PHILLIP Island surfer and former Newhaven College girl, Nikki van Dijk, is on top of the world today after claiming her maiden World Surf League event in Portugal on Wednesday
Nikki says she’s achieved a lifelong dream by winning the event, taking out former world champion Carissa Moore in the final and fellow Australian Sally Fitzgibbons in the semis in a giant-killing surge to the title.
Van Dijk’s win still managed to bolster Fitzgibbons’ shot at a world title following the shock withdrawal of rival Tyler Wright who tore a MCL while preparing for the event.
“I have jelly legs, everything is jelly but I’m just so happy,” van Dijk said shortly after the win.
“It feels amazing. I’m living my eight-year-old dream right now and I’m over the moon. I couldn’t imagine what this would feel like but if feels so good. Now that I’ve done it, I’m so hungry to win even more.”
Earlier, when interviewed after the surprise semi-final win over Fitzgibbons, Nikki said she was enjoying the event and planned to roll on through and that’s exactly what she did in the final.
Van Dijk tore through a solid field on the way to victory, eliminating US surfer Lakey Peterson before taking down Fitzgibbons in their close semi-final match-up, 13.66 to 13-50.
Incredibly she moves to fifth in the world rankings and has a career at the top of the sport at her feet.
With just two events left on the women’s tour, Fitzgibbons maintains a decent lead over California’s Courtney Conlogue on the ratings however she maintained she took the missed opportunity to extend that lead in Portugal hard.
“It’s a bit tough at the moment,” Fitzgibbons said after her loss to van Dijk.
“I thought I surfed really well so to hear those scores and not come in with the win is a challenge, but something I’ll learn from. It felt good that my surfing stepped up from the Quarterfinals but it just wasn’t to be today.
“It was a great opportunity today to go further in the lead and I’m glad we’ve got an event next week. The challenge is keeping me inspired and fired up to get out there and keep making heats.”
Top: Nikki Van Dijk of Australia (pictured) won the 2017 Cascais Women’s Pro defeating Carissa Moore of Hawaii in the final at Cascais, Portugal last Wednesday October 4. PHOTO: © WSL/Poullenot
Below: Nikki Van Dijk of Phillip Island and Carissa Moore of Hawaii (pictured), the winner and finalist (respectively) in the 2017 Cascais Women’s Pro at Cascais, Portugal on Wednesday October 4, 2017. PHOTO: © WSL/Poullenot.
Below: Nikki Van Dijk of Australia is the winner of the 2017 Cascais Women’s Pro after defeating 3X World Champion Carissa Moore of Hawaii in the final in Cascais, Portugal. PHOTO: © WSL/Poullenot.
Below: Nikki Van Dijk of Australia advances to the semi-finals of the 2017 Cascais Women’s Pro after defeating Lakey Peterson of the USA in quarter final Heat 1 at Cascais, Portugal on Wednesday October 4. It was here she defeated world championship favourite, and fellow Aussie, Sally Fitzgibbons, on the way to her first final. PHOTO: © WSL/Poullenot.