In shifting three-to-five foot waves, current world number one Mick Fanning of Australia was eliminated as Dane Reynolds of the USA produced the upset of the day in round three.
Reynolds, a former ASP WCT competitor and a wildcard into the competition, was delighted after sending Fanning out of the competition in stunning fashion.
“That was a tough heat,” Reynolds said. “I was nervous before the heat coming up against Mick (Fanning) in kind of tense conditions.
“The peaks are all over the place and unfortunately for Mick he was out of rhythm and broke his board. It’s not easy out there.
“There’s obviously not pressure on myself to get a result here like Mick, but I still want to perform and surf well.”
Reynolds secured the fourth perfect 10 of the event for an incredible free-fall drop on his forehand, navigating through several critical sections and exiting to the raucous applause of thousands on the beach.
Meanwhile, Kolohe Andino of the USA, the 18-year-old rookie, caused another huge upset as he sent world number three and title-challenger Taj Burrow packing.
The 34-year-old Australian could not produce under immense pressure from Andino, who won their third-round encounter with an inspired performance.
“I’m really stoked to get through that heat,” Andino said. “Taj (Burrow) has been one of my favourite surfers for so long and he’s so deadly in these conditions.
“I was really lucky that a backup score didn’t come to him and I was able to find that pretty good one at the end. The fourth round is the best of my year so far so I’m just excited to keep going.”
Miguel Pupo took out the third big Australian scalp with some last minute heroics against current world number 11 Julian Wilson in a fiercely-competitive third-round clash.
Wilson opened up his account with a near-perfect 9.87, out of a possible 10, for an impressive backhand barrel, but was unable to overtake a late charge from the Brazilian goofy-footer.
Round two results
Heat 8: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.67 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.93
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.33 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 1.83
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.17 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.37
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS) 19.33 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.50
Heat 12: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.76 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.40
Round three results
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 15.17 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 6.43
Heat 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.40 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.97
Heat 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.27 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.07
Heat 4: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.84 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.50
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.60 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 5.50
Heat 6: Dane Reynolds (USA) 16.50 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 2.60
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.07 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 6.60
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.76 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 7.70
Round three match-ups
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 11: Gabriel Medina (BRA) Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 12: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)