Why Sally Fitzgibbons surfs with her engagement ring on.

Surfer Sally Fitzgibbons won the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia on Saturday, beating fellow Aussie Tyler Wright and landing equal first on the World Surf League rankings.

The 26-year-old, originally from Gerroa on the New South Wales south coast, spoke to The Project this evening.

She said she was happy to beat her long-time rival Wright who also grew up in Gerroa; she spoke about the thrill she felt winning the competition; and she revealed the reason she wears her engagement ring while she surfs.

Stoked to be through to the Quarters after a round three win this morning! #margiespro ???? @hamishstubbs

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Sure, it might seem like a risky move, but there’s a very sweet reason behind it.

Fitzgibbons told the show’s panellist Peter Helliar it’s because of the distance that is too-often between her and her partner, NRL player Trent Merrin, due to work commitments.

“I don’t really think about it. But my fiance Trent, we have to spend a little time apart, so when I’m in the water it feels like he’s right there,” she said.


“It’s raised a few eyebrows, I guess,” she continued.

“But there’s actually a bit of an insurance policy by default: I’ve busted all my knuckles in surfing and training so they’re quite swollen and I feel like that’s going to keep it on.”

Hellier suggested she might plaster a photo of Merrin’s face on her board, instead of risking the diamond. The surfer laughed and agreed that it was “actually a good idea”.

The face you make when you nearly get so smashed on the rocks????

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Fitzgibbons and Merrin, 27, have been engaged since November, 2015, when the Penrith Panther’s player proposed on the beach.

“Sal and I, we relate to each other like you wouldn’t believe,” Merrin told The Daily Telegraph following their engagement.

“It’s funny sometimes, the conversations we have when things might not be going to plan for one of us.”


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Fitzgibbons is currently in Bells Beach on Victoria’s South Coast ahead of the Ripcurl Pro, which kicks off on April 12.

She is up against US surfer Peterson and French surfer Pauline Ado in her first heat. She told The Project she’s excited for the event, as the Bells’ competition was the first she won on the world stage in 2011.

“There’s a lot of emotion in it. It gives me goosebumps every time I walk down the stairs or hear the bell ring,” Fitzgibbons said. “It’s absolutely wonderful.”

Good luck Sally!

Listen: We interview AFL star Erin Phillips.