Australian Sally Fitzgibbons is well-placed to qualify for the semi-finals of the World Surf League event in California after finishing day two in third spot at the man-made break at Surf Ranch in Lemoore.
Fitzgibbons (14.93), ranked second on tour in 2021 after five completed events, sits behind France’s Johanne Defay (16.63) and Hawaii’s four-time reigning WSL Champion Carissa Moore (15.17) at Surf Ranch.
The unique event format gives the top six women the chance to improve their position with two extra bonus waves on Sunday, former tour runner-up Fitzgibbons a strong show of making the last four.
Fellow Australian and seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore (13.86) finished agonisingly short of getting bonus waves, just 0.01 points off sixth spot in seventh.
For the semi-finals, each surfer rides four waves over two runs on a left and right break, with the best on each side creating the surfer’s total score.
The top two surfers advance to the final.
Meanwhile, some inspired surfing by Australian Ethan Ewing (14.54) has left him with a prime opportunity to make the eight-man semi-finals.
An outstanding bonus run saw Ewing improve on his score and jump up to fourth, pushing 11-times world champion Kelly Slater below the semi-finals cut in the process.
“I feel pretty good,” said Ewing.
“It feels amazing to finish a left because I’ve been really struggling with that, it’s really hard. Hopefully I can stay in that top eight, it sounds really good to be in the finals day.”
Compatriot Owen Wright (14.27) is also within the cut in seventh.
Filipe Toledo (17.8) from Brazil leads the way while countryman and two-time world champion Gabriel Medina (17) is second.