BOTH of the South Coast's Australian Olympic Games surf team members hit the water during the opening round of the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games at El Salvador.
Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons dominated her opening round heat, scoring a 10.34 to edge out Mexico's Asaya Brusa (10), Taiwan's Yun-Jung Chung (4.93) and Nicaragua's Maxima Resano (4.60) in heat four.
The former Kiama High School student, fresh off a win at the Rottnest Search, kept her strong form going in round two by chalking up a 12.34, to defeat Germany's Rachel Presti (10.96), Columbia's Margarita Conde (3.57) and Netherlands' Julia Van Rooji (2.47) - to easily progress to the round three.
When surfing resumes, current world number two Fitzgibbons will take on Mexico's Asaya Brusa, Portugal's Teresa Bonvalot and United States' Alyssa Spencer.
While Culburra Beach's Owen Wright had to settle for second place in his first round heat, with his score of 8.10 seeing him finish behind Philippines' Rogelio Esquivel Jr (10.23).
Rounding out heat 32 was Sweden's Kian Martin (6.77) and Dominican Republic's Leandro Castillo (5.80).
The Culburra Beach Boardrider then struggled in round two, finishing fourth, with a 3.67, behind Brazil's Felipe Toledo (11.60), Argentina's Santiago Muniz (10.10) and Spain's Andy Criere (9.90) - a result which saw him sent into the repechage section of the event.
"What an incredible start to the event," ISA president Fernando Aguerre said.
"We saw the women and men both shredding across these two amazing peaks.
"The men took centre stage on the webcast on the opening day, which is at La Bocana, but next time, the women will get their shot to show their surfing to the world.
"This is a record amount of women competing in the event and I can't wait for the global audience to see the talent they possess.
"You can feel the inspiration and desire in the air.
"With 12 slots for Tokyo up for grabs, these athletes are giving it their all - from their preparation all the way to each maneuver they perform.
"It is an honour to receive these 51 nations from all corners of the globe.
"We are the united nations of surfing, bring together the world in peace, through surfing."
The 2021 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games runs from May 29 - June 6, with Fitzgibbons and Wright being joined by Stephanie Gilmore, Julian Wilson and Ryan Callinan in the Australian Irukandjis side.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.