Sally Fitzgibbons has managed to claw her way out of a "pickle" at the Narrabeen Classic in Sydney but Tyler Wright wasn't so lucky after committing a costly tactical error.
Fitzgibbons trailed fellow Australian Macy Callaghan in their round of 16 heat before pulling off a 6.93 wave with nine minutes to go to take the lead by 0.33 and eventually secure the win.
The result allowed Fitzgibbons to move into the quarter-finals of the World Surf League event, where she'll take on Brazilian Tatiana Weston-Webb.
"That was definitely a close one," Fitzgibbons said on the WSL broadcast.
"You have to be really patient between sets. I got into a big of a pickle but I just backed myself.
"I knew I could get out of it if the opportunity came.
"I think that's one of the funnest parts of putting on the jersey, just watching yourself get hijacked by desire almost.
"You want it so bad, those glasses go on and every wave looks like an eight.
"It was definitely a highlight moment.
"Coming from behind you can feel the energy from the crowd."
Wright was in the box seat in her heat against Johanne Defay after posting a two-wave total of 12.97 and holding priority with less than two minutes remaining.
Defay needed a 7.14 to retake the lead and Wright used up her priority when she blocked the Frenchwoman from taking a late wave.
But moments later Defay took a better wave and she made the most of it to post an 8-point ride to pip Wright 13.83 to 12.97.
It means Wright has posted consecutive ninth-placed finishes since winning the season-opening Maui Pro in Hawaii.
"I had a little cry out there. It's insane," Defay, who will now take on Caroline Marks for a place in the semi-finals, said.
"So much pressure and she had the heat and she had the priority.
"But two times I made her go on the first wave (to give up her priority).
"I'm really happy that wave stood up ... I'm so stoked."
Seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore progressed to the quarter-finals by easily accounting for Sage Erickson, and will face another American in Courtney Conlogue next.
Keely Andrew, the third Australian in the last eight, will need to defeat four-time world champion and world No.1 Carissa Moore of Hawaii to advance to the semi-finals.