Stephanie Gilmore wasn’t supposed to win a fourth World Title in a row. In the year when the messiah of women’s surfing (Carissa Moore) finally made her way onto the ASP Women’s World Tour, it should have marked an end of Steph’s supremacy. But today in Puerto Rico, Gilmore wrapped up her fourth World Title in as many attempts after beating Melanie Bartels in the quarterfinals.
Four-for-four. Perfect since stepping onto tour. No one else has done that. Not even Kelly—Derek Ho made sure of that in 1993. It makes sense that this year Steph took four events to settle the title before even heading to Hawaii, the first time she’s ever held that cup anywhere other than the North Shore.
For that reason alone this year could easily be seen as Steph’s most dominant year out of the four: last year she only had two wins; 2008 she had five, including the last three; and 2007 she had four. Her results this year look like this: 1st, 1st, 9th, 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 1st. The 9th being the only event in which she wasn’t in the semis or the final—semis or better is how World Titles are won.
But she wasn’t satisfied with just the fourth World Title today. Following the quarters Steph ripped Chelsea Hedges in the semis and defeated aforementioned Carissa in the final, dropping a 9.8 for the nail in the coffin. “I actually dreamed this one up last night,” Steph said. “Maybe I’m still dreaming. It’s been a monumental day for me. I mean, the best mindset to have in your heats is to be relaxed and calm, and after winning the title in the Quarters, I just felt really calm. So it worked out well and I think I actually surfed better after it was done and dusted.”
After being carried from the water at Middles for the second time today, Steph now has a total of sixteen ASP World Tour victories. As previously mentioned, Steph wasn’t supposed to win this fourth World Title in a row. This was supposed the dawning of Carissa Moore changing women’s surfing after years of being touted as the woman who would save women’s surfing. Steph was supposed to hand things over and let Carissa do the rest. And that’s not to say Carissa didn’t change the game this year, because she did, along with the other youngsters like Coco and Sally and more. Carissa is sitting at third currently—Sally’s in second, so it’ll be a battle for them to see who can finish runner-up in Hawaii.
Everyone says Steph is being chased by kids but at just 22-years old, Steph is a kid too! 22 and four-for-four. It’s obvious that this group of girls, 22-and-under, are going to be battling for whom the most dominant one is for years to come. “This title means a lot to me,” Steph said. “The girls on tour this year have been the best they’ve ever been and I’ve been pushed in every one of my heats. The younger girls especially have a whole new approach and they’re gaining confidence in every surf. The future for the sport is going to be excited and I can’t wait for it. But for now, I’m going to celebrate my win.”
For now though, the most dominant woman in women’s surfing is named Stephanie Gilmore. And none of the youngsters on tour now will ever be able to do what Steph has done thus far on tour.—Ryan Brower
Head to the next page for the official ASP Press Release.