Reigning World Surf League champion Carissa Moore is through to the round of 16 ©Getty Images

World Surf League Championship Tour leaders Carissa Moore and Italo Ferreira avoiding having to face the elimination round as competition began at the Narrabeen leg.

Brazil's Ferreira, the defending men's champion, recorded the best two-wave score of the day, 14.16, to win his heat and advance to the round of 32 off coast of northern Sydney.

Mick Fanning, the Australian is who a three-time former champion and a wildcard at the second of four consecutive Australian legs, was last in Ferreira's three-athlete heat so faces the elimination round.

Fanning will be up against compatriot Connor O'Leary - one of two surfers with a score above 9.50 not to advance - and Frenchman Jeremy Flores.

Of the 12 men who scored 10.00 or better, half were Brazilians, including Filipe Toledo's 13.34 and 11.67 for two-time Championship Tour winner Gabriel Medina.

In the women's contest, home surfer Sally Fitzgibbons produced the best two-wave score with 10.67.

Moore, from Hawaii in the United States, scored 8.50 to progress to the last 16, second in her heat behind Australian Nikki Van Dijk.

Japan's Amuro Tsuzuki had an ideal debut, with the injury replacement scoring 8.60 to finish second in heat five and secure a spot in the last 16.

Tsuzuki is the first Japanese woman to make a Championship Tour appearance since 1996.

Despite a two-wave total of 8.20, which would have been enough to progress from every other heat, two-time champion Tyler Wright of Australia faces the elimination round.

Tomorrow's forecast is favourable.