Australian surfer Owen Wright will make his competitive comeback from a serious head injury on Tuesday at the Maitland and Port Stephens Pro in NSW.
Wright, an older brother of women's world champion Tyler, hasn't surfed competitively since being smashed by a wave in December 2015 while practising for the Pipe Masters in Hawaii.
He is due to surf in the 13th second-round heat on Tuesday, having automatically qualified past the opening stage of the World Surf League qualifying series event at Merewether Beach in Newcastle.
Wright will line up against American Nathan Yeomans and Brazilians Luel Felipe and Alan Donato in one-metre waves for a spot in the third round.
In a blow for local hopes, top-ranked Australian and defending champion Matt Wilkinson was knocked out on Tuesday.
Wilkinson, who finished fifth on the world championship standings last year, was upset by Japanese outsider Yuji Mori in the first heat of the second round.
Some of the world's best surfers are competing in the Maitland and Port Stephens Pro ahead of the first stop of the championship tour, the Gold Coast Pro in March.