Merewether's Ryan Callinan kept his Olympic hopes alive in Hawaii on Wednesday (ADST), but he remains in competition with five fellow Australians and 11-time world champion Kelly Slater to claim an automatic Games berth.
Callinan, ranked 12th on the World Surf League standings with 27,535 points, advanced to the round of 32 at the Pipe Masters by finishing second in his opening heat.
However, the 27-year-old goofy footer needs to progress deep into the season-ending event in order to guarantee a trip to Tokyo in 2020.
A top-10 finish on the championship tour (CT) gives a male surfer's country an Olympic quota spot. Each nation can have a maximum of two places.
US legend Slater (10th on 30,090 points) also won through to the round of alongside Aussie surfers Owen Wright (7th on 34,780), Julian Wilson (11th on 29,525), Wade Carmichael (14th on 26,760), Adrian Buchan (16th on 25,630) and Jack Freestone (18th on 24,120).
A round of 32 exit is worth 1330 points while the Pipe winner picks up 10,000.
Callinan will now go head-to-head with Freestone.
Wright, Wilson and Carmichael meet Brazilians Yago Dora, Willian Cardoso and Caio Ibelli respectively.
Slater, who is the third-highest ranked American behind Kolohe Andino (5th on 44,665) and John John Florence (8th on 34,285), has Frenchman Joan Duru.
Five surfers are still in contention for the world title - Italo Ferreira, Gabriel Medina, Jordy Smith, Filipe Toledo and Andino.
Meanwhile, Merewether's Morgan Ciblic is one step closer to qualifying for next year's CT with Brazilian pair Deivid Silva and Dora both reaching the round of 32.