West Australian Taj Burrow made the most of tricky conditions to book his way straight into the third round of the Margaret River Pro surf event.
Eleven-times world surfing champion Kelly Slater and 2012 champion Joel Parkinson endured disappointing starts to the Margaret River Pro, but local hope Taj Burrow survived a day of upsets.
Both Slater and Parkinson failed to win their opening-round heats, thrusting the duo into elimination encounters in the second round.
Just a day after splitting with long-time sponsor Quiksilver, Slater’s combined wave score of 11.87 wasn’t enough to beat West Australian Yadin Nicol, who posted 15.23 to easily win the heat.
Parkinson also succumbed to the opening-day wobbles, with his score of 10.83 proving insufficient against countryman Adam Melling (13.17).
Slater will tackle Australian Nathan Hedge in the second round, while Parkinson will confront Queensland’s Mitch Coleborn.
New South Welshman Owen Wright, American CJ Hobgood, Brazilian Adriano De Souza, John John Florence and Bede Durbidge were other big names to miss out on direct passage to the third round.
The news was better for West Australian Burrow, who moved straight into the third round after his two-wave score of 10.77 was enough to see off American Brett Simpson (9.50) and Hawaii’s Freddy Patacchia Jr (7.60) in their three-man heat.
Defending world champion Mick Fanning joined Burrow in making it straight through to the third round.
Slater was with Quiksilver for almost 24 years, but was adamant there was no animosity behind the split.
“There’s nothing bad involved in it,” Slater told the ASP World Tour website.
“It’s been a sad couple of days for me emotionally processing that.
“But it’s all good feeling. It’s been a long time planning. It’s just the way things work out. That’s business sometimes.”