ANOTHER DREAM ENTIRELY
Words and Images compliments of Red Bull
Sally Fitzgibbons has always dreamt of having a desert island to herself, with endless waves and a heap of jungle creatures singing that "wimoweh" song from Lion King. But endless waves in the desert? That’s another dream entirely. A dream that could only be made a
reality in Dubai, where money is no object and five- star hotels are considered hostels.
We mean, they built an entire residential island shaped as a palm tree and another series of man- made islands shaped as the five continents...
Anywho, back to the story and how in the world No.3 women’s surfer Sally Fitzgibbons found herself in the middle of the Arab desert with a heap of new Firewire boards and a film crew.
It all started with being knocked at the US Open of Surf at Huntington Beach back in August, 2012. The reigning champion and world No.2 at the time, Sal was the favourite. But in a controversial heat, Sally was knocked in the semi- final by Carissa Moore, with Lakey Peterson - one of few exponents of the aerial manoeuvre in women's surfing - going on to win the event.
Just a year earlier Sal had defeated Peterson in the very same final, but come 2012 had changed up her game. So beaten but not broken, Sal made a decision, to shake the bridesmaid tag she's held for three consecutive seasons and re- invent her surfing by adding another weapon to her arsenal - the aerial.
“I travelled there for the Red Bull training project with the sole purpose to work on my aerial maneuvers and learning how to land new tricks," Sal says.
“I definitely took the double take at my emails when I saw where I would be going on my next Red Bull adventure. The idea for aerial training at a wave facility had been floating around for a couple of months and then it popped up again at the US Open, so it was a pretty quick turn around and we were so excited to bring the concept to life. I placed no expectations on what I would be seeing or doing, I just let my mind be open to everything and I feel that’s what brought my best surfing out. In a nutshell, I went to the 50 degree desert of Dubai to surf in a wave pool and it absolutely blew my mind."
Pumping out three- foot waves every 90 seconds, this wave pool is no mirage. It’s currently the best surf pool on the planet and pushes out almost identical waves from sunrise to sunset.
“I’d finish surfing my wave, washing up right by my coach Dan Ross’s feet ready to hear feedback and get straight back out there before the next set came through,” Sal says. “You have time to get a couple of turns in before