Sally Fitzgibbons claimed her maiden ASP event win in her home country over the weekend after a hard-fought final with current ASP Women’s world number one Carissa Moore.
The 20-year-old Australian beat rival surfer Moore, taking out the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach and firmly announcing herself as a threat to the 2011 ASP World Title race.
The second stop of the 2011 ASP Women’s season, Bells Beach enjoyed some of the best conditions ever offered to the ASP Top 17, culminating in Saturday’s epic clash in glassy three-to-four-foot waves at Rincon.
Fitzgibbons, who finished runner-up in three events in 2010 as well as finishing the season in the runner-up spot, consistently outshone her competitors at Bells, launching into incredible high scores from the opening round of competition.
'I’ve always dreamed of ringing the bell.' –Sally Fitzgibbons
“This is so overwhelming,” Fitzgibbons said. “It’s been a long journey for me to finally win and this is incredible. I can’t feel my arms or legs and I’m just trying to keep from crying right now. It’s been a really long time coming and I want to thank all the girls for pushing me, as well as all my family and friends who have supported me over the years.”
Today’s maiden victory was made all the more emotional for the young Australian, clinching the title in the event’s 50th year of operation, surrounded by her heroes and sporting icons.
“It’s extra special to win it this year for the 50 years event,” Fitzgibbons continued. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always watched my heroes surf and win here and I’ve always dreamed of ringing the bell. Now that it’s happened, I don’t know what to say. The other night at the 50-year ball, I saw all my icons on stage and I was so inspired, so to win right now is a dream come true.”
Fitzgibbons now sits at ASP Women’s World Number Two with today’s win.
Moore continued her rampage among the world’s best here at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, only falling short to Fitzgibbons in the final. The gracious Hawaiian remains firmly in the driver’s seat in this year’s hunt for the ASP Women’s World Title, and will look to further cement her position at next week’s event in New Zealand.
“I’m stoked to have made the Final with Sally,” Moore said. “For her to come out on top was awesome. We’ve have a lot of good clashes last year and this year, and her win’s been a long time coming, so congrats to her. Of course I would have liked to have rung the bell, but that may have to happen next year.”