It was a nervous and gut wrenching wait, but our local Kingscliff lass Stephanie Gilmore won her sixth Women’s World Surfing Title at Honolua Bay last Friday.
The door was left open and the angst began after Gilmore was taken out in the quarter finals of the Target Maui Pro by USA ripper Courtney Conolouge, opening a chance at the World Title for Sally Fitzgibbon and Tyler Wright.
On the webcast Gilmore said she was pretty shattered after the quarter-final defeat.
“I just was out there so disappointed, and I just wanted to keep paddling to Molokai,” she said.
But as Gilmore made her way in, the scores from the heat between Sally Fitzgibbon and Bianca Buitendag were coming through, and the only girl who beat her without a surf off, was eliminated from the event and the World Title race.
Tyler Wright was the only other contender for the title, but she would have to win the Target Maui Pro from Carissa Moore, then have to win a best two out of three heat surf off. The way the chips fell, it was Gilmore’s sixth World Title, and a relieved and happy lass she was.
“That was probably the most emotional I’ve ever been watching someone else surf in my life,” Gilmore said of the final.
“I know how focused Tyler (Wright) is and I was completely prepared for a surf-off. However, I also knew how incredibly capable Carissa (Moore) is at virtually every venue. I feel like I had a year’s worth of emotions packed into one heat. I won my first title here at Honolua Bay, but after my loss in the Quarterfinals, I was prepared for anything to happen. I’m really emotional right now.”
“The caliber of surfing on tour this season is the highest it has ever been. There are no easy heats. This was the hardest title I’ve ever won. The talent level is only going to increase in future years but I’m so pleased I’ve won and want to thank everyone who has supported me this year – my family, my friends and my sponsors.”
Well now everyone is waiting to see if Steph can equal Layne Beachley’s record of seven World Titles. Layne has tweeted “6 down 1 to go”, and also “Can somebody stop her (Tongue planted firmly in cheek)”, and Layne reckons there is every possibility she can get to seven and beyond.
Stephanie the “old-girl”on tour at 26 years of age!
The competition is intense now on the Women’s World Tour, and the level of surfing is just getting better each year. One thing Stephanie Gilmore has done over the years, is evolve and constantly lift her surfing to the next level. Some bloke named Kelly Slater has been doing that for decades, so to me eight, nine, ten or more world titles are not out of the Kingsciff super girl’s reach.