Gilmore equals Beachley record, with seventh World Surf title
27 November 2018
SURFING: Steph Gilmore has made history at the Maui Pro, taking out her seventh world championship title and putting her on par with fellow Aussie surfing legend, Layne Beachley.
Her first world title since 2014, Gilmore won in surprising fashion, when her closest rival, USA's Lakey Peterson, failed to progress past the early stages of the event at Honolua Bay.
An emotional Gilmore said through tears;
"I can't believe it, it's so cool. Surfing means everything to me. It has given me everything. It is still my first love," she said.
Gilmore went on to thank her friends and family along with the surfing legend and "inspiration" who "set the standard" for her.
“Layne, it’s an honour to sit beside you. You’ve been a huge inspiration my entire career. And for so many female surfers, all over the world.
“To equal you is amazing, what an honour. Thank you for setting the standard,” the 30-year-old said.
Beachley responded to Gilmore's victory via Twitter,
"Exuding joy, naturally talented, and fiercely focused, the smiling assassin has done it again. 7 world title wins establishes her as one of the greatest athletes of all time! No one deserves it more than Steph and I am extremely proud of her," the 46-year-old said.
"When Steph commits her mind to a task it takes something monumental to stop her. I congratulate Lakey for putting up a terrific fight while demonstrating the courage and conviction to achieve greatness. 2018 was Steph’s year, she is just too good."
Bede Durbidge, Surfing Australia's Elite Program Manager said of Gilmore's achievements,
"We are so proud of Steph for winning her seventh World Title in epic conditions at Maui today. She’s worked hard and constantly evolves her surfing, so she thoroughly deserves her success.
"Steph inspires all Australians, not just because she is the worlds best female surfer but also because she goes about her business with character and courage, and is a truly remarkable person.”
Gilmore's first world title crown came in her rookie season, as a 19-year-old in 2007, which she then defended from 2008-2010 before reclaiming it in 2012 and 2014.
The overall series crown is the cherry on top of a stellar season for the Tweed Heads local, who took out the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil and the J-Bay Open in South Africa.
Judging by Gilmore's current form, she is expected to continue riding the wave of success and providing Australia with a real prospect of Olympic medal hope.
With surfing making it's debut at Tokyo 2020, Surfing Australia National High Performance Director, Kim Crane said,
"Everyone in the surfing community will enjoy Steph’s World Title win today; it’s part of our vision to see dreams realised and we are excited to celebrate her success.
"Steph is the ultimate professional who plays to her strengths. She is genuinely grateful for all the opportunities surfing has provided for her. We couldn’t be happier for Steph and her support team, and have no doubt she’ll be an athlete right in the mix, when it comes to Olympic selection.”