Sally’s world title hopes dashed

SHREDDING: Sally Fitzgibbons of Gerroa takes to the waves with plenty of aggression during the early rounds of the Roxy Pro Biarritz, returning the highest scores of the competition. Photo Damien Poullenot, ASP/ AQUASHOT.AFTER being well positioned to challenge Stephanie Gilmore for the 2012 ASP Women’s World Title, Gerroa surfer Sally Fitzgibbons had her title hopes dashed on the weekend when she was eliminated in the quarter finals.Fitzgibbons was a standout performer in the early rounds of the Roxy Pro Biarritz in France, setting up a thrilling finale to the penultimate competition on the tour.With just the Nike US Open left in the tour, the situation was poised on a knife edge as small surf ensured lay days in competition.If Gilmore was to win the Roxy Pro Biarritz, Fitzgibbons needed to place second to send the ASP Women’s World Title Race to the Nike US Open.If Gilmore got second or better at the Roxy Pro Biarritz, the ASP Women’s World Title Race will go to the Nike US Open.If Gilmore got third at the Roxy Pro Biarritz, Carissa Moore (Hawaii) and Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, would need to win in France to join the race along with Gilmore and Fitzgibbons. The race would then be decided at the US Open.However Fitzgibbons was eliminated in the quarter finals by Hawaiian Coco Ho, clearing the way for Gilmore to claim her fifth world crown.Gilmore still faced tough competition in the final in France from former Culburra Beach surfer and rising star on the ASP scene, 18-year-old Tyler Wright.Following the win Gilmore was having difficulty coming to grips with what had happened.“I woke up this morning and thought it wouldn’t happen today,” Gilmore said.“But as the day progressed, and things fell into place, I began to believe it could happen.“France is such a special place and having so many people on the beach watching us surf today is really emotional. I think I’m going to cry.”Gilmore set an ASP record by being the first surfer ever to win four titles from four attempts in 2007 to 2010, but fell back to ASP Women’s World number three in 2011.The weekend’s emotional win is a reassertion of her dominance as one of the greatest icons in women’s sports.“This year for me was all about improving my consistency and having fun with my surfing,” Gilmore said.“From when I started five years ago to where we are now, women’s surfing has improved so much.“It’s an honour to be back up top as these girls push me every day and are all incredible surfers.”The win puts the young natural-footer in an elite class of surfers to win five or more ASP World Titles, overtaking women’s records set by Freida Zamba (USA), Wendy Botha (Aus) and Lisa Andersen (USA).The only other two surfers in history to claim five or more titles are Kelly Slater (USA) and Layne Beachley (Aus).“I have an amazing support team between my family, friends, my shaper Darren Handley, my sponsors and all the people at Quiksilver,” Gilmore said.“To be able to do what we do and make a life out of surfing is a really blessed thing. Surfing is what motivates me to wake up each day and attempt to better myself.”Fellow finalist Wright put on an impressive display of surfing throughout the Roxy Pro Biarritz, besting Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, and Coco Ho, 19, en route to the finals.Unfortunately for Wright, her momentum didn’t transcend into the final bout against Gilmore, but the tour sophomore was happy with her performance nonetheless.“I feel pretty good,” Wright said.“I was so excited for Steph (Gilmore).She was ahead of me the whole time and with five minutes to go I was like, ‘you’ve done it!’“It’s incredible – she ripped the whole contest and didn’t lose one heat, she was shredding!”The result left the world total standings:1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 48,400 pts2. Sally  Fitzgibbons (AUS) 42,100 pts3. Carissa  Moore (HAW) 36,700 pts3. Tyler  Wright (AUS) 36,700 pts5. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 34,800 ptsThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.