Sally Fitzgibbons Makes ASP History Qualifies For 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour

Simon Williams

Coolangatta, Australia

COOLANGATTA, Australia (Thursday, June 26, 2008) – Reigning ASP World Junior Champion Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 17-years old, has made ASP history by securing enough ratings points on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) to qualify for the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour well before the halfway point this season a feat that has never been accomplished by any surfer (male or female) in history.

“My initial reaction when I found out that I had qualified was elation,” Fitzgibbons said. “It is a dream come true to qualify for the ASP Women’s World Tour and an honor to be competing against the top women surfers in the world.”

Al Hunt, ASP WQS Tour Manager, confirms Fitzgibbons’ historic featfollowing her runner-up finish to current ASP World No. 11 Silvana Lima (BRA) at the ASP WQS 5-Star Billabong Surf ECO Festival in Bahia, Brazil last weekend.

“This is the earliest that any ASP WQS surfer, man or woman, has ever qualified for the following year’s ASP World Tour,” Hunt said. “Sally’s current worst results are scores that others would love to have as their best, and the young natural-footer should be able to set a record winning margin by year’s end if she keeps up her current form.”

Fitzgibbons, who claimed the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships in early January, has been on a tear since then, winning the ASP WQS 6-Star Roxy Pro Women’s Surfing Festival in Phillip Island, the ASP WQS 4-Star Arrive Alive Central Coast Pro at Soldiers Beach, finishing runner-up at the ASP WQS 6-Star Midori Pro in Newcastle, equal 5th at the ASP WQS 5-Star Drug Aware Pro in Margaret River and finishing runner-up at the ASP WQS 5-Star Billabong Surf ECO Pro to amass an unprecedented 9,090 ratings points.

“I have had a very good run of events so far this season,” Fitzgibbons said. “My success has come from solid preparation and great support from my sponsors, management, family and friends. This year I have really been enjoying myself surfing some new locations, it’s been an exciting learning curve.”

Excited about joining the Dream Tour in 2009, Fitzgibbons will be squaring off against the best female surfers in the world in some of the most idyllic settings on the planet.

“I’m looking forward to surfing some amazing locations with just a few girls in the water and also some hard competition, it should be really exciting,” Fitzgibbons said. “I look up to all the girls on tour. They are really talented and experienced competitors. I’m privileged to have the opportunity to compete against them next season in some good waves.”

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), reigning ASP Women’s World Champion, has witnessed Fitzgibbons’ natural talent and competitive savvy firsthand, having faced the young qualifier in the Finals of the ASP WQS 6-Star Midori Pro last April, and looks forward to seeing her on tour next season.

“Congrats to Sally,” Gilmore said. “She deserves a place on the ASP Women’s World Tour because she is one of the most talented, well-rounded athletes that I’ve ever met and one that will continue to push the sport in the right direction. Great to have her on tour next season.”

Brooke Farris (AUS), ASP Women’s World Tour Manager, has been another to closely follow Fitzgibbons’ progression this season, noting that the 17-year old follows in the footsteps of fellow ASP World Junior Champions, and current ASP Women’s World Tour campaigners, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) and Nicola Atherton (AUS) in qualifying for the Dream Tour in just one season.

“Sally has been on our radar for a few years now,” Farris said. “A combination of talent, commitment and an unquestionable competitive drive will make her a formidable competitor on the ASP Women’s World Tour in 2009. She is raising the bar for both her junior competitors as well as the current ASP Top 17. If one were to blueprint the ideal path towards becoming an ASP Women’s World Champion, you ccouldn’t do much better than the trail Sally has blazed thus far.”

Despite already setting ASP records and qualifying for the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour, Fitzgibbons shows no plans of slowing down her blitzkrieg on the ASP WQS. The young natural-footer is currently in Durban for the ASP WQS 5-Star Mr. Price Pro and will follow up with a run at the ASP WQS 5-Star Honda Women’s U.S. Open presented by O’Neill (where she finished equal 3rd last season).

“The remainder of the ASP WQS season, I will just try to keep doing what I’m doing and it would be fantastic to get some results in the second half of the year,” Fitzgibbons said. “Preparing for next year, I’ll try to improve my surfing and get ready for some tough competition, as women’s surfing keeps moving to new levels of performance.”

Fitzgibbons will join the already staggering ranks of talent on the ASP Women’s World Tour in 2009.

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