The Aussie world-champion surfer has a weakness for the California coastline
“I always surf with a smile on my face,” Stephanie Gilmore says. And the 29-year-old world champion has every reason to grin as she goes after her seventh world title during the World Surf League tour. “Surfers are pro athletes and we train hard, but it’s also a culture and a lifestyle. We live and breathe it,” says the Australian, who will be competing at the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach (July 31-August 6), followed by the Swatch Trestles Women’s Pro in Lower Trestles, San Clemente (September 6-17). “The cool thing is: no matter how many world titles you win, you always have to evolve. No one can perfect surfing—it’s such a subjective thing—there are so many different ways to approach a wave. You’re always learning.” The two-time ESPY Award winner, who began surfing at age 9 and was a pro by 19, rents a place in Point Dume with her sister and friends anytime she’s in town. “Malibu really resonated with me,” she says. “Everyone’s got something going on, whether they’re musicians or artists or actors. There’s a creative energy there. It really embodies the true spirit of surfing.” Gilmore hopes to pack in a few surf trips between championship events, although she isn’t yet sure where her travels will take her. “We’ll keep an eye on swells and then it’s all really last second,” says the Roxy team rider, who is otherwise fiercely focused on the tour. “I’d love to win another world title.” She pauses, then slyly adds, “Or a couple more. I want to do this for the rest of my life.”
Photography by J.R. MANKOFF.
Written by LINDZI SCHARF.
Styling by REBECCA RUSSELL.