Shady Lady: Why Champion Surfer Sally Fitzgibbons is Ducking for Cover this Summer

One champion surfer is making waves when it comes to a sun-safe message for Gen Y this summer.

“From a very young age my parents did a great job with my three older brothers and me, educating and making us aware of the importance of sun safety,” explains Professional world surfer Sally Fitzgibbons. “I remember I wasn’t allowed to go to the beach until I had my hat and sunscreen on and beach umbrella ready.”

This early education has inspired Sally to become an ambassador for Pretty Shady - a Gen Y focused sun safety program running until March 2016.

“It’s a well-known fact that Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and that it’s the most common cancer affecting young Australians,” explains Alecia Brooks, Manager of Skin Cancer Prevention at the Cancer Institute NSW. “Every young Aussie has a chance to make a difference and save lives by being part of the generation that stops skin cancer, one summer at a time.”

Sally has joined forces with other Gen Y inspirations, like actor Callan McAuliffe and Olympic Swimmer, Cameron McEvoy, to push the #PrettyShady message. 


“We as Australians have a rich beach culture, having grown up with Aussie summers and being Pretty Shady doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy those summers," Sally notes.

"However, [Pretty Shady is] that added little message along the way, that added little reminder on the shoulder, to say 'hey, don’t forget to wear your hat, sunnies and sunscreen' - and it’s cool to be on board, pushing that message."

Here are five of Sally’s biggest tips for being Pretty Shady all summer.  

No generation is safe from skin cancer

Sally was shocked to discover that Australia is the skin cancer capital of the world, she notes. “The world is a big place, and our small population has the statistics of 2 in 3 Aussies will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some stage in their lives!” she says. “Those statistics are right under our noses, and if you haven’t been directly affected, then there is probably a friend, family friend or member that’s going through a terrible case of skin cancer due to not taking those steps to prevent it the early stages. The importance is there, and Pretty Shady and myself are going to continue to rally and get more people aware.”

Make 'Pretty Shady' a habit

“I think a good tip is tricking yourself into keeping sunscreen next to your car keys if you’re driving to the beach so you cannot forget it,” she advises. “If you ride to the beach, wrap your sunscreen in your towel or keep it in your beach basket so it’s there and you cannot leave it behind.”


Sun smarts can be fashion forward

“This summer I am loving big floppy hats and black aviators, those two have become my signature items!” she says. “I think it’s key to have a couple of fashionable accessories that you love and are attached to and can just throw on with any outfit while being both stylish and sun smart. I also do not leave the house without my Solar D sunscreen.”

Help Someone Else Be 'Pretty Shady'

Growing up I was always aware of being sun safe, so I think going back I would say to my younger self to help others that perhaps did not have the same education as I did and didn’t understand the importance of being sun safe. I would tap a friend or one of my teammates on the shoulder and ask “have you put sunscreen on?” instead of knowing how religiously I put on sunscreen and assuming everyone else did the same.”

'Pretty Shady' is Beautiful

“I think the biggest myth on the female side is that if you have makeup on you are sun safe. That is not the case, and I cannot stress the importance of having an SPF component, a layer underneath your makeup at all times, especially if you are working outdoors. Busting that myth and getting the education behind it would be awesome.”


Want more? We thought you might like this video.


Sign Out

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.