QUEEN OF THE WAVES

That’s gold: Gil­more crowned, looks for Games glory and more

Tweed Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - Amanda Lul­ham

RID­ING the crest of a wave fol­low­ing her record-equalling sev­enth world ti­tle, Tweed’s Stephanie Gil­more is al­ready con­tem­plat­ing two new quests that could de­liver her a place in sport­ing his­tory as the great­est ever surfer.

With a stun­ning rain­bow in the dis­tance and whales swim­ming close by at Honolua Bay, the Tweed Coaster matched the record of surf leg­end Layne Beach­ley when her Amer­i­can ri­val Lakey Peter­son suf­fered a shock early de­feat at the Maui Pro this week.

Gil­more watched on from a nearby hill as the re­sult se­cured her sev­enth world ti­tle since win­ning the cham­pi­onship tour in her de­but sea­son back in 2007.

“I just felt like when I was asked about match­ing Layne so many times I would just say what­ever came into my head be­cause it didn’t re­ally feel real,” Gil­more said from Hawaii.

“To fi­nally do it is just in­cred­i­ble. “It feels like there is such a big dif­fer­ence be­tween No.6 and 7.

“Be­ing out there to­day and surf­ing such in­cred­i­ble waves and be­ing a part of such a strong group of in­spi­ra­tional women, it all clicked.

“This is why I do it, this is why I love it.”

And with no plans of re­tir­ing any time soon, Gil­more has ac­knowl­edged match­ing – if not ex­ceed­ing – the all-time record of the great Kelly Slater could be on the hori­zon, along­side a bid for an his­toric Olympic gold when surf­ing makes its Games de­but in Tokyo in 2020.

“Oh man, that’s a lot,” she said when she was asked be­fore win­ning her sev­enth crown if she would tar­get Slater’s haul of 11 world crowns.

“I’d love to do that. That’s what is so ex­cit­ing. Win or lose I think ahead of so many won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“The Olympics would be re­ally cool as well. Can you im­age be­ing the first per­son to win a surf­ing gold?

“I couldn’t even see a re­tire­ment in my near fu­ture.

“The Olympics have given me a glimpse of the fu­ture.

“To have another pin­na­cle to aim for is in­cred­i­ble.”

If Gil­more is in the top eight on the women’s world tour next year she will qual­ify as one of two women to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia in Ja­pan. The lead­ing two Aus­tralians in the top 10 of the men’s world tour will also qual­ify.

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