Gilmore still chasing surfing greatness

·3-min read

With Serena Williams steaming into the third round of the US Open aged 40, surf queen Stephanie Gilmore sees no reason why she should contemplate ending her glittering career.

Like Williams, 34-year-old Gilmore is widely considered the GOAT of her sport with seven world titles.

Another Australian Layne Beachley has the same world champion tally although Gilmore has 33 title wins - more than any other female surfer.

Gilmore is hunting an eighth world crown in California in the World Surf League Finals next week, and doesn't plan to stop there.

The title will be decided in a one-day contest at Lower Trestles, with fifth-ranked Gilmore needing to beat the No.4 and then the third and second ranked surfers to move through the day.

Lying in wait in the decider is Hawaii's No.1 Carissa Moore, who is the reigning champion.

Gilmore said she was still motivated by winning another world title.

"The whole reason I am on the Tour is to win an eighth world title, I would love to do that and that's truly where my heart is," Gilmore told AAP.

"Somebody like Serena is a huge inspiration because she was like, 'I'm going to just dominate and maybe I want to have a child now and maybe I'll get back on tour'.

"If you're feeling healthy and fit and your mind is strong, there's really no reason why you can be held back from achieving what you want but you have to adjust the way you approach things.

"You're looking more at recovery rather than training - as your body ages you can't be so gung-ho you've got to be a little more calculated."

Gilmore has six years on Williams, who is set to retire after the US Open, while she has 16 years on men's surfing legend Kelly Slater.

The American won at Pipeline this year just days before he turned 50.

"I don't know about that, that's like a whole other life before 50, but I guess I've got a few more years up my sleeve for sure," she said of Slater.

From northern NSW, Gilmore says ongoing changes to the Tour are keeping her on her toes.

As well as the title-deciding format that was introduced in 2021, the WSL held a contest this year for the first time in El Salvador, won by Gilmore, while the women returned to surf the infamous reef break Teahupo'o in Tahiti last month for the first time in 16 years.

Surfing also made its Olympic debut in Toyko, with Gilmore representing Australia.

"As a surfer, what we love the most, is that we get to surf good wave and if I wasn't on Tour, I'd still be chasing great waves and the fact that I get to do it in competition and be challenged on top of that dream lifestyle of chasing waves is really special," Gilmore said.

"Don't get me wrong, it's tiring from dragging yourself around the world all year long but at the end of the day, I'm really loving the idea being on a Tour now where there's multiple locations that I'm not comfortable at and have never won at.

"There's new challenges all the time and for me, personally, I just like to see if it's possible for me to make it happen."