I sat down with she-Champion of the World Stephanie Gilmore this afternoon over the road. She had a Heineken, but apparently it was the last one, so I didn’t. There was a little bit of red wine but it didn’t look like Bordeaux.
In a quiet area of the garden she said, “Do you like the SG Superman logo?” I said, “Yeah.”
She said, “It’s a bit gay, isn’t it?” I said, “Yeah.”
Steph on Saturday afternoon after the final. Shortly before her house party kicked off.
Photo: Warbrick/Rip Curl
Me: Congratulations Gilmore. How does it feel?
Her: Obviously it feels amazing, but kind of hard to comprehend what actually happened. It was a weird day (last Saturday, Gidget Pro Final, Sunset Beach) with a slow start, then it turned into really good waves, and then all of a sudden, I was the World Champion. Awesome.
Which of your three successive ASP World Titles felt the best to nail?
They all felt rad, but for different reasons. The first time it was relief, the second one really satisfying, but this time around… it was weird. I didn’t really win that many events this year, it was a quiet year, hardly being in the running for it, and then at the end it almost seemed too easy, coz everyone just lost.
When you were young(er) and dreamed of being a pro surfer, did you think ‘I’m gonna win three world titles in a row’?
I definitely thought I could win one straight off the bat, but I never thought about winning three consecutively, no. Actually before I won the first one I thought, ‘Yeah I could win twenty world titles in a row!’ but didn’t actually think I would. It’s quite a strange thing, I’m not sure if I would want to go for endless titles. There’s so much other stuff I want to do, things to see and acheive. I mean I won’t say no ever (laughs) if they keep coming, but I’m not setting any number on how many titles I want to win, that’s for sure.
You seem to be one of the more popular girls’ World Champs. Why is that?
I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I smile a lot (giggles).
Why do you smile a lot?
It’s just so much fun, all this. Sometimes I guess touring could be tough, but not really. For the guys it’s much more serious than on our tour. Even though we’re intense competitors, the girls tour is just really fun. That’s why I smile.
How long does a World Title buzz last? Does a day eventually come when you wake up and feel a bit weird and go ‘OK what do I do now?’
Definitely. The buzz can last a year, until the first event next year, it depends. Or it might dim down a bit, then the ASP banquet will come and it’s all happening again, you go through so many different emotions. Probably when I get home to Australia and see all my family, it’ll really kick in then.
What are the key attributes of being a true champion?
I’ve always looked at Roger Federer, who always seems cool, calm and collected no matter what the situation, he won’t even sweat. Or someone like like Kelly, who’s evolved an entire sport and become a Hollywood-style superstar, and then someone like Mick who’s such a professional athlete. With the mental game, psychology, he’s way ahead of his time, or at least everyone else in the competition with him.
Where or who do you aim for when you surf?
It’s always been about the boys for me, I’ve always wanted to surf like them. Dane, Mick, Parko. But that changes and sometimes I want to prove my own surfing, focus on myself. But this year it had a lot to do with Silvana Lima, because she was being real innovative and stepping it up, so all the girls the were looking at her. But yeah, I love watching the guys, Dane, Jordy, Dusty, all those guys are ridiculous.
Looking at the Men’s title race, who’s approach to winning the world title is more like your own?
Joel because I’m relaxed like him, maybe even too relaxed at times. But Mick too because I enjoy learning about the whole psychology thing, and being really focused. But then I can just switch off and turn into Joel and relax, so basically I can relate to both of them.
Who would you rather be of the two, coming into Pipe?
I’d love to see Joel win but for some reason I think Mick’s gonna win. Who would I rather be? I think I’d rather be in Mick’s shoes.
Jordy’s answer phone message goes something like ‘If it’s a chick leave a message, if it’s an interview, I’m tired.’ Have you thought about adopting similar after all these SG3 interviews, obviously apart from the chicks part?
I don’t even have voicemail. People that want interview have to contact the media manager (laughs).
With the last event coming up and you already crowned Champ, have you thought about sacking it off?
No way, they fine you ten grand if you don’t show (laughs).
What about ‘doing a Lorraine’ (Kelly) and pretending to be injured?
Are you kidding me? I’m seriously psyched on going to Maui. I love that wave, I can’t wait to surf it with only a couple of chicks out.
Stephanie Gilmore and Surf Europe are offering you the chance to win exclusive signed SG3 merchandise, including Rip Curl tees and hats signed by Steph (what an X-mas pressie, hello!), and even a precious few caps from the very, very limited edition SG3 ‘Surf Europe = Small Penis’ official signature model (pictured).
All you have to do is comment is the comment space (below), completing the sentence:
“Steph is better than Layne Beachley because….”