Meet Sally Fitzgibbons. She’s 23-years-old, a professional surfer, and one of the most talented athletes we currently have competing for Australia on the international circuit.
You’ve probably heard of her already. After all, she’s a world champion surfer, who – at the age of just 14 – became the youngest surfer to win an ASP Pro Junior event.
From there, she went on to compete in many surf competitions across the world, winning 3 World Junior Titles and 3 ASP World Runner Ups. She was the first person to hold the US and Australian Open titles at the same time.
She’s also sponsored by some huge brands, including Red Bull, Roxy and Garnier, and her biopic with Red Bull is set to come out this year.
Behind the success? Sally is the most down-to-earth, laidback, Australian surfer chick you’ll ever meet. Growing up with three older brothers in the small town of Gerroa meant that Sally got into surfing at a very young age, but kept her head very much screwed on.
And she’s now decided to launch herself into a whole new campaign, alongside the Smurfs, to deliver a surf safety to kids over the summer.
You see, The Smurfs 2 was released on DVD on the 9th of January. And along with the actual movie, the Smurfs and Sally have paired up to deliver five easy-to-understand tips for kids about keeping safe in the surf.
Last year, there were 121 coastal drowning fatalities recorded nationally. Just this week, we heard the tragic news of a 4-year-old boy drowning on the Sunshine Coast. And the most important thing? Drowning is preventable. Hopefully, this campaign will contribute to potentially saving some lives.
I had a chat to Sally about surfing, her life, the campaign and why she decided to take part. Have a read…
Nat: How did you get started in surfing?
Sally: I started really young – it was really natural for me. I’ve got three older brothers and being the youngest, I wanted to copy what they were doing and try to beat them at it, no matter what they did. Living right on the beach at Gerroa, surfing was the cool sport, all the boys were surfing all the time, and I wanted to be in that cool group and so I worked really hard at it. Having a bit of sibling rivalry was good and spending time with my brothers meant that I became a really good runner – because I was running around trying to find out where they were surfing – and a really good surfer. They did teach me everything I know.
N: You never got tormented for being the only girl in the water?