Fitzgibbon’s Bells bid hangs in the balance

 

Fin gash could take toll 0:43

Surfing: Days after victory at Margaret River, Sally Fitzgibbons is in major doubt for the rest of the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, with the two-time champion picked up a foot gash in the dying stages of her third-round heat.

Sally Fitzgibbons is hoping to surf her elimination heat at Bells. Picture: Jason Sammon

A STITCHED-UP but still shocked Sally Fitzgibbons is not sure if she will be able to surf again at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

Fitzgibbons was resting on a Thursday after slashing her foot open on the fin on her surfboard while competing in the third round of the world tour event.

“It was unexpected to suffer an injury like that at the end of the heat,” said Fitzgibbons, currently leading the world title race with fellow Australian Stephanie Gilmore.

Sally Fitzgibbons is hoping to surf her elimination heat at Bells. Picture: Jason Sammon

Sally Fitzgibbons is hoping to surf her elimination heat at Bells. Picture: Jason SammonSource:News Corp Australia

“The swell was a bit random at the end of the day and I found myself coming unstuck on a set looking for a score.

“It was a shock to the system to cop a solid blow from my fin straight into my foot and see all the blood coming out. “

Bleeding profusely Fitzgibbons, who won the world tour event at Margaret a River last Saturday and is a two-time winner at Bells, was rushed to shore and treated by on-site medics.

“Credit to the medical team on hand for taking great care of me,” she said.

Fitzgibbons wins in WA0:44

Surfing: Sally Fitzgibbons takes out the Margaret River Pro.

“I’m all stitched up and I will do my best to get back on my board in the coming days.”

Working in Fitzgibbons’ favour is the fact the men have yet to surf at Bells Beach after a layday was called on Thursday.

It is likely they will be sent out first when the competition is reactivated, giving Fitzgibbons more time to recover from the injury to the top her foot which required a number of stitches.

If Fitzgibbons can surf with her injured foot, she still has the chance to make the quarter-finals by winning her round four heat against Tatiana Weston-Webb.

In other round four match-ups defending champion Courtney Conlogue from the US will surf local Nikki Van Dijk and six-time world champion Gilmore will meet Brazilian Silvana Lima.