Monday, November 26, 2018
Stephanie Gilmore solidified her fate on Monday at the Beachwaver Maui Pro, winning the World Title in classic 6-8' conditions. The milestone was a historic one, setting a new bar for the sport and cementing Gilmore as the greatest of her generation.
Now, with 7 World Titles in tow, the Australian is tied with former Championship Tour competitor Layne Beachley for most women's Titles in history. In addition, not including the Maui Pro, she's won 29 Championship Tour events - second to only Kelly Slater.
The new World Champ won her first Title during her rookie season in 2007. She then went on to win three more consecutive Titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
"I don't know how to feel," said Gilmore upon hearing the news. "I wasn't expecting this to happen right now. I can't even believe it. It's so cool. I'm dedicating this win to Pierre Agnes (former Quiksilver CEO who passed away at the beginning of the year). Surfing means everything to me. Ever since I was a little girl, surfing has been all I can think about. It's my first love."
The sentiment shined through during her first heat of the day in the most epic conditions this event has seen. Gilmore earned an 8.43 for stringing a variety of maneuvers together, leaving both her competitors combo'd in Round 1.
And while World No. 2 Lakey Peterson came to Hawaii still very much in contention, her performance today was shaky at best. She was caught on the inside while paddling out for her first heat and never fully recovered.
For the first time in her career, the Californian was eliminated in Round 2 at Honolua Bay, upset by wildcard Alana Blanchard. The loss took Peterson out of Title contention.
"I just didn't perform to the best of my ability today," said Peterson. "But it's been an incredible year. I have a lot to learn still. And congrats to Stephanie. What a beautiful surfer. There's no one more deserving. This hurts but I'm not done yet."
Although she's had two event wins this season, Peterson has never beaten Gilmore in a head to head heat. Peterson's coach Mike Parsons, who is also the WSL Big Wave Tour Commissioner, was about 45 miles away at the Jaws Challenge that was happening simultaneously.
"It's crazy that Mike couldn't be here," continued Peterson. "But I wouldn't be where I am without him. The whole team showed up for me and I've never been more proud to be apart of women's surfing."
Despite the loss, this marks the best result of Peterson's career and she'll have more than one reason to celebrate her accomplishment today.
Stephanie Gilmore's Championship Tour Career Rankings: 2018: 1st 2017: 2nd 2016: 6th 2015: 12th 2014: 1st 2013: 5th 2012: 1st 2011: 3rd 2010: 1st 2009: 1st 2008: 1st 2007: 1st