Sally Fitzgibbons

ASP World Junior Champion Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW, AUS) proclaimed her arrival as Australia’s next biggest talent, taking out the 6-Star ASP World Qualifying Series Roxy Surf Festival, at Phillip Island, on Australia Day.

The 17-year-old ‘super-grom’ (young surfer) has not put a foot wrong this year. Winning three out of four events in January alone, Fitzgibbons capped it off with a sensational victory over Bruna Schmitz (BRA), simultaneously shooting to No. 1 on the WQS ratings.

“It’s been a great start to 2008,” Fitzgibbons conceded. “I won the World Junior Championships (in Sydney) which was a dream come true and to win a 6-Star WQS really caps it off.”

A top scorer from start to finish, Fitzgibbons appeared to have met her match in fellow 17-year-old Schmitz. The two surfers exchanged near perfect 9-point rides in the excellent 1-5 meter waves, before Fitzgibbons unleashed a sensational 9.75 to sail home with the win.

“Bruna surfed extremely well and I guess when you’re surfing against someone like that, one high score is never going to be enough,” Fitzgibbons explained. “I put my head down because I knew I had to get another one, and I’m just stoked to come through with the win.”

The result marked a career best for both surfers - Fitzgibbons taking home US$ 4 500 for first place, while Schmitz earned US$ 2 300 and has moved into No. 2 on the WQS ratings.

“I am really, really happy to get this far,” Schmitz beamed. “Sally is a very good competitor; she’s really strong and always gets the good waves. I still scored a 9.00 in the Final so it was close.”

The girlfriend of ASP World No. 8 Jeremy Flores (FRA), Schmitz credited her man for her outstanding achievement today.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a letter in support of the proposed 241 toll road extension in South Orange County.

The letter was issued just two weeks before a critical vote by the California Coastal Commission to determine if the proposed extension violates the California Coastal Act. A staff report prepared by the CCC concludes that it does.

“We are absolutely taken aback by this,” said Surfrider Foundation CEO Jim Moriarty. “For the Governor to take this unprecedented step of interfering with the workings of an independent and non-political commission, an entity which was established by California voters and whose sole responsibility is to decide the future of California’s coasts and beaches based on law and fact, is entirely inappropriate.”

The disappointing announcement comes just six days after the California Governor unveiled his plans to close forty-eight California State Parks, allow for the early release of prisoners from state correctional facilities, and raise Department of Motor Vehicle fees. “We had hoped that Governor Schwarzenegger was insincere in his threat to close state parks and beaches,” says Moriarty.

“It now appears that he is absolutely intent on sacrificing our state park system and natural resources for his political objectives.”

The California State Parks Department has maintained that they may be forced to abandon nearly sixty percent of San Onofre State Beach Park, including the popular San Mateo Creek Campground, should the proposed extension to the 241 toll road be completed, Governor Schwarzenegger’s failure to support San Onofre State Beach Park by endorsing the 241 toll road extension is in direct contrast to the efforts of his Republican predecessors, President Richard M. Nixon and then-Governor Ronald Reagan, both of whom worked to establish San Onofre State Beach as a part of their legacy; hoping that it would exist as a resource to be used and enjoyed by future generations.

The Surfrider Foundation activists and other opponents to the planned toll road will be gathering in Oceanside, California on February 6th for a planned rally outside the California Coastal Commission hearing. All members of the public are invited to attend.

Source: SurfRider Foundation

Surf City USA

The city's visitors bureau have guaranteed its exclusive Surf City USA trademark, ending a legal battle with a Santa Cruz shop owner who sued them over the brand use. Huntington Beach City reached a settlement with Santa Cruz, after a dispute reignited in 2004.

The Surf City USA brand began as a concept proposed at a brand discovery workshop of the Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau on July 20, 2004.

At the time, workshop participants felt that the City's official nickname, "Surf City" - representing the idealized Southern California beach town celebrated in a Jan and Dean song by the same title - represented a potential brand position that could be used to promote the city.

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