While faltering economies, political turmoil and
energy issues dominated most of the headlines
during the past year, much of 2008's good news
slipped through the cracks. What's the best thing
that happened to you in 2008 and what are you
most hopeful for in 2009?
2008 was such an enjoyable year for me, of course
there were ups and downs, but one of the highs
was definitely qualifying for the World Tour,
a long time dream of mine. It was great to have
it come true. Also, to get my driver's license
was a big milestone.
JG: Tell us about the first
time you ever stood up on a surfboard. Where was
it and what were you riding?
SF: The first time
I stood up on a surfboard, I was dominating my
home break, the river mouth at 7 mile beach, swarms
of people came down to watch and cheer me on...aka
Mum and Dad. I was riding a board Slater used
to win all of his contests on. A longboard snapped
right through the middle that had been fixed and
one half sprayed blue and the other left white.
It was full of dings and depressions and had been
passed down through the generations. It was my
time to shine. I graduated from the booga (bodyboard)
and on my, whatever go it was, who's counting
anyway, I stood up and the crowd went wild. From
then on I never looked back!
JG: What is your current
favorite board? In 2009 do you have any plans
to experiment with different surfboard designs,
materials or fin configurations?
SF: My current favorite
short board is a 5'7" DHD shaped by Darren
Handley. I'm always looking for ways to improve
my equipment and I think with Darren's knowledge
and expertise we will be able to experiment and
see what goes best for me in '09.
JG: Do you have any heroes?
If so, who and why?
SF: Some of my heroes
would have to be Kelly Slater, Rodger Federer,
Kerryn McCann, Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods.
They are amazing people, who have achieved such
heights in their chosen sports and are great role
models to follow.
JG: In 2009 we'll see the
best single maneuver ever done by a female surfer.
Who do you think will pull the move and what do
you think it will be?
SF: I'm not sure,
we will have to see what the year brings but whatever
happens it is going to be exciting.
For those of you who like to
jump around instead of going one by one, here's
the complete list of surfers...
Caption: An early morning heat at the 2007 US
Open was the first time I ever saw young Australian
Sally Fitzgibbons surf. I remember thinking...in
order..."Wow! Who is that?" then "That
girl is going to be a world champ someday!"
Sally turned it up a notch further in the WQS
this year and surfed so well that midway through
the season she had already qualified for the WCT...a
feat never before accomplished by any surfer,
male or female. Photo: courtesy of etnies