South Coast stars take out Burleigh Pro


South Coast surfers Sally Fitzgibbons and Owen Wright have provided a unique double celebration for the region at the Breaka Burleigh Pro on the Gold Coast.

Gerroa-based Fitzgibbons performed strongly under pressure to win the women's final on Saturday, while Wright, who moved to Thirroul 12 months ago, beat fellow Aussie Adam Melling in yesterday's men's final.

Wright scored 9.17 out of a possible 10 midway through the decider and backed it up with a 6.10 ride, finishing on 15.27 to Melling's 13.97.

"It feels great," Wright said.

"I've put so much effort into training lately for the year ahead and I'm feeling fit and injury-free and I've got the right boards.

"This is just part of what I want to do this year. It's my first win since New York in 2011 and it's important to get that winning feeling."

Wright finished 11th on last year's professional men's tour and has high hopes for 2013.

"I'm fully aware that this is a 4-Star event and the World Championship Tour is another serious step-up, but I feel right to really have a crack at it this year," the 23-year-old said.

Fitzgibbons rose to the occasion in crunch time to beat American Courtney Conlogue in a tense final.

The 22-year-old narrowly out-scored her opponent 16.00 to 15.90 after a show-stealing ride with six minutes remaining.

Conlogue looked in complete control after scores of 8.00 and 7.90.

But Fitzgibbons scored a decisive 9.00 ride with time ticking away, unleashing a series of powerful manoeuvres to claim victory.

"I knew what I had to do late in the final and thankfully the wave co-operated and delivered the potential required to get the score," she said.

"I felt I got the score when I landed the last move [and] gave myself a fist pump I was that confident."

Fitzgibbons has been runner-up on the women's world tour for the past three years and she is determined to break through for her maiden crown.

"It's a great start to 2013," she said.

"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 was philosophical but pleased with her second-place result, claiming she wasn't surprised to see Fitzgibbons's strong finish.

"Towards the end of the final I knew I had the lead but I never under-estimate Sally. She's a great surfer," she said.

 Sally Fitzgibbons in action on the water.

Sally Fitzgibbons in action on the water.


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