In less than a month, one woman will be crowned as surfing’s world champion.
The Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour has been kicking on since March 2014. They’ve travelled across Australia – to the Gold Coast, Victoria and Western Australia – as well as Fiji, California, France, Portugal and Rio de Janeiro.
On the 22nd November, all 18 surfing champs will travel to Maui, Hawaii to determine who will be the world number one.
Currently, Stephanie Gilmore is in first place, with 64,200 points and 30 heat wins. However, fellow Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons is right on her tail, with a total score of 60,700 points and 31 heat wins; Tyler Wright is also chasing each of them with a score of 59,400 and 29 heat wins. Yes, the Aussies are smashing it in the world championships this year.
The rounds are high-pressure events, with each surfer getting the opportunity to prove themselves in a very short period of time. And at this point, it’s all down to the Maui round to see who will take out the world championship.
I got the chance to talk to Sally Fitzgibbons who’s currently feeling the pressure as she sits in second place on the world rankings. We talked about travelling (they spend most weeks out of the year travelling from country to country), the dangers of surfing and how she plans to dominate the world championships…
Nat: So… the world circuit looks pretty full-on!
Sally: I think it looks like quite glamorous sport, which it is – travelling around the world, chasing waves – it’s my dream job but it can be a bit of a grind. You live out of a suitcase and at times it’s pretty rigorous scheduling – it’s just sort of eat, sleep, train, surf. But I’m really passionate about it and it’s kind of cool being able to change scenery every week, you can be doing that same routine but walking down the streets of France or going down to buy your bread at the local bakery.
Nat: How do you stay sane while you’re travelling so much and changing time zones all the time?
Sally: I think that if you’re having an extended time away, it’s all about finding a routine. Make it feel homely so you have your creature comforts. I always take my training gear, my rollers, my good pillow and my runners – I’ve grown up with these things and I’ve done them every day since I was six years old so that’s what makes me feel most at home. And the ocean makes me feel at home too – just the sounds, the smell and the feel of walking down on the sand. I couldn’t live life without that.
Nat: Do you train every day?
Sally: I train every day. There are so many elements to surfing, to me there’s just not enough hours in the day. With surfing, the fitness is quite different, even just learning to paddle or do the duck dives. There’s not only water time, there’s cardio, time in the gym. You can really get adventurous with the training which I love, so I’ll be out on the trails running or mountain biking.