Beachley confident Sally Fitzgibbons will triumph

Sally Fitzgibbons, now second on the world title ladder, celebrates winning the Rio Women's Pro earlier this year.

Sally Fitzgibbons, now second on the world title ladder, celebrates winning the Rio Women's Pro earlier this year.

SURFING

One of Australia's all-time greats Layne Beachley has given Sally Fitzgibbons the nod in this year's women's world championship race, hoping the perennial bridesmaid can finally break through after years of near misses.

A trio of Australians are right in the hunt for this year's championship - Fitzgibbons, 2013 runner-up Tyler Wright and five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore.

Fitzgibbons sits second in the rankings, close behind defending world champion, American Carissa Moore.

Seven-time world champion Beachley says Fitzgibbons is her sentimental favourite considering the NSW surfer has finished second in the title race three times.

"Sally will be the hungriest and having come so close so many times - she's been a bridesmaid three times - I think it's all falling towards her favour," Beachley said.

The competition heads to the Californian break at Trestles in September for the next leg of a nine-event schedule.

The iconic location is one of three new venues for this year's championships, which Beachley says will lift the profile of female surfers.

"It almost excited me enough to want to pose a comeback when I saw Trestles had been put on the tour," she said.

"It's one of my favourite waves in America to surf and the girls are going to be able to demonstrate what they're truly capable of.

"History shows that we've been put out in pretty ordinary conditions, which makes it very difficult for us to perform at our best."

The prize money has also doubled this year, from $US125,000 ($135,250) up to $US250,000.

Beachley considers the competition has progressed in leaps and bounds and now provides a viable profession for women.

In her day, the most she could win was about $10,000, whereas today women earn $US60,000 per win. AAP

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