Sally Fitz over the moon for Margies Pro defence
DEFENDING Margaret River Pro champion Sally Fitzgibbons has pain but is no longer seriously impeded by a foot injury that has confined to a moon boot out of the water for the past three weeks.
The NSW south coast surfer says she is fired-up ahead of her last opportunity to claim a win in Australian waters prior to the world tour heading overseas for the remainder of 2018.
One of Australia's leading contenders for the 2018 world crown with champion Tyler Wright and six-time winner Stephanie Gilmore, Fitzgibbons is languishing in 10th place in the title race after her worst result at Bells Beach last week - a 13th.
But Fitzgibbons is upbeat about both her recovery from the foot injury and her chances of defending the Margaret River Pro crown when the competition starts as early as Wednesday.
"I crushed it on a landing,'' Fitzgibbons said of her injured big toe.
"It's good to avoid a break but difficult to heal so I've been kicking round in a boot.
"I'm pretty ready for this event though. I can definitely be out there knowing I am not doing further damage.
"There is pain but it's not bad pain.''
Gilmore and compatriot Julian Wilson, who shares the No.1 ranking with Brazilian Italo Ferreira, will both wear the yellow leaders rashie into the third leg of this year's women's and men's world tours.
But absent from the event will be two of the US's best - 11-time world champion Kelly Slater and Courtney Conlogue.
Both are out with foot injuries. Conlogue's protracted recovery has delivered Central Coast teenager Macy Callaghan her third straight start on the world surfing tour as the injury replacement.
Joining Wilson in the men's field is Mikey Wright, who has been awarded the wildcard after taking down two world champions at the recent Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.