Sally Fitzgibbons wins the  Fiji Womens Pro in 2015.
Sally Fitzgibbons wins the Fiji Womens Pro in 2015. Kirstin

Sally Fitzgibbons has surfing world title in sights

SALLY Fitzgibbons is going to hit the waves at Snapper Rocks this year with a complete sense of calm.

It is a mantra that has permeated the 26-year-old pro surfer's training in the lead-up to this year's 2017 World Surf League Women's Championship Tour, which starts at the Gold Coast on March 14.

"It's definitely your own journey. The huge part of sport that people don't see is the mental part of it. You're up against yourself, essentially," she said.

"My ultimate goal has always been to become world champion."

She has chased the world title since she first hit the scene a decade ago.

Over the years, she has garnered thousands of Facebook and Instagram followers who have watched her come close to her ultimate goal.

She has placed runner-up three times, in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and last year she finished in eighth place.


Supplied image of Australian surfer Sally Fitzgibbons advancing into the quarterfinals at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro at Margaret River, WA, Monday, April 11, 2016. (AAP Image/World Surf League, Ed Sloane) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NOT FOR ADVERTISEMENT USE
Sally Fitzgibbons at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro at Margaret River, Western Australia, last year. Ed Sloane

"Obviously last year wasn't my best year, competitively, first time out of the top five," she said.

"It felt a bit strange. It's always heartbreaking because you're training just as hard and you're looking for little improvements you could possibly make.

"Sometimes the way the ocean works is that it's full of uncontrollables.

"In this off season, I've just taken control and ownership of some of those things in the season and gone, 'yep, this is what I can improve'."


Sally Fitzgibbons and Trent Merrin pose for a photograph as she arrives for the Australian premiere of Jason Bourne in Sydney on Sunday, July 3, 2016. Jason Bourne opens to Australian audiences on July 28. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING
Sally Fitzgibbons and Trent Merrin at the Australian premiere of Jason Bourne last year. PAUL MILLER

The off season provided a chance for Fitzgibbons to re-focus, and 2017 is also proving a huge year out of the waves.

Wedding plans with fiancé Trent Merrin, an NRL Penrith Panthers player, are also underway.

The couple lives in Gerroa, on the New South Wales south coast.

Getting two hectic sporting schedules to line up, however, is proving a stumbling block to setting a date.

"I think, ideally, we'd love to get married this coming summer," she said.

"So we'll work towards that.

"The only prerequisite is that we can see the ocean because I think that is a big part of both our lives now."


Sally Fitzgibbons, girlfriend of panthers player Trent Merrin cheers during the round 8 NRL match between the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the Penrith Panthers at Shark Park in Sydney, Sunday, April 24, 2016.(AAP Image/Craig Golding) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Sally Fitzgibbons, cheers on partner Trent Merrin during the round 8 NRL match between the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the Penrith Panthers in Sydney last year. CRAIG GOLDING

On Februrary 27, the Fitzgibbons team will also launch the Train Like Sally fitness app.

The pro surfer is giving her loyal fitness followers a chance to train with her at a series of live events, starting at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, on March 11.

Fitzgibbons said the point of difference of her app, in a saturated market, was the variety in the routines and a holistic approach.

"There's a lot of PTs that have brought out amazing products, and I love the way the whole market is stimulated and growing and more and more people are jumping on board to get people moving and creating communities," she said.

"Our niche is that I am an elite athlete so it's just that journey that takes to not only get out there on a board but chase that world title.

"There's something neat about it when someone can leave a session and say 'I'm training like a surfer'."

For more on the app and Fitzgibbons' tips to help you reach your health goals, plus a discount offer for readers keen to train with Fitzgibbons on the Gold Coast, pick up the February 25 edition of the Weekend magazine, in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Fraser Coast Chronicle, The Gladstone Observer, Mackay Daily Mercury, Bundaberg News-Mail, Sunshine Coast Daily, The Toowoomba Chronicle, Warwick Daily News, The Queensland Times (Ipswich), The Gympie Times, The Northern Star (Lismore) and The Grafton Daily Examiner.