Fresh from taking out the 2017 Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, Stephanie Gilmore took time out to chat about why the Gold Coast will forever hold a special place in her heart.
Six-time world surfing champion, Stephanie Gilmore has dominated women's professional surfing since she entered the scene in 2007. She won her first world title as a rookie, followed by three back to back world titles - an accomplishment no other surfer has achieved in the history of men's or women's surfing.
And, if that isn’t enough, she’s also reigned supreme in 26 Elite World Tours, taken out the most coveted award in action sports worldwide, the Laureus World Sports Award in 2010 and the ESPN ESPY for Best Female Action Sports Athlete in 2011 and 2013.
In between competitions on the World Surf League tour, Stephanie is traveling the globe, exploring new waves, cities and beaches, photographing her adventures, playing her many guitars, and living the gypset lifestyle.
What did winning the 2017 Roxy Pro on your home turf mean for you?
I had not won an event since 2014 so I was overwhelmed with stoke to finally get another win and to do it home in front of my family and friends at one of my favourite waves in the world it was a very special moment for me!
What does your ideal day/weekend on the Gold Coast look like?
The sun rises early and everyone is very active along the coastline so I'll go for an early surf, enjoy and smoothie and a coffee at a cute cafe in Coolangatta then a trip to the Elevation fitness gym in Burleigh heads.
I love eating lunch at Rockleigh Cafe or O-sushi in Coolangatta, so I'll meet up with friends for a late lunch, followed by an epic afternoon beach hang at Rainbow Bay to surf, play beach games and watch the sun turn the ocean golden as it sets over the mountains in the gold coast hinterland. If it’s the weekend, we'll head to San Sebastian in Palm Beach for some delicious cocktails and good music to finish the night.
What are your favourite surf breaks on the Gold Coast?
I love the point breaks from Snapper to Kirra on the very southern end of the Gold Coast and South Stradbroke Island has world-class hollow waves regularly.
How would you describe your Gold Coast?
Perfectly balanced world of home! Familiarity, fun, good weather, great food and plenty of options to relax or adventure and conveniently close to an airport!
You’ve made a hugely successful career that has taken you to far flung places around the world. What do you miss most about the Gold Coast when you are away?
Family and friends are missed the most. Also the clean, clear ocean water and beaches. We really make a conscious effort here to preserve our coastline and the more I travel, see other parts of the world and on occasion get sick from surfing in dirty ocean water because some places don't take those measures to help look after their coastlines, it makes me appreciate Australia and the place I’m lucky to call home.
You’re part of an elite group of surfing champions born and bred on the Gold Coast; helping to establish the city as the home of Australian surfing. What does it mean to you to be part of this epic movement?
The Gold Coast has all the right ingredients to build a world champion surfer and you just have to look at the history of surfing to see there have been so many from right here in this southern Queensland/ Northern NSW region.
I believe the waves are world class. The world's best surfboard shapers are here. At the most popular breaks like Snapper, the crowds teach you to be competitive and assertive but also patient in the line-up which have been great tools for my pursuit of winning World Titles. And we're all very supportive of each other as well as feeling the support from all the locals which makes the journey to the top much more enjoyable.
Have you seen a change in the Gold Coast? If so, can you elaborate?
I've seen a big growth in the cafe culture and arts, music and small festivals are popping up all over the Gold Coast which is awesome to see as the community really gets together to showcase the local talents and the beautiful energetic nature of the area.
I think it’s really evolving in a positive way and I get excited to think about what else is to come. I love to invite people to the Gold Coast from around the world and show them what a wonderful place it is.