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Sally Fitzgibbons

Sally FitzgibbonsSally Jayne Fitzgibbons, born on the 19th of December 1990 in Gerroa, New South Wales, Australia is a professional surfer on the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour from 2009 to 2013.

In June of 2019, she was ranked No. 1 in the world for women's surfing after winning the Rio Pro. Sally now competes on the second tier challenger series after failing to qualify for the WSL top 10 at the 2022 mid-season cut.

She began surfing at a young age, winning the Icon All-Girls Open Event Lennox Head in 2006 at the age of 16. She represented her State and Australia on many occasions in a number of different sports.

These included athletics, winning gold at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival 800m and 1500m, touch football, soccer, surfing and cross-country running while attending Kiama High School.

As a surfer, Fitzgibbons had her first significant results aged 14, becoming the youngest surfer to win an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Pro Junior Under 21 event, also finishing second at the World Qualifying Series (WQS) Billabong Easter Girls Festival on the same day.

She continued to set records throughout her junior years, winning the Australasian Pro Junior Series in 2007 and 2008. At 15, Fitzgibbons represented Australia at the International Surfing Association U18 World Surfing Titles in Brazil placing second.

At 16, she travelled to Portugal for the ISA U18 World Titles and won her first World Title and backed it up the following year winning both the Billabong ASP U21 World Title and the ISA World Games Open Title.

Sally FitzgibbonsIn her first attempt to reach the women's elite World Surfing Tour via the World Qualifying Series, Fitzgibbons set a record by wrapping up the 2008 WQS series in the first 5 events to become the youngest World Surfing Tour qualifier in ASP history.

After a ten-point ride in the semi at North Narrabeen beach, Fitzgibbons won the junior women's world surfing championship. 2009 saw Fitzgibbons finish fifth on the World Surfing Tour in her rookie year, with a win at the Portugal WQS event along the way.

In 2010 Fitzgibbons came runner up in three ASP Women's World Tour events and finished the year as runner up to Stephanie Gilmore in the 2010 ASP Women's World Title.

On the 23rd of April 2011, Fitzgibbons won her first ASP World Tour event, defeating Carissa Moore in the final of the Rip Curl Women's Pro at Bells Beach.

On thew 30th of April 2011, Fitzgibbons won her second ASP World Tour event, once again defeating Carissa Moore in the final of the Subaru Pro in Taranaki, New Zealand. With this win she became the world's top-ranked female surfer and took the lead in the 2011 ASP World Tour.

In August 2011, Fitzgibbons won her third ASP World Tour event, defeating Lakey Peterson in the final of the US Open of Surf in California, USA. She finished the season runner up to Carissa Moore in the 2011 ASP Women's World Title.

On the 6th of December 2011, Fitzgibbons came fifth in the 2011 Surfer Poll Awards held by Surfer magazine - also in 2011 Fitzgibbons won the 6-Star event Swatch Girls Pro France.

Sally FitzgibbonsIn February of 2012, Fitzgibbons won the first ever Australian Open after defeating 2004 World Champion Sofia Mulanovich, meaning that Fitzgibbons would be the first person to ever hold the US and Australian Opens of Surf titles at one time.

On the 23rd of February 2012, at the 2012 ASP World Surfing Awards Fitzgibbons won three awards. First was for being runner up in the 2011 World Tour. Second was for Fitzgibbons and Carissa Moore for winning the Women's ASP Heat of the Year as voted on by their fellow competitors and lastly she won the ASP Surfers’ Surfer award which is a peer award.[

On the 17th of March 2012, Fitzgibbons won the 6 star event the Hunter Ports Women's Classic during Surfest at Merewether Beach, Newcastle, Australia. Fitzgibbons defeated Malia Manuel in the final.

April 2012, Fitzgibbons won the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach Australia, it was back-to-back wins at Bells for Fitzgibbons. She beat 4 times world champion Stephanie Gilmore in the final.

On the 13th of May 2012, Fitzgibbons won the Billabong Rio Pro in Brazil, she was up against Coco Ho in the final.

Fitzgibbons won a gold medal at the final qualifying event at the ISA World Games in El Salvador in June of 2021 (her fourth ISA Gold medal) in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Fitzgibbons had qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2019 by finishing in the top eight on the WSL World Tour that year.

At the Olympics in the quarterfinal she lost to Amuro Tsuzuki of Japan and therefore did not compete for a medal finishing 5th. Australia at the 2020 Summer Olympics details the results in depth.

Sally Fitzgibbons"I was born into a very naturally active family and with three older brothers I developed my competitive instincts really early on in life. I had a great passion for all sports and I had the dream of becoming a professional athlete as an 8 year old."

"So I set about trying every sport I could sign up for and my amazingly supportive parents and family helped my dream to become a World Champion come to life. It wouldn't be possible without them."

"It is an amazing feeling to wake up in all different corners of the globe doing what I love to do. I am so inspired to improve my surfing - being able to ride all these different waves around the world is helping to take my performances to the next level and become a better surfer and athlete."

"I’m having the most fun chasing my dream and going on the roller coaster journey to make it to the pinnacle of my sport. I’m living my passion and it puts the biggest smile on my face every single day."

"I’m currently preparing to launch my assault on the 2nd Stop of our World Tour at the Ripcurl Pro Bells Beach Australia. It is such a special event for all the surfers as it is so rich surf history. I want to be the one to ring the infamous Bells Beach trophy for 2015."

Sally Fitzgibbons says surfing at the Tokyo Olympic Games will one day be looked back on as a major turning point in the sport. In 2020, for the very first time, surfing will be an event at the Olympic Games, and no one is more pumped for what Tokyo will dish up than Fitzgibbons.

