MANLY, AUSTRALIA - Nat Young of the United States competes in the Round of 96 during the Australian Surfing Open on Feb. 16, 2012. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

Battling jet lag, Santa Cruz’s Nat Young took a little while to find his groove in the Australian Open of Surfing at Manly Beach in Sydney today. It took him eight waves, most of them scoring 2.2 or less, before he really woke up — but he made it count when he did, scoring a perfect 10-point wave.

Combined with a 6.67-point wave, his 16.67 score was enough to beat the three Aussies in his Round of 96 heat. They were Lincoln Taylor, who earned 14.77 points; Tim Macdonald, who earned 12.80 points; and Alexandre Chacon, who earned 10.27 points.

Young, who earlier this month was in Brazil, had a bye in the first round. He advances to the Round of 48, where he faces three more Australian surfers: Brent Savage, James Taipan Wood and Shaun Cansdell.

“It was a mission to get here, but that heat was worth it. I’m glad to be here,” Young told SuferMag.com, which has more extensive coverage of the contest.

The competition, which is smoke and alcohol free, is scheduled to resume at 7:45 a.m. local time Friday.

–Christina Gullickson, CGullTweets on Twitter.

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