BOTH Sally Fitzgibbons and Owen Wright have been forced to take the long route to the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games podium.
At the El Salvador event, which is acting as an Olympic Games warm-up for the South Coast duo's Irukandjis, both South Coast surfers were sent into the repechage rounds following early-round losses.
After dominating rounds one and two, Gerroa's Fitzgibbons couldn't continue her strong form going in the third round, finishing third in her heat.
The Kiama High School alumna's score of 4.40 saw her finish behind United States' Alyssa Spencer (10.16) and Portugal's Teresa Bonvalot (5.67), while just ahead of Mexico's Asaya Brusa (4.33).
This result saw the current world number two fall into the repechage rounds, making her assault on a medal that much harder.
She will now face Spain's Ariane Ochoa, Italy's Emily Gussoni and Indonesia's Kailani Johnson in the repechage four round, to try and work her way back into the main draw.
Differently, after dealing with a broken fin, Culburra Beach's Wright struggled through the first two qualifying rounds before returning to form in the third repechage round.
In his heat, Wright claimed first with a 9.90, edging out Sweden's Kian Martin (8.87), Barbados' Che Allan (7.37) and Russia's Nikita Avdeev (7.03).
Wright built on that in repechage round four, by recording a 16.17, to top his heat against Peru's Alonso Correa (13.2), Uruguay's Marco Giorgi (9.43) and Spain's Andy Criere (9.2).
The Culburra Beach Boardrider will now face Argentina' Santiago Muniz, Sweden's Kian Martin and Morocco's Aboubakar Bouaouda in the fifth repechage round.
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