Whether it's the wine, a rediscovered will to win, or old-fashioned vengeance, Stephanie Gilmore has been on fire in France. The 6x World Champion torched her way straight to the Quarterfinals at the Roxy Pro France, beating her longtime rival Carissa Moore twice along the way, both in Round One and Round Three.
Steph's run in Hossegor was a trés bon departure from her performance last week in Portugal, where she was eliminated in Round Two, and left with her second 13th-place result of the season. She fell there at the hands of, first, Carissa Moore in Round One, and Bianca Buitendag in Round Two. Afterward, she was clearly disappointed, but brushed it off with some touristing, freesurfing and a peek at Paris Fashion Week.
But in what seems like a cruel twist of fate, Gilmore had to face Moore again in the Quarterfinals. And Moore, who has been looking incredibly sharp herself this week, wasn't about to let her longtime rival go 3-0 on her in France. Having been winless this season, she also seems hungry for a victory after coming so close last week in Cascais.
While matches that pit the two Champs against each other tend to raise the competitive bar for both women, it's fair to say that a reprieve might be welcome, too.