The day belonged to Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons, 18, and the new generation of women’s professional surfing. Fitzgibbons, current ASP Women’s World Tour member, surfed every heat of her final assault flawless, methodical and mechanical as she swept the field to win the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Estoril Billabong Girls Pro taking the valuable 3000 ratings’ points up for grabs.
Fitzgibbons defeated fellow finalist and other rising wunderkid and ASP Top 17 surfer Coco Ho (Oahu, HAW), 17, with both surfers scoring near perfect rides as Bufuriera’s beachbreak was delivering clean three to four foot waves. Fitzgibbons came out blazing in the final locking-in four excellent scores before Ho managed to answer back with a near perfect 9.80 point wave. Meanwhile, Fitzgibbons was quick to respond and net a 9.85 pointer and take the win.
“It’s great to be back on the podium and definitely it has been some time between drinks,” Fitzgibbons said. “I surfed a lot of heats before the final and paddled out quite relaxed and sat wide. I saw the tide starting to drain out and thought there were two peaks. I was lucky when the first one came wide and I got it.”
Fitzgibbons, who is a rookie on this year’s ASP Women’s World Tour, leaves Portugal with a solid back-up result in case she ends up needing to requalify through the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) at the end of this year. So far, Fitzgibbons remains well in position to fullfil expectations from the international surfing scene which considers the young woman a future ASP World title contender.
“It was great to surf with my friend Sally (Fitzgibbons) in the final,” Ho said. “We had really fun waves, we were talking and having a good time. Sally started with three great waves and it took me a while to get a good one. Then I got my 9.80 pointer but Sally came straight back and bettered it with a 9.85 wave.”
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 18.60 pts Def. Coco Ho (HAW) 16.90 pts
Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 18.0 pts Def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.00 pts
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons 16.50 pts (AUS) Def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 10.20 pts