OK Steph, Give us 5!
Congratulations to our Queen of the waves for reclaiming the number one surfing title and securing her 5th ASP World Women's crown at Biarritz, France during the Roxy Pro.
When Stephanie Gilmore woke up on Saturday July 14, ironically on Bastille Day when the French celebrate their culture and independence, she wasn't about to jinx herself with high expectations.
"I woke up and thought it wouldn't happen today," she said.
"But as the day progressed and things fell into place I began to believe it could happen.
"France is such a special place and having so many people on the beach watching us surf today is really emotional.
" I think I'm going to cry."
Gilmore had every reason to be emotional about this win in marginal small wave conditions that suited her smaller opponents like Hawaii's Coco Ho.
Coco had already done Steph a huge favour by knocking out her main rival Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW) in the quarter finals.
Both Steph and Sal as they like to be called had registered two WCT (World Championship Tour) wins and despite Steph narrowly leading the ratings, it could have easily gone Sally's way.
At the end of 2010 Stephanie was on top of the world with 4 consecutive ASP Women's title wins and was signed up by Quiksilver in a high profile deal, joining the ranks of male sponsored surf champs like Kelly Slater.
After having been with Rip Curl since her early grom days Steph left on amicable terms from the Curl to join the big league.
Her opponent Sally Fitzgibbons then became number one for Roxy the women's brand of Quiksilver.
Then the sky fell in on Gilmore after an unprovoked attack at her Coolangatta apartments resulted in a broken wrist and a horrible start to the 2011 competition season.
There's no doubt this had mentally prevented Steph from winning with her usual smiling and confident demeanour.
But as they say, if you want to be in the race you have to get back on the horse, and this year Steph busted out of the gates early with a win at Snapper Rocks.
The roll started a little earlier than that, when Gilmore now 24 years of age turned up at the glamorous ASP World Champions Banquet Ball dressed to kill.
Today's professional sportswomen have raised the fashion stakes considerably, and not to be outdone Stephanie rolled up looking like a French model on the Parisian catwalk, turning heads from both the girls and the guys.
It was like, "Hi I'm back and I mean business!!"
Phyllis O'Donnell of Banora Point was our first World champion back in 1964 and is a great fan of Steph who has once again kept that women's world winning tradition in the Tweed.
Gilmore has set an ASP record by being the first surfer ever to win four titles from four attempts (2007 - 2010), but fell back to number 3 against Hawaii's new rising star Carissa Moore who won last year's World title.
Gilmore's recent emotional win is a reassertion of her dominance as one of the greatest icons in women's sports.
"This year for me was all about improving my consistency and having fun with my surfing," Gilmore said.
"From when I started five years ago to where we are now, women's surfing has improved so much. It's an honour to be back up top as these girls push me every day and are all incredible surfers."
Gilmore's incredible achievement puts the young natural-footer in an elite class of surfers to win five or more ASP World Titles, overtaking female surfing records set by Freida Zamba (USA), Wendy Botha (AUS) and Lisa Andersen (USA).
The only other two surfers in history to claim five or more titles are Kelly Slater (USA) and Layne Beachley (AUS).
"I have an amazing support team between my family, friends, my shaper Darren Handley, my sponsors and all the people at Quiksilver," Gilmore said.
"To be able to do what we do and make a life out of surfing is a really blessed thing. Surfing is what motivates me to wake up each day and attempt to better myself."
Stephs 2012 ASP Women's World Championship Tour Results are as follows:
- Roxy Pro Gold Coast: Winner
- Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach: Runner-Up
- TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival : Winner
- Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic: Equal 5th
- Billabong Rio Pro: Equal 5th
- Roxy Pro Biarritz: Winner
There is one more remaining event on the women's world tour the Nike US Open at Huntington Beach from 28th July - 5th August which will be a lap of honour now for Steph and then it will be time to come back home and celebrate yeeewww! On ya Steph!
Roxy Pro runner-up finalist Tyler Wright (Lennox Head) was full of praise for Steph saying, "I was so excited for Steph. She was ahead of me the whole time and with five minutes to go I was like, 'you've done it!' It's incredible - she ripped the whole contest and didn't lose one heat. She was shredding."
ASP World Tour
CURRENT ASP WOMEN'S WCT TOP 5 (After Roxy Pro Biarritz):
1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 48,400 pts
2. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 42,100 pts
3. Carissa Moore (HAW) 36,700 pts
3. Tyler Wright (AUS) 36,700 pts
5. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 34,800 pts.
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