World surfing champion Tyler Wright is an early-round casualty at Bells Beach.Two-time defending world surf champion Tyler Wright and tour leader Lakey Peterson are massive third-round casualties at Bells Beach.
The two top seeds finished third in their heats on Sunday morning, eliminating them from the Rip Curl Pro field.
Wright’s quest for a third-straight world title is off to a shaky start, given she was knocked out in the quarter-finals last month at the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast.
Peterson has lost the world No.1 ranking she claimed for the first time by winning the season-opening Roxy Pro.
n great Stephanie Gilmore, the six-time world champion champion and three-time Bells Beach winner, took out her round-three heat to reach the quarters.
Hawaiian star Carissa Moore and American Carolina Marks also won their heats, while n Nikki Van Dijk, American Sage Erickson and Johanne Defay of France progressed by finishing second in the three-women heats.
But Wright was third in her heat behind Hawaiian Tatiania Weston-Webb and Brazilian Silvana Lima.
Weston-Webb posted the highest wave score so far in the Rip Curl Pro, a 9.23, and won the heat with 14.56.
Lima edged out Wright, 13.67 to 12.50.
“I didn’t feel like anything really went wrong out there,” Wright said.
“My boards felt on point, my surfing was good, overall I was happy with my performance, so I’m not too disappointed.
“I did have one fall, which reduced my score on that wave but apart from that everything felt great.
“I’ve got a bit of time before Margaret River (the next world tour event), so I’m just going to cruise for a week and the begin to focus on that.”
While Wright was philosophical, Peterson called her early elimination “a total opportunity lost”.
Marks, a tour rookie this year, and Erickson beat Peterson in their heat.
Competition was called off for the day after the four heats of the women’s third round.
While the forecast is looking solid during the week, conditions might not be good enough for competition on Monday.
The men’s third round is to come, featuring n great Mick Fanning in his swan song professional event.