She already has the Australian Open of Surf title to here name and now reigning world No.2 Sally Fitzgibbons is within a heat of contesting her second Roxy Pro final is as many years.
After being knocked in round three, Sal bounced back in the redemption round to secure a place in the quarters. And having easily accounted for Hawaiian Malia Manuel, now had a semi-final showdown with good friend and four-time world champion Steph Gilmore.
“It’s always a good match-up against Steph and she’s in great form – and this is here home break,” said Sal, who is resting up on the competition’s second consecutive lay day. “So she’s got that little hometown advantage. It’s going to be a good match up and I think it’s all about getting out there and letting loose at this stage of the competition, because you need those big scores to go through to the final.” And Sal’s adamant the hand she broke in January hasn’t affected her campaign. And won’t.“The hand is really good, it’s almost back to full-strength in the water,” she said. “On land it still feels a bit niggly but when I’m surfing it feels fine.”So just another thing you and Steph have in common then, other than being great friends and combatants.
“Haha. I know!” said Sal, Gilmore having almost missed the start of last year’s tour with a broken wrist. "We kind of traded places with the whole broken wrist thing.
“But Steph is all good now and at the end of last year her surfing was amazing. And it’s going to be a great battle this year with all the top surfers. I think there’s going to be a lot of people in the mix. It’s going to be really good fun.”
Surfing is expected to resume until at least Saturday on the Gold Coast but with a heap of shiny new boards, courtesy of Board Design winner Tim Prosser, and some spare time to find the best one for the conditions, Sal isn’t complaining.
“There’s a pretty strong on-shore so we’ll probably have to wait until the weekend. But I’m feeing pretty good at this stage of the event,” she said. “The waves had been pretty fun. It’s not fun we’re not surfing at the moment but I think those four days consecutively was good to get in that rhythm again.
“There are still a few things to try and get sorted – get that magic board - just getting in the swing of things for 2012. But it’s just all the Aussie girld left now! Tyler (Wright) is up against Laura (Enever) and I’m up against Steph. I can’t wait!”