Today our very own Stephanie Gilmore claimed an historic seventh World Surfing Title at Honolua Bay in Hawaii. Gilmore’s incredible achievement comes following remaining challenger Lakey Peterson early elimination from the Maui Pro, the final stop on the 2018 WSL Women’s Championship Tour.
“I was not expecting it to happen just then,” said Gilmore in an emotional post-heat interview. “I was feeling so nervous, that was an intense heat and Alana (Blanchard) just went to town. I can’t believe it. I just want to thank everyone, my friends and my family and everyone that gets me here and lets me do what I do. My parents are back in Australia, all my friends that flew here to watch and my sister Whitney, who does so much for me. I want to thank everyone at Roxy and everybody that’s helped me and supported me in my career up to this point. The WSL, every single thing they’ve done for us, for the women, it’s just unbelievable. All the locals for letting us surf this wave to ourselves. Everyone who puts on this event, my coach Jake Patterson, my shaper Darren Handley, who’s made the best boards for me for the last 13 or 14 years. Without all these people I couldn’t have done it. I’d like to dedicate this win to Pierre Agnes.”
This victory sees her equal the record for the most women’s world titles (currently held by Layne Beachley) and puts Gilmore, 30, in an elite class within surfing’s World Champions – only two other individuals have accomplished the feat of earning seven World Titles: Beachley (AUS) (7) and Kelly Slater (USA) (11).
“Layne, it’s an honor to sit alongside you,” continued Gilmore. “You’ve been a huge inspiration for my entire career and for so many female surfers all around the world so to equal you is amazing. Thank you for setting the standard. I’m just going to lap up seven titles – this is so, so cool.”
Gilmore won her first world title in her rookie season (2007) and became the first surfer ever (male or female) to accomplish such a feat. She went on to claim three more consecutive titles (2008, 2009 and 2010) and has racked up an impressive 29 Championship Tour victories during her career, second only to Slater.
The now 7X World Champion (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018) narrowly missed out on clinching her seventh title in Maui last year, but came into the event this year in first place on the Jeep Leaderboard with three of event wins so far this season at Bells Beach, Australia; Saquarema, Brazil and Jeffreys Bay South Africa. A thrilling year-long battle with Lakey Peterson (USA), who was on the hunt for her maiden world title, saw the pair trade the Jeep Leader Jersey until Gilmore’s cemented her place atop the rankings following her with at the Corona Open J-Bay.