Whangamata's Ella Williams charged her way through to the final six surfers in the qualifying rounds of the girl's under-18 division at the 2012 world junior surfing championship in Panama overnight (NZT).
Williams progressed through two rounds on a tough day of surfing that saw five of her teammates eliminated from the event in solid 1.5m-2.0m waves.
Five New Zealand surfers will head into the final three days of the event as divisions are narrowed down to the final 30 surfers in each division, a third of the original 303 surfers from 31 countries. New Zealand are 10th on the overall standings with Peru the only nation to have all of surfers remaining in the event.
Williams still has a lot of work to do to make the final but, if she can progress through the qualifying rounds without being relegated to the repecharge, is only two heats away from the grand final.
"It's pretty cool I'm so happy to make it this far," she said. "Now I just have to keep going. It was fun conditions. I have worked so hard to get here and now it's paying off."