The Boards Steph Gilmore Will (Likely) Win Her 7th World Title On
Steph's lifetime shaper, Darren Handley, breaks down Steph's Hawaii quiver.
If you're into betting, Stephanie Gilmore is the smart money at Maui.
If she comes 3rd or better, the World Title is hers. Even if she get's knocked out in the second round, Lakey Peterson, the only other potential winner, will have to take out the event, and even then a 'surf-off' will decide the 2018 champion.
Whichever way you look at it, the odds are largely in Steph's favour.
Oh, and we almost forgot, Steph is the reigning champ at Maui. An event that she's won three times in total.
Since Steph will be sitting in the exclusive 7+ club with Kelly Slater and Layne Beachley, we thought we'd take a look at the boards that will get her there. Darren Handley (DHD founder and shaper) has been shaping Steph's boards for her entire career, and is therefore the best person to give us a rundown of what will be sliding her to a record equalling 7th title.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Steph will be taking this board to Honolua.
"There's two white boards she's taking over." Darren told Stab. "The one on the left is the one she won Maui on last year [that she hasn't ridden since], the other is a replica of that board, and she won Bells and J-Bay on that replica. One of the other pink boards is a replica of those again and the rest are just scaled up versions.
"Jake Paterson, Steph's coach, was talking about El Nino and that we should expect swell, and from the looks of it even the first day could be quite sizey." Darren continued. "She usually rides the squash tails of the DNA, but when there’s a bit of wave and wall, especially on her forehand, she opts for a round tail. That’s why with round tails are where it’s at in Hawaii, they hold rail."
Steph's been riding Mick Fanning's model, DNA, for as long as it's been released. She places faith in Darren and Mick's ability to design boards. In addition to that, she also has a board philosophy which we could all do with considering.
"One of her classic sayings is, 'there’s no such thing as a bad surfboard, you just have to know how to ride it.' She’s just out of that same mold like Curren that can ride whatever you put in front of them – whether that be twin-fins, or competition boards."
There might not be any 'bad boards', but there's a reason Steph's had this board replicated time and time again.
"She doesn’t get many boards. She just goes, 'make me what Mick rides and just put it in my size' which makes things pretty easy [laughs]. Sometimes Jake Paterson has a little bit of influence on it too." Darren continued. "One of her classic sayings is, 'there’s no such thing as a bad surfboard, you just have to know how to ride it.'
"She’s just out of that same mold like Curren that can ride whatever you put in front of them – whether that be twin-fins, or competition boards.
"If she’s riding a white one we know she’s riding one of the old ‘magic’ winning boards. And if it’s coloured, she’s opted for something new." Darren said about Steph's options. "She’ll want to go out there and ride something with a nice pretty colour, but in the end Jake Paterson will say ‘get on the one you know’ [laughs]."
For years we've heard surfers put their 'magic boards' on ice, and Steph is no different. But, hold up, what's that 5'1" twinny doing in there?
"Ethan [Ewing] took one to Hawaii, Owen [Wright's] taking one too. These [surfers] are so highly strung in competition mode and it just puts a little bit of fun back into their surfing when the waves are small." DH said about the alt-craft option.
"With Steph, she just enjoys riding twin fins and she’s so good at it. As Kelly Slater said about the board she road in Proximity, ‘she should ride that in a contest because it goes that well’. She actually wants me to bring over another four twin fins for when the contest is over."
"We’ve done our job now it’s just up to her. She’s in a good space."
And if you want to get real tech-y, here's the exact measurements.
1 – DNA 5'10 x 18 5/16 x 2 3/16 at 24.5L FCS II – The board Steph won Maui on last year.
2 – Mini Twin (Two) 5'1 x 20 x 2 3/16 x 27L Futures
3 – Sweet Spot 6’1 x 18 5/16 x 2 1/4 at 25.43L FCS II
4 – DNA 5'11 x 18 5/16 x 2 3/16 at 24.96L FCS II
5 – DNA 6'2 x 18 5/16 x 2 1/4 FCS II
6 – DNA 5’10 x18 5/16 x 2 3/16 at 24.6L FCS II
7 – DNA 6'0 x 18 5/16 x 2 3/16
8 – DNA 6’1 x 18 5/16 x 2 1/4 at 25.79L FCS II
9 – DNA 5'10 x 18 5/16 x 2 3/16 at 24.5L FCS II – The board she won J-Bay and Bells on.
Your (incredibly likely) 2019 World Champion, Stephanie Gilmore.