Sally Fitzgibbons tied with Stephanie Gilmore in equal first place in the Championship Tour (CT) race after winning the 2017 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s last weekend.
Fitzgibbons, who was always in contention for the world title in previous years, ranking second for three consecutive years and third for two years since 2010, suffered the lowest ranking of her career last year falling to eighth place. But this year, Fitzgibbons seemed to be in a different level of performance and she showed it early on by winning the Margies and reigniting a former rivalry against Stephanie Gilmore who is eyeing for a seventh world title.
On her way to the finals, Fitzgibbons faced Gilmore in their Semifinal heat where Fitzgibbons emerged the winner only by a slim 0.50 margin. Fitzgibbons was consistently paddling into waves. Despite the choppy surf conditions, she did not get distracted. By the end of the heat, she was able to catch a total of eight waves.
Semifinal battle between old rivals Fitzgibbons and Gilmore:
On the other hand, Gilmore waited for good waves and only started catching waves with a few minutes left. She needed a 7.50 to win and with 45 seconds left in the heat, she managed to find her best wave off from a good combination of turns, but it was not enough as she only earned a 7.00 and got eliminated.
In the final heat against reigning world champion Tyler Wright, Fitzgibbons managed to start putting pressure early in the heat by taking off on the first wave and managed good rail maneuvers and turns where she earned a 7.83.
Fitzgibbons’s strong final opener:
Sally continued getting waves and continued patching up her score with a 6.33. She kept paddling for waves and found another good 7.07 with less than 10 minutes left in the heat to continue building on her lead. Tyler Wright on the other hand could not find much good waves and needed an 8.30 to win. But time ran out and she was unable to find an answer. And with that, Sally Fitzgibbons walked out as the winner of the Margies Pro.
If you missed the final heat battle, here is a replay:
Subscribe to BlinkSurf for daily updates on surfboard reviews and surf news.