Sally Fitzgibbons follows her fellow Australian Mick Fanning to victory in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 2012 in Victoria…
The event was blessed with perfect offshore four-to-five foot waves all week and the women's field obliged by turning out some impressive performances. Best of the lot was Fitzgibbons who saw off former champion Stephanie Gilmore in a thrilling final to claim the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach for the second year in a row.
“I’m speechless,” said Fitzgibbons. “I’m so pumped. That was tough. Bells went to sleep on both of us and it got real tactical at the end. Steph [Gilmore] only needed a small score and I just hung on for dear life. That wave she took at the end looked so small and I had a feeling there was going to be another set, but there wasn’t. I just can’t believe I've won Bells two years in a row.”
Gilmore's second place finish keeps her on top of the 2012 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour standings.
“I’m a little bit tired but feeling good,” said Gilmore afterwards. “I felt like I was surfing pretty well and knew it was going to be a hard road. I thought I was consistently putting things together and surfing well and then I came up against a brick wall in Sally [Fitzgibbons]. It was a good final and Sally deserved the win. She's great for women’s surfing.”
Young natural-footer Tyler Wright is competing against surfing's elite for only the second year but she reached the semi-finals of Pro Bells, where she was dispatched by Gilmore. She's now third in the overall standings. Red Bull's own wunderkind Carissa Moore – the reigning world champion – was the other losing semi-finalist, beaten by Fitzgibbons.
“Semi-finals is a good result but I’m disappointed in my performance,” said Moore. “I couldn’t really get into a rhythm in that last heat, but it’s a keeper result and I’m looking forward to heading to New Zealand next week and hopefully posting a big score there. I love the waves and the people there and feel really comfortable in Taranaki.”
Until then, Sally Fitzgibbons will be basking in glory after another brilliant win.
The next stop on the 2012 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour is the TSB Bank NZ Surf Festival in Taranaki New Zealand, April 11-15.