There are few people in the surf world quite like Stephanie Gilmore, mainly because she is one of the greatest to ever paddle out on a board. Surfing is her first true love, she can tell by the breeze through her windows if it’s going to be a great day to head out. That love for a good day on the water has evolved into a life long domination of surf competitions. The Australian has been gunning for trophies since the age of 11 and has had quite the ride doing so. She is the only woman with eight world titles, a record no one other than surf legend Kelly Slater can claim. Stephanie is the undisputed GOAT of women’s surfing. Even after collecting 8 world titles she tries to detach from her past results and starts again in pursuit of another. But Stephanie is more than a competition master. Her surfing takes her around the world, where she finds a good time with her camera and guitar in tow. Stephanie doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, and we look forward to her going for her 9th world title.
What goes through your head when you first wake up in the morning?
I feel if there is a breeze coming through my bedroom windows because then I know which way the wind is blowing, and I think about which surf spots will be good.
At what age did you discover surfing? Was there an immediate interest, or did it build over time?
My father introduced my older sisters and me to surfing around 9 or 10 years old, and it was my first true love! I think I saw how much he loved to surf, and so it was always in my life before I even started myself. I continued to play many other sports, but it didn’t take long before surfing took over as my favourite.
Who do you look up to?
My parents are a great inspiration. At 69 years old, Dad still surfs more than most people I know, and he isn’t slowing down. My mum is very generous and caring, and she loves to learn about anything. Both are great traits I know you need to have for a long, healthy life. I also look up to those people who are extremely committed to their passions in life and continue to break records and explore what’s possible in our world!
How do you improve each year?
Every year I have to detach from my past results and start again. With the recognition of my weaknesses and creating some fresh goals, it’s easy to stay excited for what the future may hold.
How did it feel to win your 8th world title?
It was the greatest accomplishment of my career, and the feelings are truly hard to describe, but I’d say a very wonderful, euphoric, and emotional day I’ll never forget.
Where will we find you on your days off?
Hanging with my friends, being a tourist, playing guitar, and watching surf films.
Why is style so important to surfing?
There is no right or wrong style, it’s cool for everyone to be unique, but style is important to me because I like to watch surfing that is fluid and graceful.
I am happiest when I am in the tube______________.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a Surfer?
Wishing I was a surfer…haha. Seriously though, I think I would have either pursued another sport, or I’d probably be a C-grade musician.
If you could hang with any Surfer, past or present, who would it be?
Hanging with Miki Dora would be a wild ride I’d like to experience.
What YETI gear can you not do without? Why?
I cannot live without the new 1L Yonder™ Water Bottle! So light and easy for my travel life. Also, the 29” Crossroads® Luggage is the perfect size for when I do months on the road.
Can you describe what YETI means to you?
YETI, to me, means the never-ending adventure or search for those moments that make us feel alive. To get outside, keep moving, and when we experience a great trip or moment, the journey continues, and we’re already wondering about the next one!
If any YETI product allows you to do something you could not easily do before, please let us know: Filling the Rambler® One Gallon Jug with hot water so when I come in from a winter surf, I have a hot rinse off is the best thing ever!
When you knew you’d be a Pro Surfer…
My dad entered me into a Grom surf contest at Lennox head when I was 11, and I came 2nd place in the Girls under 12’s. All I remember was how much I loved the event, being there with all these other kids, trying to impress everyone with my new skills and I was so stoked to receive a trophy, but being a natural competitor, I knew that I never wanted to come 2nd ever again! So I’d say that at that moment, I knew I wanted to be the best in the world and surf for the rest of my life.