"It’s brilliant. It’s such a revolutionary thing for our sport," she told Wide World of Sports. "It’s brought so much and created a future pathway. It’s going to revolutionise our sport and surfing in our country will change too. We’ll be an Olympic superpower of the world again."

Sally FitzgibbonsThe Kiama native said Tokyo will be extra special because it will be out in the open ocean.

"What I love is that it might be one of the few Olympics to be in the actual ocean, because I think Paris will be in the wave pool," she said.

"It will be a place of imperfections in Japan. The swell there that time of year is kind of like my origin, my grassroots, surfing small beach breaks. It’s one for the surf purists because I think people watching might be surfing for the first time."

"It’s not going to be Hawaii or 10-foot barrels, it’s going to be relatable; the waves that you see on your local beach, that the best in the world have to produce their own speed and their own imagination."

Fitzgibbons is in the running to represent Australia with the top few ranked surfers set to be given the nod wear the green and gold in Japan. For the 28-year-old who is on the comeback trail after fracturing her shoulder in November last year, it would be nothing short of a dream come true.

"As a kid I saw Cathy Freeman win a gold medal, and when I saw that I was like that’s it, I was set, I’m going home to get my spacesuit and started pegging it round the track," Fitzgibbons said.

Indeed when she was in high school Fitzgibbons was an accomplished young track and field athlete, representing state and national teams, and won gold in the 800m and 1500m at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

"Then when my avenue ended up being surfing I thought I’d always be just a fan of the Olympics, but when it did come on the cards a few years back, I thought I’d love that to be me, like a 10-year-old again," Fitzgibbons said.

Sally FitzgibbonsThere was also a silver lining that has emerged from overcoming her recent injury hurdles. Through the grind, while completing a vigorous rehab program Fitzgibbons has been able to train alongside some of Australia's top Olympic athletes.

When Wide World of Sports interviewed her she had just wrapped up a training session alongside three Olympians.

"The journey I’ve been on this last year, it’s like a culture and feeling we’ve never experienced in our sport because we’ve all been so individualised. The path going to the Olympics, it’s like I’m already there," she said.

"I’m talking now with three Olympians here with me. It’s cool to get that perspective of experiencing that now."

The only thing left to do is win Olympic gold, and Fitzgibbons gets nervous just thinking about that image, standing on a podium at the Tokyo Games.

But she's determined to make her dream come true. "Mini Sal definitely had that feeling that it was the object I wanted to obtain," she said.

"That shiny gold medal is the ultimate in the world. It’s an almighty journey there but for me it’s the symbolism of it. It’s one that brings out the best in yourself, even in the quest for it. I’m all about it. I’ll do everything in my power to get it."

Sally Fitzgibbons spoke to Wide World of Sports on behalf of Under Armour's 'Together We Will' campaign, which offers a holistic training session online created in consultation with Fitzgibbons, two-time Winter Olympic Aerial Skier Danielle Scott, three-time Paralympian Madison De Rozario and 100m Hurdler Liz Clay, to motivate and inspire women.

Sally FitzgibbonsFitzgibbons is a professional surfer, passionate health and wellness author and qualified personal trainer. Her first book, Live like Sally, imparted nutrition, fitness, and mindset advice and shared the story of her early success.

Sally has surfed to ten victories on the World Surf League tour and three world title runner-ups, and she was voted Australia’s most trusted sportsperson in 2014.

Sally launched her All Australian Beach Body App in 2017 to connect and energise users to get fit, lean and strong. She has also established The Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation to inspire the next generation to lead healthier, active lives and prevent childhood obesity.

"I always start my day with an early morning run. It’s not always easy waking up first thing, but once you’re up, it’s the best feeling. I love being out while the sun is coming up - it’s like getting a head-start on the day. Before I head out I’ll have a little snack, either some leftovers or a piece of fruit – nothing too big."

"After my morning training, I’m into the surf. Towards the end of a session, I’ll be dreaming up breakfast combinations while I’m still in the waves. Poached eggs on toast with some leafy greens and avocado is a big favourite. I love sitting down at meal times, it’s the pause in amongst the chaos of the day."

"Staying hydrated is a full-time job! Throughout the day, I’ll have my water bottle by my side and aim to have at least 2 refills throughout the day. I also drink herbal tea which is super hydrating – lemongrass and ginger is one of my favourites. Coconut water is also full of electrolytes and great for an energy boost."

"Because I’m usually on the move, I have to be flexible with meal times, so snacking is a great way to keep my energy levels topped up. Fresh fruit and nuts and juices or smoothies are my go-to. If I have time to sit down for a meal, it’s always a salad filled with as many different colours as possible."

Sally Fitzgibbons"I’ll make sure I have a snack 30-60 minutes before my afternoon session in the gym. Blue dinosaur bars are my favourite!"

"Six in the evening is my time to unwind. When I’m at home I love sitting on my balcony with a cup of tea, watching the sunset. Or I’ll relax with a good book. It’s a screen-free time!"

"I love cooking dinner at home with my family. I start by choosing a protein – fresh fish, chicken, red meat. When I’m travelling, I love wandering the local markets for fresh veggies and dreaming up new combinations."

"My fail-safe option is some Asian steamed some greens, with a big batch of roast veg in the oven, they make great leftovers."

"Before bed I do a stretch and mobility session to dial into my body and unwind. Massage balls and a foam roller comes in really handy – you can roll out and kinks or knots on the living room floor while you’re watching TV."


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