Aussie surfer Sally Fitzgibbons has defeated South African Bianca Buitendag to win the World Surf League Fiji Pro today.
In pumping six foot eight waves at Cloudbreak, the south coast surfer put in a dominant performance in the final, scoring a high 9.33 and a 9.23 to put Buitendag on the ropes in a combination situation. Fitzgibbons was in good form throughout the event, scoring multiple high score rides despite a wipeout in the second round leaving her with a perforated eardrum.
With heavy strapping over left ear, Fitzgibbons breezed through the final day of competition, defeating American Lakey Peterson in the semi finals and Sydney surfer Laura Enever in the quarters, leaving both surfers chasing two scoring rides to take the win.
“In the face of adversity this will definitely be one of the most special wins I’ll ever have,” she said in a post surf interview.
Visibly exhausted, the 24-year-old was reflective on her injury, “I just wanted to have a go that was my motivation.” She added, “You only need one ear it’s ok!”
The South African displayed her powerful forehand approach throughout the heat laying down some searing carves on her way to the final. Backing up her second place result in the last event in Rio de Janeiro, the 20-year-old was unstoppable in the bottom half of the draw, making light work of France’s Johanne Defay in the semi finals and Victorian Nikki van Dijk in the quarters before taking on her Australian opponent in the final.
The Vic Bay native has never won a pro final, showed obvious nerves early, opening her account with a wipeout. Fitzgibbons on the other hand was rock solid throughout to notch up her ninth career World Tour victory.
With the victory, the Australian moves to 3rd on the World Rankings, placing her in good stead for her 2015 World Title campaign. – Jackson Barron
Top screenshot taken from WSL YouTube