Red Bull: Sal! The US Open, that's amazing! Tell us about it...
Sally Fitzgibbons: It was unbelievable. I've always imagined winning the US Open. I've been inspired by watching past champions being chaired up the beach through the mass crowd and seeing the feeling of pure elation all over their face. To be in that moment was pretty numbing and one of the biggest moments I've experienced in my career. Competing at Huntington is the closest we come toa competing in a stadium, it is an electric energy. I loved every minute of it and it was an honour to stand on the stage as champion with Kelly Slater. It is something I will remember for a very long time.
RB: It's a pretty big prizepool, too. Must ease the pain of the missing out on the tour win a little...
SF: It's always a bonus to win the prize purse at the end of a big week of competing. But the women didn't receive any additional money just the usual $15,000 first place vs $100,000 first place for the men. I don't expect it to be the same as we have less competitors, but I still think it is a bit short for an event of this size.
RB: Apart from your win, what's been the best part of the Open? What are your highlights?
SF: I think Nike and Hurley have created a unique event at the US Open. While the focus is the surfing, there is skate, music and fashion, so something for everyone. A definite highlight is competing in front of the massive crowd and it has a real amphitheatre-like atmosphere with the crowds lining the iconic Huntington Beach Pier. The pier allows the crowd a unique perspective and for them to get really close to the action.
RB: Do you think the Australian Open can be as good as Huntington?
SF: I don't think it can be the same without the pier and Manly doesn't have as much sand for them to work with but there is a lot of history attached to surfing at Manly Beach and I think they will create an event that is unique in its own way and it will attract a lot of attention. It is the first event for the year and just two weeks before the Roxy Pro at Snapper, so I am looking forward to it as a great warm-up event.
RB: Your twitter activity suggests you've been keeping abreast of the NRL and AFL. Do you sleep? And who do you think will win the grand finals...
SF: Haha! Yes, I do sleep sometimes but sport never does! If you follow my tweets then you know I follow the St George Dragons in the NRL and Geelong Cats in the AFL. I think twitter is a great way to keep in touch with friends and fans. You don't have to say a lot just punch out what you are thinking at the time. Dragons and the Cats will be taking both premiership flags, to answer your question.
RB: The girls are off to Sri Lanka next. What's the event and are you involved?
SF: Actually, I am not doing any of the star series events that are on the calendar for the rest of the year. The Sri Lanka event looks like an amazing location though and I hope that they turn it into a world tour event one day soon. It was a late inclusion on the event calendar and I already had some trips locked in.
RB: Any other plans for the next few months?
SF: I will be heading off to the snow for some fun and a Roxy shoot. I'll try my hand at a bit of snowboarding before heading over to the Quiksilver Pro New York event where I will be doing some PR functions for a couple of weeks. After that I will be looking to do a number of trips looking for good waves, hopefully to somewhere warm! I'll also have Red Bull training camps, that will be very beneficial leading into the 2012 season.