Wilkinson and Fitzgibbons claim the 2016 Newcastle Surfest

February 29, 2016 | Surfing
Sally Fitzgibbons: she dominated the  Taggart Women's Pro | Photo: WSL

Matt Wilkinson and Sally Fitzgibbons have been crowned the 2016 Newcastle Surfest champions, at Merewether Beach, in Australia.

The finals days of the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro got underway in clean four-to-six foot waves. World Championship Tour campaigner Matt Wilkinson proved why he is one of the strongest surfers in Australia.

The Sydney charger defeated Italian star Leonardo Fioravanti with a solid overall score of 17.83 points. Wilkinson used his powerful vertical backhand re-entries to claim the event.

"I'm so stoked; I didn't really realize how long it had been since I had won something. I've had a few seconds and thirds, but it definitely feels good to be on top," said Wilko.

"Newcastle is so great. I've been coming up here for years and have a good group of friends here do I always feel comfortable here. We had such good waves today it was awesome. I was getting some good rights, so I feel like it's pretty good preparation for Snapper."

On the women's side, Sally Fitzgibbons confirmed her superiority over her nemesis Stephanie Gilmore and took out the Taggart Women's Pro with a confident display of rail-to-rail surfing.

"This is so good; such a great start the year. Having a win early in the year is awesome for confidence and momentum going into the CT season. Competing in these regional areas is so great with all the support and energy shown from the local community there's just nothing better," added Fitzgibbons.

"I've been coming to Newcastle for years now, and it really does feel like a home away from home I've had a blast all week as well as preparing for Snapper."

Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro | Final

1. Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 17.83
2. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), 13.33

Taggart Women's Pro | Final

1. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 14.73
2. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 11.77

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