It’s not every day Australian surfer Sally Fitzgibbons steps outside her comfort zone of the hot sun and big waves at the beach. But while her competitors are enjoying the off-season and summer, the 23-year-old was filmed honing her skills in Nova Scotia – where temperatures were -4C and wintery winds were blowing at more than 130km/h.
The amazing footage shows the blonde beach babe covered from head to toe in a wetsuit to protect her body from the harsh conditions, standing on snow-covered rocks as she peers towards the freezing waters. The video, which is part of a five-episode series called Sally Stories by Red Bull, looks at Sally’s life as a professional surfer and follows her gruelling lifestyle as she looks to claim her first World Title.
In the short five-minute episode, Sally was told by her surfing friend to expect the risk of frostbite and hyperthermia – a stark contrast to what she is used to back home on the NSW south coast.
She said during the episode it was a nerve-wracking feeling heading out to such a different surfing environment. “The anticipation that was building up – I still had those fears of “how am I going to surf?” Nothing will prepare you for that feeling of jumping in for the first time and having to duck dive,’ she said.
After five minutes in the water, conditions didn’t improve for her either. “It was a painful awakening. I could barely paddle into the first couple.All of a sudden I just had no feeling. I was done. My head was throbbing.” The clip then shows a defeated Sally walking back to the car with her father Martin and sobbing into the steering wheel of the car. ‘I think at that point I was broken,” she said. “I just had to take a minute, I had to close my eyes and put my head on the steering wheel and breathe my way through it.”
Then, in a true moment of courage and mental strength, she got out of the warm car and back into the water.
“Then I really found my groove. I felt like I was surfing like normal,” Sally said. “I didn’t have all this extra baggage weighing me down. I thought “this just feels like a day at home”. That’s when that mental stamina and that fire in me kicks in.”
As a surfer, Fitzgibbons had her first significant results at the age of 14, becoming the youngest surfer to win an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Pro Junior (Under 21’s) event.
At 15, Fitzgibbons represented Australia at the International Surfing Association (ISA) U18 World Surfing Titles in Brazil placing second; at 16, she travelled to Portugal for the ISA U18 World Titles to win her first World Title. In April 2011, Sally won her first ASP World Tour event, and then continued to dominate the surfing scene with another world tour win that month and another in August.
She also won the first ever Australian Open after defeating 2004 World Champion Sofia Mulanovich, this meant Sally will be the first person to ever hold the US and Australian Opens of Surf titles at the one time.
Sources: Daily Mail