An epic Finals day yesterday at the Fiji Women’s Pro, the fifth stop on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT), saw the Australian Sally Fitzgibbons reign supreme and claim victory after a day of pumping surf at Cloudbreak. She went head-to-head with five-time ASP Women’s World Champion and fellow Australian Stephanie Gilmore in their first match-up of the 2014 WCT season.
Fitzgibbons claimed her second WCT victory of the year after winning the Fiji Women’s Pro yesterday. She will retain her ASP World No. 2 position after taking the win over Gilmore. The pair wasted little time in getting to their feet in the Final, catching small scores to kick off the heat. With less than 15 minutes on the clock, Gilmore found a crucial wave for a narrow lead over Fitzgibbons. The World No.2 fought back in need of only a 2.73 score, and found a wave, overtaking the lead with a 3.00. Her modest scores proved enough for the victory, marking back-to-back wins on the 2014 ASP Women’s WCT. She previously faced Australians Tyler Wright and Laura Enever, as well as Hawaii’s Malia Manuel on route to the Final.
“I guess wins come in waves for me! To win in beachbreaks in Rio last week and then in reefbreaks in Fiji this week is a huge boost to my confidence,” said Sally Fitzgibbons. “I knew that I’ve been surfing well this year and I just needed things to fall my way before the wins started coming. Carissa (Moore) had a huge start to this season, but the year’s a long way from being finished. I’m looking forward to the US Open.”
Gilmore was in excellent form through the duration of the competition, topping South African Bianca Buitendag and fellow Australian Dimity Stoyle on her way to the Final, but failed to find the score needed to surpass Fitzgibbons for the win. The second place finish sees her move up in the rankings to current ASP World No. 3.
“The surf certainly got tricky there at the end of the day,” said Stephanie Gilmore. “There had been good waves coming in all day, but it’s a challenging lineup and easy to find yourself out of place. It was a pretty slow Final and I fell on a couple that I could have capitalized on. All in all though, it’s been a great day, the girls all charged and it’s been a great return to Fiji for the ASP Top 17. On to the next one.”