Sally Fitzgibbons is an Australian surfing superstar. The down-to-earth girl from the sleepy NSW south coast town of Gerroa has been cutting it with the world’s best on the pro circuit for eight years and become a household name.
She’s driven, determined and has come so close to her goal of snagging a world title -- and now she has another goal as well.
While the country backs her relentless efforts for world domination, the 25-year-old is also backing herself as the next big entrepreneur in the fitness and health sphere.
“I’ll never lose the desire to chase the world title and continue to improve as an athlete but I’m just looking for something a little extra,” she told The Huffington Post Australia.
“I love investing in startups -- and it’s the worst thing to do apparently -- but I love those businesses and projects and I thought if I am investing in other people I should just invest in my own and have a crack.”
And she certainly is having a crack, throwing herself into two projects through her business, Fitzgibbons International -- DREAM (Drop Everything And Move), the first campaign from her Fitzgibbons Foundation to encourage kids to get off the couch; and the 12-week All Australian Beach Body Program, which will be supported by an app, Train Like Sally.
The program will come off the back of last year’s release of her health and fitness book, Live Like Sally.
For Fitzgibbons, who’s so dedicated to becoming a world champion that she shuns alcohol, coffee and rises religiously at 4.30am to train each day, being healthy is a lifestyle and she’s passionate about helping others live life to the fullest.
So much so that she’s diving headfirst into the crowded fitspo market with her Beach Body Program and app.
“The Train Like Sally app will be a huge product release for us,” she said.
“The Beach Body program is everything I love about movement and training and the things that make me peak. Where we differentiate (from other 12-week programs) is probably with respect to being an elite athlete right at the top of the bubble and being current in that space.”
And Fitzgibbons isn’t just interested in creating healthy adults -- she wants her philosophy to start with kids through her DREAM campaign which encourages kids to be active for at least 30 minutes a day.
“I didn’t even realise when I was super young that the life I was living and being super-outdoors and active and on the coast and in the hills and going adventuring -- I just thought that’s what everybody was exposed to,” she said.
“And then I started to travel and I realised people are not exposed to this and maybe there is a job for me to here to try and plant those seeds and create that inspiration and imagination as to what they can do with their body and incorporate it into their daily lives.”
Most people have said she’s a little crazy to split her focus and develop a business while still competing at an elite level, but Fitzgibbons is aware that her window of influence is here and now -- and she needs to take the risk.
“I’m often advised to do it at the end of your career but the people I want to communicate to are my generation or younger and I still want to be relevant to that,” she said.
“Going into it, especially mid-last year with the launch of the book, I was a big ball of nerves and excitement and adrenaline -- it’s just like putting on a rashie and paddling out at an event.
“Paddling into the business world is daunting but I am learning and have my eyes and ears open.”
As if it’s not enough to be making inroads into the world of business, Fitzgibbons is also giving someone the chance to kickstart their career through her role as a Canon ambassador.
From today, Fitzgibbons is helping to launch the Canon Dream Squad competition, where one lucky would-be entrepreneur will get to work with Canon Australia’s social and Sun Studios teams as well as videographer Abraham Joffe and surf photographer Eugene Tan to learn the ropes of content creation, social media and strategy to be successful entrepreneurs.
They’ll also get a trip for two to the Target Maui Pro in December 2016 to capture Fitzgibbons in action, get to hang with the Fitzgibbons International team and be able to pick the surfer’s entrepreneurial brain.
“It’s super exciting,” she said. “We are trying to inspire other Australians to turn their passions into a career.
“The winner will be coming into Fitzgibbons International and hopefully feeding off the energy we have in and around our business. We literally are still in the building phases and creating the vision and to have someone there from the beginning to check it out and see that we’re really driven to achieve and kick goals with the business.”
And you can bet she will have some great insights to pass on, knowing the importance of social media and the right imagery in creating and building a brand.
“I think imagery for us is what connects the dots, whether it’s myself competing or my passion for the health and fitness space or building the business, it’s a really natural tie-in to everything we are doing,” she said.
“I think the evolution of social media platforms has been really neat because when I first started as a gronk you sort of think well, not everyone is aware of when you’re surfing, even getting surfing to live TV took its time. So creating a story and journey for what you’re doing to connect with every single day was sort of crucial for people to keep that interest.”
Three finalists will receive Canon equipment including a tripod, microphone, camera 70D, SD cards, and 12-month Adobe Creative cloud subscription.
Applicants must submit a five-minute video and Fitzgibbons will pick a winner after the competition closes on May 31.