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Saturday, February 9, 2013
Fitz and Starts

By Casey Butler

Sally Fitzgibbons won the 2013 Breaka Burleigh Pro, a newly anointed ASP Women's 6-Star, with typical Fitzy flair today after knocking Courtney Conlogue's legs out from under her. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Conlogue, 20, appeared to have her good friend on the ropes with just seven minutes remaining in the final. After trading the lead early on, Conlogue had reclaimed it and fortified her position with sizeable scores of 8.00 and 7.90. Fitzgibbons needed an 8.90 to take the win. Thirty seconds later, she managed to lock down a 9.00.

"I knew what I had to do late in the final and thankfully, the wave cooperated. I felt I got the score when I landed the last move, gave myself a fist pump -- I was that confident," Fitzgibbons said in a post-win interview with the ASP's Will Hayden-Smith.

"It's a great start to 2013," she added. "I've worked hard on improving over the past few months and I'm really looking forward to the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast in a few weeks' time."

Conlogue gracefully accepted her narrow defeat, saying that she also feels ready for the Roxy Pro, the 2013 Women's World Tour starting line. "Towards the end of the final, I knew I had the lead, but I never underestimate Sally," she said. "She's a great surfer and always capable of nine-point rides. She got what she required and that's just the way it goes sometimes."

This is a solid beginning to 2013 for 22-year-old Fitzgibbons, who will compete in the Hunter Ports Women's Classic, part of Newcastle's Surfest, before taking on the Roxy Pro Gold Coast on March 2. Fitzgibbons will be looking for her first world title after thrice finishing as number two in the world.

Breaka Burleigh Pro Women's 6-Star Results

Final:
Sally Fitzgibbons (Aus) 16:00, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.90

Semifinals:
Semi 1: Sally Fitzgibbons 16.73, Malia Manuel (Haw) 13.17 Semi 2: Courtney Conlogue 14.77, Laura Enever (Aus) 14.47