Paige Hareb ninth in Fiji World Tour event
Top Kiwi surfer Paige Hareb had to be content with ninth after being eliminated in the fourth round of the world tour in Fiji today.
Hareb lost a low-scoring heat to Hawaiian Malia Manuel in demanding conditions at Cloudbreak.
Manuel scored 8.50 out of 20 for her two best waves with Hareb totalling 7.00.
It was a landmark day for women's surfing with the organisers moving the venue out to the tricky reef break in triple overhead waves after yesterday's heats were run in smaller conditions at contest HQ on Tavarua Island.
Unlike the opening heat of the day when plenty of waves came through for Sally Fitzgibbons (15.57) to beat fellow Aussie Tyler Wright (13.93), Hareb and Manuel had to dodge some massive waves, trying to find something to ride.
They couldn't catch any in the opening 10 minutes, forcing the judges to reset the clock for the half-hour heat.
And the testing times continued.
Hareb nabbed a 3.17 wave to lead halfway through the heat, but with the clock ticking down the 20-year-old Manuel took the risk of picking off some of the smaller waves and reaped her reward with a busy patch late in the heat.
Hareb got a decent-sized wave with time almost up but couldn't scored the 4.68 required.
The result earned her US$9500 (NZ$11,200) and 3300 ranking points.
It was her third ninth placing of the year out of five events and will help her world ranking of 15 when the ratings are adjusted once the event finishes.
But she will see it as a bit of a missed opportunity at a contest site that suited her and her quest to get back into the world top 10 and guarantee her place for next year.
Hareb will have to charge hard over the back end of the season. The tour takes a break until late July when the US Open is held at Huntington Beach in California.