BRISBANE - Five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore dined out as the women's world surfing tour event tackled the Fijian reef break called Restaurants for the first time yesterday.
Gilmore eased into the quarter-finals of the Fiji Women's Pro event, posting a 16.33 out of 20 in her third-round heat against South Africa's Bianca Buitendag and American Tatiana Weston-Webb.
The Australian made the most of pumping 1.5-2m surf at the Tavarua Island left-hander to book her place in the last eight as she aims to rebound from a disappointing second-round exit in Brazil earlier this month.
"When you're here on the island and you see these perfect left-handers out front at Restaurants it's hard not to have the competition here," Gilmore said.
"I love Restaurants, it's a challenging wave but it's also so mechanical so you can get into a rhythm and really do your thing. It went really well out there so I'm pleased."
The day didn't go to plan for Sally Fitzgibbons though, with the NSW surfer upset by Sydneysider Laura Enever.
Enever posted the biggest two-wave total of the competition (18.87), catching two nine-point waves to seal her passage to the quarter-finals.
"That was my first surf at Restaurants and I thought, I just need to catch a wave and see what happens on it," Enever said.
"I can't believe that just happened but I'm so stoked."
Fitzgibbons, coming off the back of an event win in Brazil which lifted her to second on the tour rankings, must now overcome fellow Aussie Tyler Wright in a sudden-death fourth-round heat to stay in the competition.
Tour rookie Dimity Stoyle continued her strong start to 2014, defeating world champion Carissa Moore in her three-woman third-round heat to advance to her second quarter-final of the year.
The Sunshine Coast surfer will face off with Moore again for a semi-final berth after the American overcame Weston-Webb in the day's final heat.