Born and bred on the wave-rich coast of Northern New South Wales, Australia, Stephanie Gilmore beautifully epitomizes what it means to be both a fluid stylist and competitive animal. Growing up on the Gold Coast’s perfect pointbreaks, most notably Snapper Rocks, by the time Gilmore hit the world stage in 2007 her competitive savvy and dynamic aesthetic was well honed.
“Some people are born competitive and some people aren’t, but I’m definitely one of those people that just loves to win,” Gilmore told Vogue Magazine in 2015. “I mean, most of the time, although I’m very focused and I want to win, I’m still just having fun and that’s probably the main thing. I really put a lot of my success down to the fact that I just love going for a surf and to be able to do that in a competition and to perform in front of people is such a thrill. And I think when you enjoy something you tend to succeed.”
Claiming her first world title as a rookie on the World Surf League’s Championship Tour in 2007, for over a decade now Gilmore has been a driving force in the evolution of women’s surfing. To date she has amassed 29 world tour victories (two of them coming in 2018) and six world titles. She was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame in 2010 and received the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year award the same year. She’s also won ESPN’s ESPY award in 2011 and 2013 for Best Female Action Sports Athlete.
Outside of the competitive arena, Gilmore sits the Board of Advisors for the ocean conservation organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Graceful on a twin-fin and lethal on a thruster, she was profiled in a 2012 documentary called The Water Dancer, in which she spends time with professional dancers Noemie LaFrance and Tiler Peck, making the connection between surfing and dancing. She also has a creative streak in her and enjoys dabbling in fashion, music and art.
Gilmore is currently the face of women’s surf wear brand Roxy and ranked number one on the WSL Championship Tour. She has her sights set on a record-tying seventh world title in 2018.