Sally Fitzgibbons books spot in semi-finals, as Tyler Wright is eliminated

Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons. Photo: WSL/CESTARI
Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons. Photo: WSL/CESTARI

THE Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast, stop number one of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), continued on Monday with the women’s semi-finalists decided in clean three-to-four foot (1 - 1.2 metre) waves.

With the conditions holding up all day, event officials decided to run through rounds two, three and the quarter-finals.

Now only four surfers remain in contention for the 2018 Roxy Pro Gold Coast title. 

In what was undoubtedly the upset of the entire event, six-time Roxy Pro Gold Coast event winner Stephanie Gilmore was taken down by fellow Queenslander Keely Andrew.

2017 Roxy Pro Gold Coast runner-up Lakey Peterson (United States) was in ominous form.

Culburra Beach's Tyler Wright. Photo: WSL/SLOANE

Culburra Beach's Tyler Wright. Photo: WSL/SLOANE

The Californian posted excellent scores all the way to the quarter-finals where she eventually eliminated reigning WSL Champion and current world number one, Tyler Wright, from Culburra Beach.

Peterson’s trademark frontside arcs sent a shot over the bow of her fellow competitors as she hunts for her first CT Victory since 2012. 

Current world number three Sally Fitzgibbons, from Gerroa, looked destined to end up in the semi-finals as she tore through the field at Snapper Rocks.

In quarter-final three, she had the tough task of challenging 2018 CT Rookie Caroline Marks (US) – who had been taking down the big names all day – with an impressive display of backhand surfing.

Marks’ run came to an end at the hands of Fitzgibbons who was on fire, posting the highest heat total of the entire event, a 16.57 (out of a possible 20).

Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons. Footage: WSL

“It feels so good to be out there on a dreamy day like this,” Fitzgibbons said.

“The waves have this perfect shape to them.

“I was out there in my own world enjoying surfing and I’ve found myself in the semis.

“It’s been an exciting day to watch.

“There’s been a lot of excellent surfing and fins being thrown and I really enjoy the progressive side of the sport.

“I’ve been having so much fun in my free surfs, and I’ve been trying to bring some of that into my heat surfing.”

The final semi-final spot was claimed by Hawaii’s Malia Manuel, who scored 15.83 (out of a possible 20), to overcome three-time WSL champion Carissa Moore, also from Hawaii.

Roxy Pro Gold Coast semi-final match-ups: 

Heat one: Lakey Peterson (US) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)

Heat two: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)