Curl - - 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

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