New Zealand's leading surfers bomb at US Open
New Zealand's leading surfers Paige Hareb, Ricardo Christie and Billy Stairmand all lost their opening heats as the US Open got under way in poor conditions in California today.
Without a favourable forecast organisers threw the surfers out in small, weak waves at Huntington Beach.
Not surprisingly there were some low scores, particularly in the women's event which is a full World Tour contest. The average wave score across the opening round was just 5.25 out of a possible 10.
Hareb struck a particularly frustrating half hour for her heat where she came second to Australian Tyler Wright in the sloppy surf.
Wright won with a two wave total of 10.67, Hareb scored just 6.53 and Australian Laura Enever trailed with 5.86.
That left Hareb contemplating a tricky second round elimination heat against Hawaii's Coco Ho.
With the tour delicately balanced at the halfway stage, Hareb desperately needs a good result. She lies 16th on the current rankings with the top 10 automatically qualifying for next year's tour. Ho is ranked 10th at present.
In the men's event which has a prime rating on the secondary tour, Christie and Stairmand don't have the luxury of a second chance.
They were both eliminated after failing to get in the top two positions in their four-man heats.
Christie totalled 8.40 for his two best waves to finish third in his heat while Stairmand's 11.94 also saw him placed third in his heat.
Earlier, New Zealand's world junior champion was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the junior women's contest.