round.
The last time Wright competed in Hawaii's Maui Pro was in 2017 when she claimed her second world title.
She was initially diagnosed with Influenza A when she fell ill and hospitalised in South Africa ahead of the 2018 J-Bay Corona Open.
Wright now faces Johanne Defay and Brisa Hennessy in elimination heat 2.
With a wave score of 8.07, Fitzgibbons progressed ahead of compatriot Hareb and Costa Rica's Brisa Hennessy.
The 28-year-old's opponent is yet to be confirmed with Peterson and Carissa Moore the other heat winners.
Gilmore topped seeding heat 5 with a huge score of 12.33.
Western Australia's Macaulay won seeding heat 6 ahead of Tatiana Weston-Webb and Johanne Defay with a wave score of 15.67.
Callaghan won heat 1, with fellow Aussie Van Dijk second ahead of America's Caroline Marks.
Hawaii local Moore won heat 3 as she battles with Peterson and Marks to be crowned 2019 world champion in the final event of the women's season.