Isabella Nichols has defeated Olympian Sally FItzgibbons to claim the Sydney Surf Pro at North Narrabeen as both surfers battle to regain a spot back on the World Championship Tour.
Nichols posted a two-wave total of 13.84 which included an excellent 8.14 single wave. While Fitzgibbons could only manage a combined heat total of 10.14.
Nichols told the WSL she contemplated not even competing in Sydney.
“This is not what I expected at the beginning of this week,” the 24-year-old said.
“In all honesty, I was considering not coming to this event because I just wasn’t in a great headspace. It’s been a really tough year for me and my confidence has been really low so it’s crazy to be here now having won the event. I just surrounded myself with great people and with plenty of positivity and it’s made such a difference.”
Nichols now sits third on the rankings, behind fellow Aussies Fitzgibbons and India Robinson.
“It was so solid out there,” Nichols continued.
“I was really anxious before heading out and we both copped a few massive waves on the head. It was good to finally get a few waves and challenge myself. I’ve discovered so much about myself that I didn’t know before.”
In the Men’s Final, Jacob Wilcox finished runner-up to Cole Houshmand (USA). The result is the best of his career and has rocketed him to No. 1 on the Challenger Series rankings.
“Getting second is tough but I’m still feeling really good about this,” Willcox told the WSL.
“After two events last year I had two last-place finishes and today I have a fifth and a second so I’m in a bit of a different spot right now. It was really challenging out there but it was definitely awesome to get some powerful surf. It was good to surf with Cole, he was ripping all week and I’m stoked to be sitting in this position now.”
The next stop of the series is the Ballito Pro on July 9 – 17.