The surfing world’s No 2, Sally Fitzgibbons, is motivated by Joel Parkinson’s drought-breaking world-title victory heading into the 2013 Roxy Pro presented by Land Rover.
The 22-year-old from Gerroa, NSW, has finished runner-up for the past three years on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour and will commence her fifth season at the opening event at Snapper Rocks from March 2 to 13.
Fitzgibbons said Parkinson’s win was poignant. ‘To watch “Parko” win his world title was quite inspiring,’ she said. ‘He has had his runner-up positions. He has been there for ten-odd years. I think the whole surf community within Australia had goosebumps. Hopefully I’m on a similar path and I get to enjoy my journey too.’
Fitzgibbons has narrowly missed out on the coveted title from 2010 to 2012 twice to Stephanie Gilmore (Aus) and once to Carissa Moore (Haw). ‘I like to see the positives out of that,’ said Fitzgibbons. ‘I have been so consistent over the years and I’ve had to improve expediently each time to retain that spot.’
The surfing sensation’s stellar career has seen her win three world junior crowns, five world championship tour events – all within the past two years – and too many WQS titles to name. Fitzgibbons finished third at the 2012 Roxy Pro presented by Land Rover after being eliminated from the semifinals by eventual winner and five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore. ‘Sometimes, I feel that to get to the number one spot, not too much has to change. I just have to stick to my routines and hope the waves swing my way this year,’ she said.
Fitzgibbons recently won the 6-star WQS event at Burleigh Heads, before taking time out to offer Moskova Trials entrant, 12-year-old Alyssa Lock (Aus), some encouraging words. ‘The first time round that I competed in the trials I had those nervous butterflies but it’s really just about enjoying that feeling and enjoying being apart of the big scene at the Pro and surfing on that elite level,’ said Fitzgibbons. ‘I’m excited to see Alyssa tackle the Roxy Trials this year. She has been surfing amazingly.’
Local Snapper Rocks surfer Lock will be the youngest-ever competitor to vie for the lone Roxy Pro wildcard and has been turning heads with big results since commencing competition as an eight-year-old.
Last year she won the U/14s Occy Grom Comp and both the U/16s and U/14s divisions of the All Girls Showdown – a feat only achieved by two other girls in the competition’s 20-year history: Stephanie Gilmore 2002 / Laura Enever 2005.
The talented young goofy-footer will see her goal of being in the star-studded lineup of the Moskova Trials come true on March 1. ‘I’m as nervous as much as I am excited,’ says Lock. ‘I’ve been sitting up at the top in the VIP section for a couple of years now and I’ve been watching and waiting for it to be my turn. It’s been a dream of mine.’
The wildcard winner is straight up against five-time world and defending Roxy Pro champion Gilmore in round one. Something Lock is just daring to think about. ‘If I won the wildcard I would have to pinch myself five times, just in case I was dreaming. To surf the main event against Steph would be amazing.’
The young gun who commenced her first year of high school in January added that Gilmore has given her one of the best moments of her young career. ‘I was in the competitor area at the Roxy Pro and Steph was sitting near the entrance with a few other pro girls and she smiled and said “Hi Alyssa”. I couldn’t believe it – she knew my name!’
The surfing prodigy was there to cheer Fitzgibbons on at her recent Burleigh Heads victory. ‘It was amazing to watch Sally win. She told me just to have fun and do my best.’
Lock will be competing in a twelve-girl lineup that includes four-time world champion Lisa Andersen (USA), European champion Lee Ann Curren (FRN), Kirsten Ogden (Aus), Sarah Baum (ZAF), Nao Omura (JPN), Brodie Doyle (Aus), Dimity Stoyle (Aus), Philippa Anderson (Aus), Nikki Van Dyke (Aus) and Holly Daze Coffey (Aus).
The Moskova Trials will be staged on March 1, 2013, at Snapper Rocks on the southern end of the Gold Coast, deciding both the Roxy Pro wildcard and the second wildcard into Quiksilver Pro both presented by Land Rover.