Behind Sally’s Smile

Aussie pro surfer and golden girl Sally Fitzgibbons reveals what’s behind that smile

SHE’S the surfing star and Aussie darling with the stunning smile. At just 23, it seems Sally Fitzgibbons has the world at her feet.

With beauty, brains and an infectious personality to boot, entertainment insiders are already speculating that Fitzgibbons would be a natural fit for a role in television — after all, the three-time runner up on the World Surf tour has already been making appearances on Channel 9 as an interview guest and host.

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the pro surfer and model from Gerroa, NSW. Her recent documentary, Behind the Smile, sheds some light on Fitzgibbons’ life and the challenges she has faced in chasing her dream of winning a world surfing title.

Sally has been surfing most of her life and has landed several championship titles.

Sally has been surfing most of her life and has landed several championship titles. Source: Supplied


We chatted to Sally Fitzgibbons to find out what the surfing sensation is all about:

What did you set out to achieve with your documentary, Sally: Behind the Smile?

I wanted to give people an insight into the roller coaster ride of chasing my dream of trying to win the world title. Sally: Behind the Smile turned out to be quite therapeutic when it was finished — to look back and appreciate the journey I had been on even though I haven’t reached my goal yet. Hopefully other aspiring athletes will draw some inspiration from the work I put in to achieve my goals.

You’re the world no. 3 surfer, 23-years-old and doing exactly what you love. How good is life right now?

It is such a whirlwind what I do on a day-to-day basis; training and competing. I can’t imagine doing anything else right now and I have a real passion for my sport. I am loving all the challenges my sport is throwing at me right now so life is pretty good (even with a broken hand).

Sally: Behind the Smile gives a fly-on-the-wall insight into Fitzgibbon’s journey.

Sally: Behind the Smile gives a fly-on-the-wall insight into Fitzgibbon’s journey. Source: Supplied


How hectic has it all been preparing for the women’s world tour?

I have so much anticipation for this season to kick off. There are plenty of changes with new events and the level of competition is the best it has ever been. I have prepared the best I possibly can and I feel strong and ready to launch into another World Title campaign.

Can you give us a rundown of your average day?

I never really have a typical day, which makes what I do really exciting. Every day is so different, from what I’m doing at training, to where I’m surfing and what other exciting events, functions and sponsor commitments I may be attending. Most days involve a training session before sunrise so that I am ready for a surf at dawn, back for a good breakfast (my main meal for the day) and a short nap followed by two more surf sessions and another light training session.


Sally Fitz


At what age did you start surfing, and what sets it apart from the other sports you love?

With my Dad and three older brothers all being surfers and growing up right by the beach, it was natural for me to get into surfing. I just kept bugging them until they started pushing me into waves when I was 6 years old. I did do a lot of sports growing up — touch football, soccer, 800m & 1500m track, cross country running, surf lifesaving, hockey, basketball and surfing. I had to pick one to make a career out of when I was 16 and even though my track running was going well I was attracted to the lifestyle and locations that surfing had to offer.

You’re quickly becoming one of Australia’s golden girls and a role model for young athletes and women. Do you feel any pressure with this label?

I have a great love and passion for my sport and what I do. My eagerness spills across to all sports and areas of my life. I am really happy that people want to follow my lead in some aspect and I love encouraging people to get outdoors and be active in what they are passionate about. I don’t find any pressure attached to this, but accept it as a privileged position. I am honoured to be considered as a role model and I have had great support on my journey so far and take pride in the decisions I have made. I am proud when I see other people take a small part of what I do on board.

Sally Fitzgibbons prepares to surf during a trip to Nova Scotia, Canada in November, 2013

Sally Fitzgibbons prepares to surf during a trip to Nova Scotia, Canada in November, 2013. Source: Supplied


You’re surfing with a broken hand at the moment — that’s hard core! Do you even have an ‘off’ button?

It is hard to let anything slow me down, even a broken hand. I did make sure I wasn’t going to damage it further before I took the green light to go and surf with the splint on.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to young female athletes?

Always strive for your ultimate goal. Don’t change it or be deterred if you don’t get there first time.


Sally Fitz


You have a well-publicised clean living lifestyle, but do you think people tend to get carried away with it all?

I try to keep my approach really simple. Clean eating and healthy living will give you so much more energy and enjoyment in life. You can’t go wrong if you stick to fruit vegies, quality protein and treats in moderation plus plenty of exercise.

Next stop for Sally Fitz is the Margaret River Pro starting April 2nd. Her documentary, Sally: Behind the Smile airs Saturday 29th March and Sunday 30th March on Channel 9.


Sally Fitzgibbons

Sally Fitz is currently on the world tour until it wraps in December. Source: Supplied

article originally published HERE




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