East End Boardriders member Sarah Baum bounced back to produce the standout performance on day one of the women's Port Stephen Pro at Birubi Beach on Sunday.
The Newcastle-based South African posted the highest two-wave score, 15.5, to win her round one heat at the 1000-point qualifying series event.
The goofy-footer, who won two 1000-point events last year, was a surprise round-two casualty at the opening contest this season, the Great Lakes Pro, last week.
She next faces Sophie McCulloch, who was runner-up at Great Lakes, Holly Williams and Angela Ball.
"I learnt a lot of lessons from the last event and I think I was just too relaxed," Baum said. "I just wanted to stay really busy in that heat and I knew there were some fun little waves if you could hunt them down.
"I think the hiatus from QS events allowed me to really dial in my board and the Australian Open of Surfing series definitely helped get all of us back into the competitive mind space."
Also through was Newcastle's Amelie Bourke, who was second in her heat with 9.1. She next faces Great Lakes winner Molly Picklum, Carly Shanahan and Nyxie Ryan.
Merewether's Philippa Anderson, a semi-finalist at Great Lakes, starts her campaign against Bodhi Leigh-Jones, Sai Maniwa and Shaye Leeuwendal in round two.
In the men's, local hiope Mike Clayton-Brown won his round one heat with a 14.5 total.