A wounded Sally Fitzgibbons says she won’t let any pain from a broken finger get in her way of winning the season-opening Roxy Pro.
The world No.3-ranked Australian feared her 2014 campaign had suffered a major setback when she busted the finger during a training session last month on the Gold Coast.
Fitzgibbons will go into the Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks without the custom-made splint she’s been wearing since the accident but admits she’s still dealing with pain from the damaged digit.
A two-time winner of the world championship event at Victoria’s Bells Beach, Fitzgibbons narrowly missed out on last year’s Roxy Pro when she was beaten by compatriot Tyler Wright in the final.
Wright herself was struggling with an ankle injury in last year’s event and Fitzgibbons thinks her finger may actually help her quest to win the Gold Coast event for the first time.
“Hopefully the brain just lets go of it and you can throw your hands around through your manoeuvres,” Fitzgibbons told AAP.
“You’ve got to be wary of the wounded warrior. You get so fired up when you have to be out of the water even for a couple of weeks.”
A three-time world tour runner-up, the 23-year-old from NSW hopes this year’s new format in the women’s championship – including new events in Fiji and Trestles in California – will increase her chances of finally landing that elusive world crown.
“Every year I start out I do have that confidence and belief that it will be my year,” she said.
“(It will be) an exciting year for the tour in general and I’m ready to attack those new locations that we’ve secured.
“They will really open up the field and you’ll be able to showcase what you’ve got a little bit more in those world-class waves.”
First stop is the Roxy Pro starting on Saturday, quickly followed by the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia before the final stop in the Australian swing at Bells.
“To get the Australian triple crown under the belt would be a really special feeling,” she said.
“I love going overseas and experiencing the other cultures and stuff but to compete in front of my home fans, I just feel that everyone is there on that journey with me.
“I want to stand on top of the podium and show everyone they’ve pushed me to the top. Any of the Australian events is on par but Snapper is one of the jewels, I really want to claim it.”