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Fitzgibbons gets unwanted surf tour 1st

  • Fitzgibbons gets unwanted surf tour 1st

    Sally Fitzgibbons has been knocked out of the Gold Coast World Surf League event in the second round

It's taken eight years but Sally Fitzgibbons picked up an unwanted career first at the World Surf League event on the Gold Coast.

The Australian had never been eliminated in the second round of a world tour event in her career, until Saturday.

Fitzgibbons was left shaking her head after injury wildcard Bronte Macaulay nailed an 8.50 out of 10 on her final wave to knock the three-time world championship runner-up out of the tournament.

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Adding to Fitzgibbons' pain was that she'd earlier been beaten in the opening round at Snapper Rocks in similar fashion with American Malia Manuel snatching a winning ride in the dying seconds of the heat.

It was a bittersweet way for Fitzgibbons to mark her 60th world tour appearance.

"Competitive surfing's pretty tricky sometimes. Pretty cryptic, mentally," she said.

"I came into today feeling really strong and nice and light, it was a good taper into this event. Everything was feeling on song, it's just in that 30 minutes it really didn't swing my way."

Fitzgibbons won't have long to shake off her disappointment, with the second stop of the world tour at Bells Beach set to start on March 24.

"Everyone's surfing to such a high level you got to be on the best waves and be switched on for that 30 minutes," she said.

"I really can't wait to Bells now I guess."

For West Australian Macaulay, a late inclusion in the field after American Lakey Peterson broke her ankle last month, the win was an undoubted career highlight.

"I've got to make the most of it while I'm filling in for her," the 21-year-old told AAP.

"I should have no nerves because I'm not worried about ranking. I don't know how many CTs I'm going to surf.

"It's all about experience, either way I'm going to come away with something."

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