|Fitzgibbons, Fierro Claim First Quarterfinal Spots
Former runner-up in the world Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) left nothing to chance in her Round of 16 matchup with Luana Silva (BRA) as both surfers continue to chase a return to the Championship Tour. With a good hold on the lead and minutes on the clock, the Australian further solidified her position by going to the air under her opponent’s priority for a 6.83 and the win.
“It’s all about riding the highs and lows and just enjoying it,” Fitzgibbons said. “I get so much enjoyment from my process, showing up everyday. The last two mornings I thought I might be in the first heat, so I’ve been waking up at 4:30 and start warming up as if I was a grom again. I think that’s what it’s all about, showing up against this generation, they give that inspiration to me and I feed off that youthful energy.”
The day’s final heat was a clash of youth and ambition between former World Junior Champion Vahine Fierro (FRA) and Brazilian youngster Laura Raupp (BRA). After a relatively slow start score-wise, the Tahitian went all out on a long right to post an excellent 8.50 and apply pressure on her young opponent. Raupp answered with powerful snaps but couldn’t quite match Fierro’s flair and the future Olympian Fierro advanced into the Quarters for the second time this season.
“Coming into one-on-one heats, it’s the best surfers so you have to show your best surfing,” Fierro said. “The waves looked really bad before my heat, but then it pushed for our entire heat and we just got wave after wave. It was a really good battle, we both got high scores, it was nice!”
Competition was halted by the incoming tide and increasing onshore winds after the second heat of the women’s Round of 16. The next call will be on Friday, 7 July at 7:00 a.m. SAST for a possible 7:35 a.m. start.