She’s Australia’s sweetheart and the golden girl of surfing. At only 25, Sally Fitzgibbons is ranked number 8 in the world and remains one of the most talented athletes the nation has ever seen. Being an advocate for a healthy, holistic and sporty lifestyle, she’s even set to release her own fitness program, ‘Train like Sally’ – much to the delight of all her fans. Yet despite all this success, Sally is the most humble and down to earth women you could ever meet. GCMAG was lucky enough to have a chat with Sally talking everything from surfing, sibling rivalries and living with passion!
How did you get into surfing?
I grew up in a small little coastal town in Gerroa NSW, situated in a place surrounded by water so it was like a natural playground for the kids in the community. My three older brothers all surfed so I think as the baby sister you always kind of follow their lead because whatever they’re good at you want to shine and be better at it! Surfing was a fun, competitive rivalry I had with my siblings. It just pushed me to want to get better and better watching them and I just had that natural infinity with the ocean to start with. Surfing is such a cool sport to get into, whether you’re 5 or 85, you can just stick with it for as long as you like.
What is your favourite thing about surfing?
I love that every single day is different! Every day you go to the ocean, you’re presented with a whole new set of challenges as a professional surfer trying to better yourself. But that aside, it’s the pure enjoyment. Every time you jump into the ocean, you never regret it. I feel a spiritual connection and respect the water, it’s the most earthy thing you can do. You’re in there and completely content with that moment because you have to read so much whether it’s the waves or the weather or surfing with other people. It’s just so stimulating and I love it!
What is your most memorable moment to date in your surfing career?
Most memorable moment?! That’s a tough one! Definitely the first ever wave. It’s this miracle moment when you’re just falling and then as a 6-year-old you stand up on this longboard and it’s almost like ‘wow, this is happening!’ It feels like you ride this wave for 100m but now you’re older you realise it’s only 10m from the shore! At the time it was such a big moment because you’ve worked so hard for it. I think my most memorable moments have come from progression, so whether it’s starting from being able to stand up and then the progress of learning how to surf in a competition and then that advanced into qualifying for the World Tour. And then the breakthrough win after so many near misses is just the most historic thing.The whole progression is a great way to look at it. Anytime I achieve one of those milestones, it’s a pretty cool moment.
Do you have a favourite break to surf?
I love my home breaks in Gerroa. When I’m out on the World Tour you get to experience these world class waves, which are amazing but they are super busy and it’s hard to get your own space. So when I surf at home, it outweighs all those other waves as it gives you time to think and be relaxed and you don’t have to hassle people to get waves in the line up. So definitely home breaks!
Any advice for up and coming Grommies aspiring to become Pro.
Just keep having fun when you’re surfing! I know you want to better yourself quicker than you sometimes can and there can be some frustration, but I think it’s important that while you still challenge yourself, you sit back and be content with the connection you have with the ocean.
You’ve just released your own fitness program, ‘Train Like Sally,’ can you describe your daily exercise routine.
My daily exercise routine moves at a pretty fast pace with tour life and having to prepare for events. In terms of a day when there’s no travel, I’m definitely up before the sun usually with a cardio session. I love doing that; you know in the dark when the streetlights are still on- whether I’m running or cycling. Then I usually hit the water at dawn as the sun’s coming up, that’s usually when the conditions are best. Then I’ll come back and reset and then spend time at the gym, probably doing some strength work. Then there will be another afternoon session in the water. Also, it’s always good to have the wind-down session with mobility and injury prevention work, some core work and maybe some yoga. I mean you don’t have to be in the gym for that one and I always have my bands with me so I can work out in hotel rooms. So basically the flow of my regime is three elements of train – cardio, strength and then water time.
What’s your diet like?
My diet is pretty consistent; I’m lactose intolerant so the dairy component threw it out. Pretty much quality fruit, loads of vegetables and some good protein. So I eat a variety of red meat, turkey, eggs, chicken, fish and then the rest of the component is just fruit & veg. I keep it pretty clean and simple and with all the travel, I always try to go the markets and get organic produce. I also drink water throughout the day and enjoy a Coco Joy Coconut Water.
In late October you are also running free exercise classes at the Brisbane Fitness & Health Expo, what are your top tips for staying fit, healthy and motivated?
I say creating that routine. Every day in your head makes sure you prepare yourself to have that component of exercise and getting the heart rate up. I love mixing up my training, so I really utilise my surroundings. There are definitely no excuses. If you don’t have a gym, that doesn’t matter! Go to the local park and throw on the joggers. I think it’s really key to link in with a training partner to stay encouraged. You can put some playful little wagers on if one of your miss the session! There’s going to be times when you want to give up but you just got to find that resilience in yourself to be mentally and physically strong.
Sally has also compiled some of herbest recipes from the Train Like Sally Program over the next few pages, for more information on
Train Like Sally Visit www.trainlikesally.com