Sally Fitzgibbons is gearing up to ring the bell for the third consecutive year at the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach. Having already scored impressively at the Quicksilver Pro, as well as the Margaret River Drug Aware Pro where she placed second and third consecutively.
Not even 21 years of age, Fitzgibbons continues to prove herself as a resilient contender. Coming runner up behind fellow Aussie contender Steph Gilmore for the 2012 World Title, she is currently sitting in third place behind Tyler Wright and Carissa Moore in the 2013 ASP Women’s World Championship tour ranking.
Fitzgibbon’s credits her love of surfing to her family, particularly her three older brothers, saying when she was younger: “after constant nagging to take [her] out they started pushing [her] on waves in the river when [she] was 6 years old.
“Living right by the beach and always hanging down there most of the days as a toddler meant it was quite a natural fit to take up surfing.”
Sally lists her back-to-back win at the Women’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach as one of her biggest career highlights.
The Women’s Rip Curl Pro is only the third leg of the tour, so there is a great deal of movement to be undertaken, but it is highly likely that Fitzgibbons will continue her impressive run and stick with a top five finish for the World ranking.
With each of the contenders consistently performing in the previous two legs of the tour, Fitzgibbons biggest competitors in the upcoming pro would have to be Tyler Wright, Carissa Moore, Steph Gilmore, Courtney Conologue and Alana Blanchard.
Bells Beach is always an interesting competition due to the timing in the year, it is believed that the competition would be more suited to being held further into winter as that is when the swell is more consistent at this particular break.
Swellnet an online swell report says forecasts “early indications are very promising and there’s even a good chance for a solid swell over the Easter break”.
Fitzgibbons has proved that she surfs well under pressure, but also in the unpredictable conditions at Bells.
With three back-to-back events in less than a month it is likely that the girls will be feeling not only the pressure, but also the fatigue. Even so, the rest of the 2013 schedule is just as tight.
Fitzgibbons will be taking on Bianca Buitendag and Rebecca Woods in the first heat, which, swell permitting, is to commence Wednesday 26 March.
With only hours until the first surfers hit the waves, there is no way to predict who is going to ring the bell in 2013. With a week of international surfers carving up the local breaks the excitement along the coast is captivating.
The competition is set to reveal the true competitors for the rest of the championship, and it will be hard to keep your eyes off Sally Fitzgibbons.
Brigid Curran is a second year student at La Trobe University This is her first article for From The Sideline. You can follow her on twitter: @brigid_clare