The world of women’s professional surfing is changing with new faces on the world tour, new locations, and a fierce battle for the number one spot have made this an exciting year to watch. Thanks to a second place finish at the Swatch Women’s Pro in Trestles and a third place finish at the Van’s US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Sally Fitzgibbons has moved into first place on the WCT with a 1950 point lead over second place Stephanie Gilmore.
I was able to talk to Sally after Trestles when she had a moment to answer some random questions about her equipment and training, how the sport of women’s surfing is progressing, the recent name change announcement from the ASP and her future plans. This is what she had to say.
ME: This first question is something I’ve been wondering, what do you do with all your old boards? Are they destroyed, donated, or just discarded once you no longer use them?
SALLY: My sponsor partner supplies me with 30 or so boards a year and we are constantly developing them to find the magic board. When I decide to change the profile I do end up with some extras that I donate to charities looking to raise money at auctions around Australia. There are so many worthy causes needing help and I am happy to say they have raised over $50,000 so far.
ME: You’re arguably the fittest surfer on the tour how has your training regimen changed and improved over the years to bring you to the number one spot on the tour?
SALLY: Over the years I have continued to gather information, programs and different exercises from an array of great Trainers and Coaches. This has allowed me to better myself and see what best suites my body and what is most effective for me to improve out on the water. I never stop looking for something new to take me to the next level and this helps to raise my performance level year in year out.
ME: This year saw some new locations for the women’s tour and the return of some old ones, do you think we’ll ever see the women’s tour as expansive and rigorous as the men’s tour?
SALLY: The new additions of Trestles and Fiji are awesome locations bringing to the tour back to 10 stops taking us from February through to December. More quality locations would be welcome but it is already a busy year when you do a few qualifying events as well.
ME: There are 18 ladies on the WCT and 36 men, how do you see the sport expanding in years to come and do you think we will see an equal amount of women and men on the respective tours?
SALLY: There are a number of factors that control the number of surfers on tour. Getting through a contest in two and a half days for the Women and three and a half for the men, means we need six days of swell to finish a combined event. As you know this is a difficult thing to expect nature to deliver that on a consistent basis. So I don’t see the Women’s tour expanding any further at this stage and maybe the men’s tour will be reduced further, only the ASP (WSL) organisers know what direction we are headed.
ME: Now that the ASP has announced it is changing its name to the World Surf League in an effort to better promote the sport of surfing, do you feel this will have any impact on the expansion of the women’s WCT perhaps even increase coverage, sponsorships and prize money at events?
SALLY: I think it is a good change and will align with a number of other sports in stating more clearly what the sport is. I’m not sure of the impact of a name change on those things you mention but the sport is definitely moving in the right direction if the year so far is an indication of our future.
ME: When the day finally comes when you stop competing what’s next for you, what sort of plans do you have? Sports commentator perhaps?
SALLY: Haha I hope that it isn’t too soon and yes sports commentary would definitely be on the cards back home. I love following all sorts of sports so it would be a job that I would love to do and even develop those skills along the way while I am competing. In Australia I do some co-hosting on Wide World Of Sports my favourite Sunday sports show.
ME: Is there anything you would like to add, anything you’d like to tell the readers which hasn’t been covered extensively in the past?
SALLY: I have a health and surfing lifestyle book coming out in November so anyone wanting to kick start living a healthier lifestyle should check it out 🙂
Thank you Sally for taking the time to speak with me; for more information about Sally Fitzgibbons or what is going on in her world be sure to check her out on one of her social media links.