Steph Gilmore Announces 12-Month Hiatus From Competitive Surfing - Stab Mag

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Steph displays her favorite blades for a forthcoming Stab project. Photo: Nate Lawrence

Steph Gilmore Announces 12-Month Hiatus From Competitive Surfing

The 8x World Champ and she-GOAT plans to travel and work on various projects.

Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

8x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore has announced a 12-month break from competitive surfing. The Olympian and winner of a record-breaking 34 CT events issued the following statement this morning:

“I am planning to take this time as a refresh for myself physically, mentally, and enjoy following swells and free surfing in new places,” said Gilmore. “I have some projects and trips I want to do, which haven’t been possible while traveling during the season. I am still passionate and dedicated to competing, and I have goals and dreams that I am still chasing – I’m excited for this year to activate those and I look forward to returning in 2025.”

According to an anonymous source, “Steph plans to travel to new locations this year and work on various film projects. She fully plans on returning to competition in 2025, and will be issued a season-long wildcard by the WSL.”

Stephanie who starred in the Cheat Codes, Electric Acid Surfboard Test (EAST), and in a forthcoming Stab project, rose to prominence as a youth, winning her first world tour event at Snapper Rocks as a wildcard in 2005.

Over the past 17 years on tour, Steph has collected five perfect 10s, won four Surfer Poll awards, was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame and awarded the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year in 2010.

Along with Sally Fitzgibbons, she represented Australia in surfing’s Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Steph’s most memorable 10 of them all, and perhaps the most perfectly surfed wave of all time.

In 2022, Steph became the winningest female surfer of all time, surpassing Layne Beachley’s record of seven World Titles. In the past six years we have run Stab Surfer of the Year, Steph was voted Best Female by the top 50 most influential voices in surfing three times (2022, 2020, 2018). 

“God’s gift to surfing. Steph is the standard,” Kelly Slater said when choosing her for his Stab Surfer of the Year in 2020.

“When it comes to style and drawing lines on a wave… nobody comes close to the Queen,” Ronnie Blakey reiterated.

Steph’s decision to take a year off comes shortly after 5x Carissa Moore announced her shock departure from the CT. Two of surfing’s biggest female superstars leaving within the course of a week is unprecedented.

Under the WSL Rule Book, Gilmore’s spot continues down the 2023 CT rankings, and it is not allocated to the first replacement as this is a pre-season withdrawal. The next qualifier on the CT is Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), who is tied with Brisa Hennessy (CRC) and wins the tiebreak due to heat wins (4 to 3).

Fitzgibbons as Gilmore’s replacement via the CT opens up a spot via the Challenger Series. Luana Silva (BRA), as the next ranked surfer on the Challenger Series, then qualifies for the CT in Fitzgibbons’ absence on the Challenger Series’ rankings. Silva will start her 2024 season at Pipeline, marking her return to the CT.

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