Italo Ferreira is safely through to the round of 16 ©Getty Images

Mick Fanning survived the elimination round only to be knocked out by Championship Tour leader Italo Ferreira later in the day as favourable conditions led to an abundance of action at the World Surf League (WSL) competition in Narrabeen.

Australia' Fanning, a three-time Championship Tour winner returning as a wildcard for this leg, eased through the elimination round with more than double the two-wave score of compatriot Connor O'Leary, who was eliminated from their three-surfer heat.

Brazil's Ferreira, who is also the reigning World Surf Games champion, was too strong in the round of 32 in northern Sydney, however, scoring 13.00 to Fanning's 9.33.

Ferreira did his damage early, scoring 6.50 on back-to-back waves, the second score coming via an elevation which featured a full rotation and frontside grab.

Compatriots Gabriel Medina - a two-time champion - Jadson Andre, Filipe Toledo and Caio Ibelli also advanced as 12 of 16 round-of-32 ties were completed.

John John Florence, a Hawaii-based American who like Medina is a two-time Championship Tour winner, made it through, while Australia's Ethan Ewing earned the best score of the round - 13.10 - to knock out compatriot Owen Wright,

In the women's contest, two-time champion Tyler Wright of Australia, who is still recovering from a fractured ankle, came through the elimination round.

Australians Laura Enever and Isabella Nichols were the two surfers to exit the women's competition as the line-up for the round of 16 was finalised.

France's Johanne Defay sent out a warning shot with her performance in the elimination round with a score of 16.66 - the best of the tournament so far.

Competition was briefly suspended today because of a shark sighting.