|Johanne Defay Jumps Into Final 5
Fitzgibbons and Defay are renowned for their confidence and finesse in big, lefthand reef breaks, so it was no surprise to see them meet in the Final at Strickland Bay. In the Final, Fitzgibbons looked unstoppable, finding the best waves of the 40-minute heat and surfing them flawlessly to post a winning heat total of 15.10 (out of a possible 20).
“It would have been good to go one step further, but this is so good to make the Final,” Defay said. “I’m already really happy with my Australian leg, so it’s so good to finish like that. I’m going home now to rest up and get some rehabilitation for my knee and make sure I’m ready for the Surf Ranch and for the rest of the season.”
Although Defay fell short in the Final, she didn’t give up until the final minutes, posting a 7.23 and a 4.00 to almost recapture the lead in the dying minutes of the heat. This Final marked a breakthrough for Defay after three straight Quarterfinal finishes on the Australian leg. Defay now leaves Australia sitting in fifth on the rankings.
“It’s not an easy lineup, but it was so good to have a good left on Tour this season,” continued Defay. “Something that I have learned to appreciate whilst being on Tour is discovering new places, and coming to Rottnest was like that for everyone. It was also a level playing field, which is rare for us on Tour and made it such an interesting event. I’ve had a strong start to the year, so I’m feeling like if I keep the confidence and momentum I have now, I can have my best finish to the year and be inside the top five.”