Australian surfer Owen Wright has suffered a shock early exit at the Fiji Pro on returning to the scene of his greatest performance.
Sitting equal-second in the world championship standings, Wright was eliminated in the third round by Ian Gouveia at Cloudbreak on Monday.
Wright recorded a combined score of 15.26 from his two-best waves to his Brazilian opponent’s 15.66 in two-metre waves.
Two years ago in Fiji, Wright became the first man to record a perfect 20 score twice at the same event on the way to winning the 2015 title.
He missed his title defence – and all the rest of last season – after a head injury suffered in the 2015 finale at Pipeline in Hawaii.
His comeback season was in full swing to sit equal second on the 2017 championship standings having won March’s Gold Coast pro but Monday’s disappointment will see him fall down the rankings.
In better news for Australians, Julian Wilson and Matt Wilkinson won their third-round heats.
Wilson knocked out Portugal’s Frederico Morais, while world no.5 Wilkinson beat Brazil’s Miguel Pupo.
Three-time world champion Mick Fanning of Australia will meet Tahitian Michel Bourez in the third round.
Earlier on Monday, Australia’s world no.12 Adrian Buchan was eliminated by Italian Leonardo Fioravanti in round two.
But countryman Stuart Kennedy fared better with an upset win over Hawaii’s Ezekiel Lau, who sits 16 places above him in the standings.
In an all-Australian second-round heat, Bede Durbidge eliminated Josh Kerr and faces American Kolohe Andino in the third round.
American legend Kelly Slater, an 11-time world champion, beat rising Australian Ethan Ewing in the second round to set up a clash against another Aussie, Connor O’Leary.