One-armed Hawaiian wildcard Bethany Hamilton's dream run at the Fiji Pro came to an end in the semi-finals, but not before she helped put the punctuation mark on a disastrous week for Australia's best female surfers.
Hamilton lost her semi-final battle to the competition's eventual winner, France's Johanne Defay by 6.41 points, after she earlier beat Australia's Nikki Van Dijk in a low-scoring quarter-final by a meagre 1.07.
Australia's 2009 world junior champion Laura Enever and two-time Fiji Pro winner Sally Fitzgibbons then followed Van Dijk out the door, dumped out of the competition in their quarter-finals. Defay then went on to beat three-time world champion Carissa Moore in the final, banking an early ride of 8.67 to gain an upper-hand she never released as she went on to win by a margin of 2.76.
However it was the 26-year-old Hamilton, who lost her arm to a shark attack at age 13 in 2003, who lit up the Cloudbreak event. She first knocked out world ratings leader Tyler Wright in the second round, before defeating six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore in the third round on Monday.
However she couldn't produce the same heroics against the more experienced Defay, her best rides of 4.23 and 6.83 no match for the French women's combined total of 17.47.
"It was like a dream competing in the Fiji Pro, and this is like a dream come true," Hamilton said.
Earlier, Enever was always on the back foot in her quarter-final against Hawaiian Moore, who opened the scoring in their quarter-final with a perfect 10.
Enever then produced wave scores of 9.67 and 6.10, to ensure the second highest individual score of the quarter final round at 15.77, however it wasn't enough to beat Moore who finished with 19.03.
Fitzgibbons then failed to defend her Fiji Pro title, opening the scoring with a ride of 7.0 against South African Bianca Buitendag before fighting her way through four low-scoring waves. In contrast, her South African opponent put together a combined score of 14.40 to win the battle by 3.73 points, before she eventually fell to Moore.
FANNING TO SURF FIJI PRO
Mick Fanning will return to the water at next week's Fiji Pro.
Fanning, who is taking a sabbatical this season after drama-filled 2015, finished 13th and third respectively in the first two events of the year on the Gold Coast and at Bells Beach before missing the Margaret River Pro and the last competition in Rio.
However, he has been confirmed as a starter for Cloudbreak, slotted alongside fellow-Australian Kai Otten and France's Jeremy Flores for a first-round heat starting on Sunday.
The 34-year-old said he would surf intermittently when he announced he would be taking a personal year in February.
He also indicated he would likely surf at Jeffrey's Bay in South Africa, where he survived a shark attack while competing in a final against fellow-Australian Julian Wilson last year.
Fanning finished second in last year's world title, beaten by Brazilian Adrian de Souza at the season-ending Pipe Masters in Hawaii, in the same week where the Australian's brother Peter died of heart issues.