Skyscraper Simon Williams/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull: Sal, congrats on a breakthrough year! We know you're good friends with Carissa but you must have been pretty bummed to miss out on the title when you were so close. What was going through your head?
Sally Fitzgibbons: Anyone who makes a challenge for the world title and doesn't get there is going to be disappointed. You commit yourself and put so much effort and emotion into that goal, so to come up short takes a little bit of processing.
It's been a great year battling for the title with Carissa though. We both have the hunger and passion to want to excel in our sport and win events, so it is definitely every man for themselves in the water. Being of a similar age and having similar interests means we are great friends out of the water and both being a part of the Red Bull team helps to push our level.

RB: You're always a super positive chick, what positives have you taken out of this season?
SF: This season has been full of so many special moments and positives to look back on. I have improved a lot on last year's performances and my goal was to get that first world tour win and to get the back-to-back wins was an unbelievable feeling. I definitely feel I'm building a great armoury leading into 2012.

RB: How do you feel you've been surfing this year and what's been the difference between you and Carissa?
SF: I have felt great all year with excellent preparation and support going into each event. I feel I'm building and stepping up whenever I can. Carissa had a great roll-on this year, we were both really consistent which made it an exciting battle.

RB: Did you help Carissa celebrate her win and how?
SF: Everyone is always keen to help celebrate the new champion and Roxy held some super fun parties and concerts on the following days, which everyone went to.

RB: Obviously you would have preferred to be holding the trophy, but do you think it's good for women's surfing that someone other than Steph Gilmore won the title?
SF: Obviously it is good for new challengers to rise. I have finished in the No.2 spot two years in a row which is a great feeling and achievement. Hopefully with a new American world champion now it will attract some additional interest and sponsors to fix a financially struggling women's world tour.

RB: Do you think 2011 has been a breakthrough year for women's surfing? There some pretty hectic finals!
SF: Yes, but also I think the level was there in 2009 and 2010 also. This year the difference was we had the opportunity to surf in some great conditions to showcase our talent. I think we need more events in good waves so we can continue to lift our level.

RB: Ideally, where would you like to see women's surfing go next year. A few people are calling for it to follow the men's tour year round. Is that feasible?
SF: For sure, we need some more events and could easily double up with the men on a few more events. I also think it is healthy for both the men's and women's tours to have their own stand-a-lone events as well. It is very disappointing for the ASP that they aren't running any Hawaii events this year for women. It's unacceptable and ideally they should spend more time creating a solid foundation for the women's tour to run on and stop chopping and changing events on the calendar at will. People have a great interest in our sport now and they need to deliver!

RB: Where to next for Sally Fitzgibbons? What are your plans for next of the year?
SF: The US Open is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I want to finish the year out strongly. It is always a crazy event with lots happening. I hope to get a good result at the US Open and take what I learnt from the successes I had this year into my 2012 campaign.

RB: Does coming closer than you've been before make you even hungrier for next season?
SF: I have felt that my surfing has been on the right track for the last two years and I have had plenty of near misses which if anything has taught me to be patient. I'm always hungry for victory its what drives me to want to take the top spot.

RB: Who is the surfer to beat for the remainder of this year and next?
SF: Nothing will change between now and the next event so the same culprits at the top of the ladder will be right there at the end. We have a decent amount of time until the season kicks off again so you will have to see when it kicks of again at the Gold Coast.

RB: What are you going to do with some time off? The Matildas could do with a bit of spark next year we reckon...
SF: After the US Open the women have around six months off which as I mentioned before is disappointing. I would want for there to be some more events. I will be looking to stay busy with some trips and at this stage I will come over to the US to check out the men's Quiksilver Pro New York event. Hopefully a Red Bull training camp in there as well and spend the rest of the time catching up with my brothers for a few surfs.
I really enjoyed watching the Women's World Cup soccer while in France but I am pretty sure the Matildas have things covered and won't need my help. They were in fine form! There are plenty of other sports to get involved in with the Rugby World Cup on in New Zealand and the other football codes finals will be on in October. So as usual, I will be watching a lot of sport over my break.

RB: Insomniac! 


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