World Surf League leader Tyler Wright insisted she had no regrets about her strategy after she crashed out of the Newcastle Cup when competition finally resumed at Merewether on Tuesday.
After four lay days, Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons were both shock casualties in the round of 16, while fellow Olympic surfer Stephanie Gilmore advanced safely into the quarter-finals.
Wright won the first event of the season in Hawaii in December to take the world No.1 ranking into the first of four Australian WSL events, but was eliminated by American Courtney Conlogue.
With long breaks between sets contributing to a lack of opportunities for Fitzgibbons, who was upset by fellow Australian Keely Andrew, Wright opted for a different approach.
The two-time world champion took a risk, surfing the first 11 minutes of the heat in the shore break, giving Conlogue full reign of the bigger waves on the outside.
While she looked in great form Wright couldn't find the big score she was searching for, and then opted to join world No.9 Conlogue out the back.
The American meanwhile, posted a 7.0 which she backed up with a 5.30 while Wright only managed mid fives for her two best waves.
But a relaxed Wright, who is returning to full-time competition after a long battle with illness, felt she was only just off the pace.
"I thought, strategy-wise it was pretty well thought out," Wright said.
"I thought we did a great job and there's not too many things I'd change - I was about two clicks off, which is like two metres off, two critical waves.
"It was a big playing field and it was split between inside and outside so I rolled the dice and bet on me and it was pretty close but Courtney made the most of her opportunities."
Fitzgibbons bowed out in a frustrating heat, falling to Queenslander Andrew.
Former world No.2 Fitzgibbons was starved of waves, while Andrew made the most of her chances to seal her second win in their nine meetings.
Andrew had priority on the final wave of the heat in the last few seconds, and produced her best score with a 7.40 and after posting an earlier 6.63, earned an emphatic win.
In other results, seven-time world champion Gilmore eliminated rising Australian star Macy Callaghan, while another young local Isabella Nichols overcame Brazilian Tatiana Weston-Webb.
Hawaiian Carissa Moore, who Wright edged in the opening event, looked in ominous form, posting the highest score among the women en route to a win over qualifier Philippa Anderson.