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Surf champ scores a different crown

Australia's first Bachelorette of the Year hopes her victory will get her a few extra waves and win a few bets, though a tiara would be nice as well.

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Back in March the good folk at Pedestrian invited Australia to “'dob in' all of their rad lady friends who deserve to be celebrated for their incredible skills,” as they launched the Bachelorette of the Year competition for 2012. Last night surf champ Sally Fitzgibbons was announced as the inaugural title holder, at an event at Upstairs Beresford.

“It's a bit of an honour!” Fitzgibbons told our self-appointed Bachelorette expert Giles Hardie, admitting that her friends nominated her because they "wanted to see Sal Fitz from the South Coast do well."

A judging panel decided the winner after a popular vote determined the top ten. "I didn't go round door knocking," said Sal who instead relied on a Twitter campaign. However the world surfing number two’s competitive spirit only kicked in when her three older brothers, who found the whole concept funny, gave her an inadvertently inspirational talk: "What are you in this for?" they asked, "you're not going to win Sal".

“My brothers fancy a few of the other women in the list over myself,” Sal revealed. Their scorn was all she needed.

So what benefits does Sal see in the title? For one thing, next time she is asked for "something you wouldn't know about Sally Fitzgibbons” - as the entry form for this competition did - she’ll have something to answer. She also has a few bets going, with a range of friends on the South Coast set to be forced to either wear the jersey of her beloved Dragons or give up three amazing waves in the surf.

Sal knows her win is a gossip columnist’s dream, with rumours she was dating Cleo Bachelor of the Year Hayden Quinn. There's only hitch according to Sal, “we weren't in a relationship, just friends. Just hanging out.”

“It’s so funny that we're both receiving the crowns. Hayden's a great friend of mine. He'll be stoked for me. Maybe he'll even throw me a wave or two at Dee Why point!”

Still, the girl who is aiming to be top of a distinctly male dominated sport admits the Bachelorette crown is the fulfillment of only her second greatest childhood dream. “When I was a real youngster, I wanted to be a princess with a tiara, but the one that always topped that was wanting to be a champion sportswoman.”

“I'm chasing that world title. I'm close to that one. To get two in one year, that would be amazing.”