Stab Magazine | The Steph Gilmore Show

The Steph Gilmore Show

Finals day at The Maui Pro was won by a gal who was predestined to ride a surfboard. 

news // Dec 2, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The swell hung around overnight and the final day of the final event of the 2017 women’s World Championship Tour got off to a solid start, though with the title already decided a bit of anti-climax hung in the air.

I can’t say I was particularly invested in who wins this one, but my interest perked at the solid chunk of change left for the taking. I’d imagine the remaining competitors could make good use of the $60k first place prize.

Gilmore v Wright wasn’t quite as exciting as one would hope. Both surfed superbly, but the long lulls and inconsistent quality kept them from establishing the type of back and forth battle we really want to see.

Gilmore tore a solid one to bits early in the heat, locking in a slightly overcooked 9.77. Backed it up with a high-four-something. Bettered it with a hair more than six.

The Champ came off the blocks a little slower, failing to find a decent score for the better part of the heat. She eventually found her groove, went to work on the rail. JJ-esque drop wallet carve-gouges. Tons of speed, oodles of spray. Two solid scores that came close, but her failure to make it out of a runner in the dying seconds made sure Gilmore took the win.

In my horribly biased opinion, the scores should’ve been closer. Gilmore got a bit more than she deserved, Wright a skosh less. You can’t really argue with the result, though. It’d be pointless, anyway. These heats are more or less inconsequential, in the grand scheme. 

Bad news in my world, it seems all the beehives on my property are abandoned. I don’t know why. It’ll be nice to get stung less frequently, but it’s still a bummer.

Our landlady’s son is an amateur apiarist and we’ve been awash in free honey for the last few years. I don’t particularly care for the taste of bee barf on its own, but I really like the idea of it. I substitute it for sugar in my cooking fairly often. Not because I can tell the difference, but because I enjoy making the ridiculously pretentious claim that “I only cook with my own local honey.”

Bronte Macaulay was surfing much better than she did against Moore yesterday afternoon. But Malia Manuel paddled out looking for a fight and used her first wave to kick Macaulay squarely in the dick – metaphorically speaking.

A boring-as-all-hell twenty minutes followed before Manuel grabbed a beautiful set wave and surfed it to the end with obvious hesitancy. A few turns, a quick cover on a wide-open section and she’d combo’d the hell out of Bronte, but failed to impress.

Malia looked like she was trying to not fall, failed to really commit to any maneuvers. In a deeper talent pool I doubt it would be enough to find a win, but today it successfully got the surfer from Kauai into the final. 

Somewhere there’s a little girl watching the event, gnashing her teeth and preparing to kill the world. She’ll spend the next five to ten years improving, then show up and start taking scalps. As well as the women surf these days, they desperately need someone who comes out of the woodwork and changes what’s expected in competition. Some disruption. No one benefits when people win by surfing safely. Not on the men’s side, not on the women’s.

The final started off slowly. Gilmore played it smart, sat inside, grabbed a couple smaller waves to get on the board. Surfed them well, left Manuel in soft combo. Needing two waves to win is much more intimidating than only needing one. Hardly insurmountable, but these things take a psychological toll.

Did you know that the number ’88’ has special significance to white supremacists? It does!

Do you think that means Stephanie Gilmore is a closet Nazi?

Of course not. The very idea is beyond fucking stupid. More stupid than the notion of professional surfers wearing numbered jerseys? Probably, but only because the former assigns a hateful personality to a lovely human being. The latter is just a hamfisted attempt to turn water dancing into a marketable ‘sport.’

Manuel didn’t pick up her first wave for fifteen minutes, another safely surfed wave connected all the way to the end. It scored higher than both Gilmore’s waves, but didn’t look nearly as good.

From that point on it was more or less the Steph Gilmore show. Heat scores don’t do the ability gap justice. Stephanie dominated from the word ‘go.’ Her win was never in doubt.

To be fair, I’ve had the privilege of watching Malia Manuel surf in person a few times. Her freesurfs are far more impressive than her heat performances. But there’s a difference between being a great surfer and a great competitor.

That’s a stupid sentence. You’ve gotta be a great competitor to make the final of a Tour event, don’t you?

And that’s the end of the women’s year. Stephanie Gilmore won the event, Tyler Wright won the title. Hardly a shocker in either case.

Maui Women’s Pro Final Results:

1 – Stephanie Gilmore 15.20
2 – Malia Manuel 11.90

Maui Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:

SF 1: Stephanie Gilmore 15.87  def. Tyler Wright 14.43
SF 2: Malia Manuel 16.10 def. Bronte Macaulay 10.00

Top 5 on the WSL Women’s Jeep Leaderboard (after Maui Women’s Pro):

1: Tyler Wright 54,400 pts
2: Stephanie Gilmore 53,400 pts
3: Sally Fitzgibbons 52,900 pts
4: Courtney Conlogue 50,000
5: Carissa Moore 49,200 pts


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