Hometown legend Stephanie Gilmore is just days away from taking on the first event of the season at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. The six-time World Champ has spent more time in the Snapper lineup than anyone of her competitors and come March 11, all eyes will be on her. Gilmore won the event last year and thus ended a two year losing streak that made most skeptical she could bounce back.
Fortunately, she bounced back stronger and despite the pressure, the Australian seems as calm as ever.
WSL: Who are some of your favorite female icons?
Stephanie Gilmore: I love Diana Vreeland and the way she thought. Rihanna is an iconic, badass woman leading the charge of being seen how you want to be seen. I'm a Joan Didion fan. And of course women like Serena Williams, Cathy Freeman and Billie Jean King.
If you could give women one piece of advice when it comes to sports and life, what would it be?
Balance - keep perspective and let your passions drive you.
Being a professional female athlete, what would you say is the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?
I was lucky to have come through during a time when females had less of a fight for equality and in general we're celebrated more due to the hard work and fight that the incredible women before us had already put in. Don't get me wrong, if I was a male in my current position of World Titles and achievements, I believe I would be sitting a lot differently right now in terms of my profile and financial situation. Even with something as simple as social media numbers (I'm not complaining, just saying). But I am so happy to be female and have a voice during a time that we can continue building on from what the extraordinary women before me achieved. And it only keeps things more exciting - as women we have so much room to move, boundaries to push, impact to make -- especially during a time when we're being heard and most importantly supporting each other. It's not about competing against men, it's about owning who we are in the world.
What types of things motivate you to keep competing?
The lifestyle. The inner drive. I was born as a competitor, but ultimately life doesn't get much better than this. Surfing has allowed me to explore my curiosities, see things I would have never seen, and understand a world that will always be so much bigger than me. That keeps me going and I feel like I'm only just getting started in that respect.
Is there any advice that you received early on that's stayed with you?
Never underestimate yourself and life's not a dress rehearsal so get going!
You're known as the Queen of Snapper. What do you think sets you apart there?
Haha, it's where I grew up. I know it so well. I've spent more time in the line up at Snapper than probably in my own house. Putting in time becomes valuable knowledge.
The sport has undergone a lot of changes recently. How are you feeling about the future of women's surfing?
The future is powerful. Women's surfing is cool, competitive, it's a lifestyle, it's travel, we're creating epic stories and it makes sense that people want to be a part of it. I now feel the WSL has a great platform to help communicate that. Baby steps but it's only up from here!
Happy International Women's Day (March 8, 2018) from the WSL.