Despite arriving on Maui ranked World No. 1, Sally Fitzgibbons suffered a major setback Wednesday in her quest to earn her first-ever World Title. In a huge upset, Oahu wildcard Brisa Hennessy eliminated Fitzgibbons -- a veteran of the women's Championship Tour -- in their Round Two battle at the Maui Women's Pro. That Fitzgibbons was even in Round Two was problematic to begin with: Despite coming in with the top-shelf competitive track record, she finished that heat in third, behind Hennessy in second, and Silvana Lima in first.
As if on cue, the skies over Honolua Bay turned dark and a rain squall soaked Honolua Bay as Sally's chances faded. By day's end, her World Title hopes were dashed as Tyler Wright gained the advantage by advancing directly to the Quarterfinals with a win in Round Three. For Hennessy, the win was an incredible achievement, albeit bittersweet, given that she's a fan of Fitzgibbons. Nevertheless, her win will go down as one of the most significant moments in the 2017 season. For Fitzgibbons, the loss is unknowably painful, and one she'll be dissecting for months to come.