Australia’s Steph Gilmore did it again for the sixth time around, winning her the ASP World Champion title, just one championship away from the record of another Australian great, Layne Beachley.
The ASP World Tour is a competition sponsored by the Association of Surfing Professionals, the governing body for pro surfers. It consists of the ASP World Title Race, ASP Prime, and ASP Star events. The winner of the Title Race is proclaimed the winner of the ASP World Tour Championship.
This year, Stephanie Louise Gilmore bagged her sixth championship despite a quarter-final defeat to American Courtney Conlogue in the season finale held in Hawaii’s Honolua Bay. The 26-year-old had moments of serious worry as it looked like fellow Aussie, 20-year-old Tyler Wright, was riding those waves to victory, but Wright’s defeat to local girl Carissa Moore clinched the title for Gilmore instead. Had Wright won against Moore, she would have had to face Gilmore in a surf-off. In the end, Tyler finished runner-up while Moore came in third place.
Gilmore claimed that the 2014 title race has been the toughest thus far in her eight years on tour. There were so many able contenders, such as the previous year’s champion, hometown girl Moore. Another Australian vying for the title was 23-year-old Sally Fitzgibbons, who unfortunately also suffered a loss to South African Bianca Buitendag just minutes after Gilmore’s own defeat opened the door for her and Wright to claim the championship.
Although Gilmore didn’t win the 2013 ASP World Champion title, she entered the event as a defending champion, having claimed victory in 2009 — the last time a world tour event was held at Honolua Bay. The surfing champion dubbed as Happy Gilmore earned the title for the following years: 2007 (when she entered as a rookie), 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The 2011 championship only saw her claim third place, after runner-up Fitzgibbons and overall winner Moore. The 2013 title also went to Moore while Gilmore only placed fifth after Conlogue, Fitzgibbons, and Wright.
Gilmore expects the competition to get harder every year with the fresh blood of younger surfers coming in, but experience as well as passion and a natural affinity with the ocean are always sure to come into play. The blonde New South Wales native had an early start in the surfing life. She began surfing at 10 and entered the world tour events at the tender age of 17. The chances of this amazing water athlete breaking Beachley’s record are, indeed, very high.