Billy Stairmand and Ella Williams are moving on.
The Kiwi surfing duo made a great start to their campaigns at Japan's Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in the first day of surfing competition in Olympic Games history, progressing to the round of 16.
Williams impressed in her opening heat of the competition, finishing second behind American Caroline Marks and earning a straight pass into the third round.
Marks raced out to the lead early, posting two scores above the six-point mark to run away with the heat. But the battle for second was a heated affair, with the Whangamata athlete duking it out against Costa Rica's Leilani McGonagle and Portugal's Yolanda Hopkins.
Williams and McGonagle traded spots on the leaderboard several times in the heat, but ultimately it was Williams who got the score when it counted. With a 9.70 heat total, Williams moved straight through to round three tomorrow – avoiding the first elimination round – where she will meet World Surf League Championship Tour competitor Brisa Hennessy, also of Costa Rica.
"We just assess the conditions hour by hour and take it as it comes," Williams said of her approach to the competition.
"The conditions are changing so much you really just have to be adaptable and take whatever comes."
Stairmand had to go the long way into the round of 16, finishing third in his opening heat and being forced to compete in the first elimination round later in the day.
The Raglan surfer made a fast start to his heat, scoring a 5.00 and a 3.83 inside the opening minutes to take an early lead and put the pressure on his opponents.
In small but consistent waves, Stairmand wasn't able to better his two-wave total until late in the heat, replacing his 3.83 late in the heat with a 4.97, but his 9.97 total was not enough to get a free pass through to round three.
With a heat already under his belt, Stairmand came out swinging in the second round, mixing up his approach with a combination of power surfing and aerial moves. Posting a two-wave total of 11.34, the Raglan surfer punched his own ticket into the round of 16.
"I felt good," Stairmand said of his second heat.
"I felt like my airs were pretty solid. I just felt way more comfortable on my feet there and way more comfortable on my equipment. Usually, I don't do too many airs on my frontside so I thought I'd mix it up and make it more exciting for everyone at home.
"I feel confident in my surfing and my ability. I keep saying the same thing, but I'm enjoying it. It's just so much fun being here - Ella actually motivated me. She made the heat before me so that kind of revved me up a little bit which is good.
"We've got a good team spirit; carrying this flag on our shoulders, and representing New Zealand on the big stage."
Stairmand will meet reigning world champion Italo Ferreira of Brazil in the round of 16, which is expected to be held at 5.12pm on Monday – conditions permitting.