"The competitive thing isn’t really in her blood. She’s just naturally gifted.” Photo: Chris Gurney
Kelly Slater On Stephanie Gilmore As The Most Effortlessly Dominant Woman In Surfing
With World Title number seven just four heats away.
“Steph is just the greatest,” Kelly Slater tells Stab.
It’s true. No one rides a surfboard like Miss Gilmore. Her surfing is pure aesthetics–an orchestra of power and grace.
Steph, at 30-years-old, is on her way to her 7th World Title. A good result in France will see her clinch it with one event to spare, being the not-so-Target Beachwater Maui Pro.
And, as a likely soon-to-be seven time World Champ, she's easy to adore.
She’s a natural beauty – sandy blonde hair, sunkissed skin with a well proportioned six-foot frame. She knows her way around a fretboard, and is a welcomed accoutrement to nearly any show she attends. Steph possesses this sweet, sharp edge, and has a no bullshit air. That air is accompanied by a smile which intimidates and invites simultaneously.
While most world title holding surfers hold a competitive drive that drips in blood, Stephanie does not (at least that shows). Her success, from the outside looking in, flows without a seam. She’s so pleasant to watch surf because she “connects to the board and the elements around her with ease,” says Kelly.
“She just needs to surf. She doesn’t have to be the testiest competitor when she is surfing to her abilities. It’s the same way Dane Reynolds was in heats. The competitive thing isn’t really in her blood. She’s just naturally gifted.”
By the time Kelly was 30, he’d won six world titles. The next five would come between the age of 33 and 39. Judging by the trajectory of two of the most dominant competitors in surfing, adding more world titles to Stephanie’s legacy wouldn’t be outlandish.
“I don’t know if that’s her plan or how much she even cares to [win titles],” Mr. Slater continues, “but it’s her outlet and she does love it. I’d like to see her win more titles than anyone ever. She would do it in the most (outwardly) nonchalant fashion.”
“I also think she should make a record,” Kelly adds. “She’s a jam guitarist. I’m actually not sure if she writes songs, I’ve never asked her. But she can sit in with anyone. She just seems to feel and play whatever’s on her mind.”
We’ve been lauding Steph for the Title since she won Bells and Rio back to back at the start of the 2018 season. Following then, she’s had one semifinal appearance (Ulus), two second place finishes (Huntington and Lemoore) and a win at J-Bay. Steph’s just under 7,000 points ahead of runner-up Lakey Peterson in the rankings, and will likely, and hopefully, take the title in France.
“In the right conditions Stephanie could win heats [on the Men’s CT],” Kelly tells Stab.
“No one would take her lightly, that’s for sure.”