A disappointing first wave hasn't stopped Stephanie Gilmore staying in contention for a final berth at the WSL Freshwater Pro tour event in California.
After waiting most of the day to get in the water at Kelly Slater's surf ranch in Lemoore, Gilmore pulled out early in her first left-hand ride, scoring a lowly 2.33 out of 10.
Each rider gets two left-hand and two right-hand breaking waves in their heat with the best ride from each putting together a combined score.
Gilmore then posted a 7.23 with her first right-hander and recovered on her second run of the heat with a 7.77 on her second left-hand ride to finish third in the six-person heat.
The seven-time world champion's 15 out 20 wasn't enough however to prevent France's Johanne Defay (17.50) and American Lakey Peterson (15.70) securing the top two positions in the heat and a bonus run.
The first and second place getters in the three six-women heats each automatically get a bonus left and right hand run along with the next six-highest ranked competitors.
The four best two-wave combinations will secure a spot in the final, meaning Gilmore is hoping for low scores when the two remaining heats are contested on Friday (Saturday 0100 AEST).
Australia's Sally Fitzgibbons and world no.1 Carissa Moore will both be in action when competition resumes.
In the men's competition, Julian Wilson and Adrian Buchan are the only Australians currently in with a shot of making the eight-man final.
Wilson posted a 13.84 out of 20 while Buchan scored 13.70 to sit sixth and seventh on the leaderboard with two heats yet to be held.
Brazil's Gabriel Medina put in the performance of the day, scoring a 9.00 on his second right-hander on the way to a 17.77 as he aims to defend the event title.
Jack Freestone and Ryan Callinan are the only Australians yet to hit the water in the men's section.
Australian Associated Press