Professional surfer Stephanie Gilmore won her first ASP World Title when she was just 17 years old and still a student in high school. Over the course of the next four years she dominated women’s professional surfing with her incredible skills and fiercely competitive nature. She racked up four world titles, became a national hero in Australia, and garnered widespread media attention with her good looks and flawless surf style.
Then tragedy struck. Gilmore was attacked with a metal bar by 27-year-old homeless man Julius Fox in the hallway of her apartment complex. “I turned around and saw him sprinting at me with a metal bar in his hand, and he hit me twice,” she told ESPN in an interview. “The first time, he hit me in the head. I saw blood all over everything.” The attack resulted in a severe wrist injury, but that would quickly heal. It was the emotional toll that hung around.
The new film “Stephanie in the Water,” directed by trusted friend and confidant Ava Warbrick, painstakingly documents Gilmore’s return to the podium, as well as her astonishing skills in waves of all shapes and sizes.
It’s rare that surf stars open up about their private lives, but that’s exactly what we see in the movie—the good, the bad, and the downright mind-blowing surfing of Stephanie Gilmore. It’s also neat to see a female filmmaker in the male-dominated genre, and one can safely assume that Warbrick and Gilmore’s close relationship allowed for the documentation of candid moments that we normally wouldn’t be privy to.
For more on “Stephanie in the Water” head over to stephanieinthewater.com.
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