Ibon Oregui set the biggest wave score of the opening day ©ISA/Jersson Barboza

Former gold medallists Jimena Ruiz of Costa Rica and Brazilians Felipe Kizu Lima and Roberto Pino led their respective classifications at the World Para Surfing Championships in Pismo Beach as they look to return to the top of the podium.

After two of four rounds in the women's stand two qualification stage, Ruiz holds pole position with 9.33 points in California ahead of Brazil's Malu Mendes and France's Laurie Phipps on 7.46 and 4.8 points, respectively.

Lima established a 3.57-point gap over Frenchman Guillaume Colin with 15.67 in the open sit qualifier while his compatriot Pino leads the men's stand one division with 13.16 points from Australian John Wheele's 11.1.

Ibon Oregui was the stand out performer of the debutants as he set the highest single wave score of any classification.

The Spaniard notched up 9.33 points in the men's kneel on his way to 15.83 overall to lead Welshman Llywlyn Williams on 14.73.

"I practiced triathlon and ironman for most of my life, the last twenty years," Oregui said.

"I had an accident when I was running.

"A car crashed into me two years ago and I lost my leg.

Liv Stone, left, is battling compatriot Faith Lennox for control in the women's stand one classification ©ISA/Sean Evans
Liv Stone, left, is battling compatriot Faith Lennox for control in the women's stand one classification ©ISA/Sean Evans

"Surfing is part of my life always.

"I wasn't a very good surfer, but I love surfing and being in the water with family and friends.

"This is a good opportunity to continue with my life and doing the things that I love."

The strongest competition looks to be between American teammates Liv Stone and Faith Lennox in women's stand one.

The pair came first and second, respectively, in 2020 and look likely to do so again, claiming near equal heat totals today.

Lennox has the edge slightly with 9.43 points to Stone's 9.27.

"Seeing the diversity, performance and growth of the sport, I have no doubt that Para surfing would add enormous value to the LA 2028 Paralympic Games," said International Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre.

The ISA failed in its bid for Para surfing to feature at Paris 2024 but Aguerre is determined for it to feature in 2028 as he feels the culture of the host city would make surfing an ideal fit.