Shedding her junior tag

SURFING rookie Sally Fitzgibbon is done with making history and will settle for winning a single heat when she hits the waves for the first time as a professional.

The 2008 junior world champion set a new standard for surfing last year when she qualified for the world tour in just six months and six events - the fastest qualification ever.

At the season-opening Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast, the 18-year-old will be competing as a professional for the first time, but Fitzgibbon plans to start off without fanfare.

Rejecting scenarios of claiming big-name scalps, the NSW teenager will be happy as long as she's in the water - although one heat win would be nice.

“I'd love to just get a heat under the belt and move up towards the pointy end ,” she said.

It's been a gradual rise to the professional circuit for Fitzgibbon who entered her first surfing competition at age 11.

Just three years later, and a few events into the junior series, she was being touted as a future world champion by her compatriots.

But the former state touch football, athletics and soccer player has always been adept at handling the pressure of great expectation.

“I've always been a bit of an underdog, from a small town (Gerroa), and the fact that I've got three older brothers - they would knock me down quick smart,” she said.

The Roxy Pro begins at Snappers Rocks on Saturday.



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