A Moment With Stephanie Gilmore

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posted by James Willmott

If there is one name to scream women’s surfing, it’s Stephanie Gilmore. After taking time to recover after last year’s unfortunate knee injury, Steph is now back and surfing better than ever, ready to tackle the competitive side of the sport once again, and furthermore, dominate it.

We caught up with the 6 times World Champ to talk about getting back on Tour, her favourite boards in her ever growing quiver and how she worked with Roxy to help develop their new Pop Surf range.

Steph, thank you for taking the time to chat with us! How have you been?
Yeah good thanks, pretty busy! It’s been a nice time at home, it’s getting a little busier now.

Did you get some nice down time over the New Year or have you been frantically getting ready to get back on tour and start competing again?
Yeah definitely, I had a big break last year so it’s been pretty important to me to make sure I get into shape and get ready for the first event of the year.

What’re you looking forward to most?
For the most part I’ve just always enjoyed my time in events, so when I had time off last year I kind of missed it. It feels like home to go to events and compete, although there is a lot going on. I’ve been doing it for a long time, it’s like my 9th or 10th year on Tour I think.  So yeah, it’s comfortable and I enjoy it.

What were the struggles of being injured for so long? How’s the knee?
Yeah it’s good thanks, I’m feeling fit and my knee feels great. It’s nice to get that out of the way because injuries are always a bummer. You can never really protect yourself from injuries but I’m trying to put in the work off the beach to make sure I’m strong and can avoid them.

Have you changed anything up to best prepare to get back on Tour?
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the gym and all the boring stuff but it’s been good. I have been learning a lot working with Nam Baldwin who Mick Fanning trains with, he’s great just been doing a lot of leg strength training. I think I sort of lost all of that strength last year because I wasn’t in the water and was off gallivanting around the world having a good time, so I really have to get back to feeling that confidence again in my body and my strength. I’m always pretty relaxed with that kind of stuff. I haven’t really pushed myself hard enough in the past but this year I’ve decided if I really want to do well I’m going to have to step it up.

You were born and raised in NSW, what were your childhood surf breaks?
Yeah my parents are is still in Kingscliff, one sister lives over in California and the other one moved back over from France, it’s good. I travel a lot but every time I come home I just look around and remember how spoilt we are to grow up in such a beautiful area and try not to take it for granted.

Can you give us a rundown of your favourite boards in your quiver?
Yeah I have a few favorites, I have a couple that I don’t even ride very often but they look so great. A couple years ago Quiksilver did a specialty heat it was Ando, Dane, myself and a bunch of other guys out at Kirra. I ended up winning this Mark Richards single fin with a big lightning bolt on it that’s pretty cool. Also, probably the single fin that I rode in the Spirit of Alaska film, that’s a pretty special board too, then obviously all my Darren Handley boards that I’ve won events on, they are pretty special to me.

Can you describe what’s it like to be a part of the Roxy family?
Yeah it’s cool, Roxy to me from such a young age and as long as I can remember has been the most appealing brand for a young girl to be involved with in surfing. They are iconic and they have paved the way for females in surfing to surf great and look good. So when I came into the Quiksilver family I was pretty excited, we have a great group of girls who are genuinely really good friends, so when we do a trip or shoot or anything like that it’s pretty authentic imagery of the girls just hanging out and surfing. It never really feels like work to go on a Roxy trip, so that’s pretty special.

have just released their new Pop Surf range. Tell us about the benefits of this new collection and what makes it so special?
The Pop Surf collection that Roxy have been doing for a couple of years now has always been something that they try make stand out from the rest of their lines. It’s something that’s a little more fashion and funky but works in the surf. It kind of suits my theme and what I love when I’m trying to decide what to wear when I go surfing. I love all the outfits, I’ll surf in any of it really. I love the long sleeve bikini style wetsuits, because you get a good tan and nothing falls off no matter what kind of wipe out you’re about to have, they are pretty safe.

Do you have any input to these collections, as in feedback, decisions on designs, cuts, etc?
All the girl’s on the team are surfers, we are not models and we genuinely use the product day to day, so that’s something that the Roxy designers are always making sure of that we meet up and we discuss what we like and we don’t like, what looks good, what feels good and what suits our body shapes.  There’s a lot of input from the girls. Of course we want to be wearing products that we love so we get excited to work with designers and make sure we want to wear the collections. It’s a good relationship that we have.

People say you are now surfing better than ever and that this could be the beginning of another world title? Any thoughts? We’d love to see it happen.
The whole reason I do the Tour is because I love it, but I’m there to win a World Title and win events I’m there for business really but it’s still the best job in the world no matter what. All the girls have reached a whole new level which I watched from a far last year, so I’ve had to work really hard to keep that level up and progress further. I’d love to win another World Title, seven is a pretty wild number, but I’ll do my best!

That being said, I guess you’d say you have a pretty competitive nature?
Yeah, definitely. it might not seem like it because it is fun and sometimes you can get caught up in that, but when it comes down to anything I’m doing I always want to win.

What are the biggest challenges with life on Tour?
It’s pretty draining, I’ll admit that. In airports you’re rushing and waiting and it can be frustrating but it’s all part of it , it’s pretty easy to remind yourself where you are going or what you are about to do so it’s pretty easy to stay positive. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I love it so may as well do it while I have the energy, time and opportunities.

Tell us about hanging with the girls, do any of them have funny habits?
Sally is an exercise freak! She is always exercising even around events you’ll drive to the beach and see Sally running past. Laura is pretty fun, she is hilarious she is always super bubbly and down to celebrate whoever wins, no matter who it is. Everyone’s pretty normal otherwise.

What will we find playing in your headphones before a heat?
It kind of depends, lately I have just been getting in the zone of the event. If the waves are big and intense I would probably go for Queens of The Stone Age or Them Crooked Vultures. If it’s pretty cruisy and fun I can get pretty weird hah! I dunno, I could go something like Kanye?

What do you do with your time when you aren’t surfing?
I’m pretty relaxed, I’ve never been able to stick to any one routine, I love to hang at home, listen to music, play guitar, bring some friends around jam out a bit and have cook ups. I have one of those micro korg synthesizers and a loop pedal, I waste hours on that thing!

Thanks for chatting Steph, good luck for this year!
Thanks guys!


Steph’s favourites: