Sally Fitzgibbons is loving the added lure of Olympic qualification in her quest for a maiden World Surf League crown.
The Australian heads into this weekend's Freshwater Pro at Kelly Slater's Californian Surf Ranch second on the tour ranking behind America's Carissa Moore.
The 28-year-old's focus may primarily be on ending her decade-long wait for a world title, but the former junior athletics star is also in the box seat to secure one of the two women's spots in Australia's Olympic surfing squad for Tokyo 2020.
Competing in Australia's team at the World Surfing Games in Japan earlier this month cemented Fitzgibbons' Olympic eligibility and she says that taste of national representation had whetted her appetite for what lies ahead.
"Obviously the main focus for this year is doing well and fighting for the title and if you're doing that successfully and you're on the hunt for that title, you're in the box seat in terms of those Olympic selections," Fitzgibbons told AAP.
"It's cool that they work hand-in-hand.
"We did have to head over there to Japan and kind of experience the world game flavour too. It just gave us time in that Aussie squad and to really develop that culture."
Fitzgibbons says surfing's status as an Olympic sport is bringing wider benefits to the sport as well.
"It's a very welcome change to the sport having the Olympic inclusion because I've just seen so many positive changes in Surfing Australia and the support from the government just to help us do what we do better and help us improve," she said.
"That's pretty amazing to have your country behind you."
Australian Associated Press