Rookie pro Nikita Robb kept the South African flag flying as her seeded compatriots all fell by the wayside, in epic surf at Margaret River in Western Australia on Thursday.
Competing in the Margaret River Drug Aware Pro for the first time, and starting in heat one of round one, Robb surfed impressively to earn 6.0 and 5.9 point rides for a comfortable victory to joined the top seeds in round two.
There the teenaged East Londoner opened her account with 6.50 and 5.50 point rides, to clinch second spot behind Brazilian Julia Quint and advance to the last 24 at the expense of world number 7 Claire Bevilacqua (Aus) and compatriot Tammy-Lee Smith (Salt Rock, KZN).
SA’s sole representative on the ASP Women’s World Tour, Rosanne Hodge, also from East London, posted a 5.25 early in her opening match-up and then spent the rest of the heat trying to better a 3.40, eventually placing third for an early exit from the contest.
For Friday’s round three Robb is pitted against world number 2 Margaret River local Melanie Redman-Carr, World Tour rookie Melanie Bartels (Haw) and seven year World Tour veteran Serena Brooke (Aus) in what will be one of the toughest line-ups she will have faced in her fledgling professional surfing career.