Friday, January 11, 2013

ASP International - Sally Fitzgibbons Stays Busy in the Off Season


LOS ANGELES, California/USA (Thursday, January 10, 2013) - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 22, is a sporting fanatic. While the former track and field standout chose the path of surfing, Fitzgibbons’ athletic abilities gave her the option to choose the professional sporting career of choice. With the 2012 ASP Women’s WCT coming to an end in August, the perky young Australian was able to tackle additional challenges, namely the notorious Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge. In addition to the multi-sport Tasmanian marathon, Fitzy was seen working on her aerial game in a wavepool and ESPN caught up with the busy bee to get her insight on the past few months.

“In the off-season this year, I really wanted to have a crack at something new that would push me out of my comfort zone,” Fitzgibbons says. “I was in the Red Bull headquarters when Rick Kelly, a professional racecar driver who did it last year, was raving about how amazing it was, but also how tough it was. It seemed to tick all the boxes and I decided, ‘Yep, I’m going for it.’”

Fitzgibbons says the race was both physically and mentally grueling. Naturally, she relished every minute of it: “I loved charging head-first into the unknown, not even having practiced half of the skills that I would need. I just went in with that never-say-die attitude.” On one particularly wistful ocean paddle, they tried to kayak surf. “The kayaks were not made to go surfing,” she explains, “so we turned [it] into a submarine and nearly lost all of our maps and stuff!” She and Mercer finished 8th of 14 pairs in the elite category — only two of which were female.

Red Bull turned their footage from the Challenge into the sixth episode of “Sally Stories,” a YouTube series of approximately three-minute videos that offer “a window into the world” of Sally Fitz, who has been on their team for the last four years. “They are always pushing the envelope of performance,” she says, “and [they] do whatever needs to be done to take you the next level and become the best athlete you can be.”

It was also thanks to Red Bull that she ended up working on her air game in the desert outside of Dubai.

“It was such a cool concept surfing in the middle of the desert in a pool,” she says. “I got to surf until my arms and legs fell off. It is so controlled — you know that a wave will come every 1.5 minutes. It took a little getting used to which boards work in the pool, because you don’t have any salt in the water, so [there's] much less buoyancy.”

For the full interview with Sally log on to ESPN.com.
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