Australian surfer Robson nails perfect 10 in Portugal
Australia's Callum Robson has held his nerve to produce the first perfect 10-point ride of the World Surf League championship season in the nick of time.
Robson was facing an early exit from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, needing a big score in the dying minutes of his elimination round heat against Brazil's Gabriel Medina and Frenchman Maxime Huscenot at Supertubos Beach on Sunday.
When a huge wave appeared, he launched into a deep drop, barely making the bottom turn then disappearing from view before rocketing out of the tube and drawing a 10 from the judges to advance.
"It feels really good, especially in a moment where I needed it the most," said 22-year-old Robson.
"I was so happy, I was clapping so hard that my hands got sore."
Following the men's elimination round competition in Peniche was put on hold while organisers waited for the massive swell to ease down and the tide to turn.
Later in the day, Robson also advanced through his Round of 32 match-up over compatriot Liam O'Brien, while a number of big names bowed out.
Former world champions Kelly Slater and John John Florence were eliminated as was current world No.2 Brazil's Felipe Toledo and No.4 Italian Leonardo Fioravanti.
While two round of 32 heats are still to be completed, five Australians including Robson and rankings leader Jack Robinson are through to the round of 16.
Robinson next takes on compatriot Ryan Callinan.
There are two all-Australian showdowns in the women's event, which is also up to the round of 16 stage.
Veterans Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons square off as do young guns Isabella Nichols and Molly Picklum, who leads the rankings alongside Hawaiian Carissa Moore.
Macy Callaghan and Sophie McCulloch also remain alive.