Australian surfer Sally Fitzgibbons has defied medical advice and a perforated eardrum to reach the quarter-finals at the Fiji Women’s Pro.
The defending champion had a bandage covering her ear as she scored a 17.10 against compatriot Laura Enever (14.77) and the United States’ Lakey Peterson (13.07) in their third-round heat at Cloudbreak on Tuesday.
The three-time world championship runner-up was in visible pain after falling on her side in a second-round wipeout.
She said medical advice was to stop surfing and advised others not to surf with such an injury.
“When it happened, the waves were going morphed,” she said.
“It was really a shock to the system.
“I came back to regroup and thought it’s not ideal but I really had to give it a shot.”
Victorian Nikki Van Dijk (11.27) dealt with messy conditions to claim the round against NSW’s world No.3 Tyler Wright (8.67) and Hawaii’s Malia Manuel (10.50).
It was a breakthrough for the 20-year-old, who was last year left bloodied and stitched after hitting the reef at the same event.
“I know how it feels to get hurt like Sally and it was really good to watch her getting back out there,” Van Dijk said.
“I’m trying to think about that and just having a great time.”
Both winning Aussies get to leapfrog the sudden-death fourth round.
Enever will battle Hawaii’s Coco Ho, while Wright will battle France’s Johanne Defay in fourth-round elimination heats.
Queenslanders Keely Andrew (8.27) was knocked out by Manuel (12.87) in the second round, while Dimity Stoyle (14.17) was shown the door by Defay (15.10).