The Stylist – Stephanie Gilmore Exclusive Interview

From Cooler Issue 44.

The 26-year-old Australian has won a record five ASP Women’s World Tour titles, been shot by Vogue (after us naturally!) and she won the first stop of this year’s ASP World Tour at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. Ahead of a documentary release about her life, we chatted to Stephanie Gilmore about the new-look World Tour, how to get more British women into surfing and whether she’d fancy a role in the Point Break remake

Hey Stephanie, massive congrats on your Roxy Pro Gold Coast win! We’re super excited to see Hossegor, Trestles, Fiji and Maui added to this year’s World Tour, how about you?

Me too! It’s so wonderful to see what the new ASP are doing for the girls, committing to good waves, much higher prize purse and just paying the girls tour huge attention in general which has already elevated the tour and we’re only one event in. I am a big fan of all the new event locations. Maui would have to be the one I’m most excited for. It’s where I won my first world title, it’s a magical wave, and it’s taking the end of the tour back to Hawaii, which is needed.

How will the addition of these events change the kind of surfing we see and will the same people still finish at the top?

The whole tour will be challenged. Bringing these world class waves into our arena will allow us to surf at our most progressive level, which is something the lesser locations don’t allow for. I think overall people will be delighted to see every female tour contender surf their best, in fact they may get a shock at how progressive the overall level is. We may see some new names in the finals, but overall I think the current girls at the top will remain at the top.

Will the contests be tougher though and if so have you adjusted your fitness regime as a result!?

Yes, the contests will be tougher but I think the better wave locations will show the difference between more intuitive surfing rather than a more trained/fitness approach. I think it will be important for all of us on tour to be at our ultimate fitness level, especially as there are 10 events so we need endurance to sustain the year. I have changed my training approaches over my career – I like to mix it up and try new things. Recently I was introduced to Pilates. Working on the Pilates reformer was part of my daily routine in the lead up to the Roxy Pro Gold coast.

And do you have a chilled diet or do you watch what you eat?

My diet is quite chilled. I have always enjoyed good food and nice restaurants and would hate to deny myself from that aspect of life. While saying that, I keep my eating very clean and use ‘balance’ as the magic word. I learnt early in my career what foods work for me and make my body feel its best so I listen to that as much as possible. Travelling makes it hard to stick to a strict diet, however my main motto is “eat local and in season”.

You’ve always enjoyed the fashion side of surfing, how important has that side of things been in selling the new women’s tour to the mainstream would you say?

I do love the fashion side, I like the balance of surfing’s sport and lifestyle. I feel that doing some more fashion forward things in amongst the competition heavy stuff has helped me keep interest in the sport while also bringing attention to this awesome thing we as competitive surfers do. It’s an interesting topic at the moment how far to push the beauty side. I myself feel that strength is beautiful, beauty is power, and confidence is the most attractive approach one can have. What we do as surfers in and out of competition encapsulates all of these qualities. If we can keep the approach balanced and positive, the women’s tour will see the most success it ever has in the near future. It’s really exciting!

We’re looking fwd to seeing the documentary you’ve done with Ava Warbrick, can you tell us a little about that?

It’s called Stephanie In The Water and it’s a feature length, non-traditional portrait documentary that shows a very intimate perspective of a period in time of my career. It’s been wonderfully done by Ava who is a dear friend of mine. One of the most interesting perspectives, I think, is that Ava grew up in the surfing world of Australia with a deep understanding of it, but left to live in New York and follow her artistic and film endeavours.

The long, in-depth process of making this film took me into Ava’s world which is far away from the paradise lifestyle that is surfing and has since opened my eyes to a huge part of the world that I was previously unaware of, only to find inspirations for my own career in the most unassuming places. I learnt so much from the journey and process alone. The film will be out this summer and I hope you all enjoy it!  You can keep up to date at

Is film something you’d like to do more of, did you hear they’re remaking Point Break? Would you play Tyler if they asked you too? We loved her in the original

lol. Sometimes it’s best to simply love and appreciate the original 😉 but we will see.

You’ve said in interviews that you were a tomboy surfer growing up and now you seem so at ease doing super glam shoots. Did you feel shy when you first had to do fashion shoots and if so how did you overcome it? 

I think it’s all part of growing up! I was a tomboy until I was about 16. I loved that I was a tomboy and wouldn’t change a thing. I think it made me focus more on progressing my surfing. Performing better in the water was my way of showing off to the boys rather than dressing up for them.

This no doubt was an integral aspect of getting me to where I am today. But as you grow up from a girl into a woman, it’s only natural to appreciate your feminine side. I for sure felt awkward on my first glam shoots, but I also felt awkward on any styled shoot at first and it’s a huge part of my job and career. As I did more and more of them I began to love them, and now it’s more about working with great photographers and stylists and appreciating the artistic side to these shoots – it’s great!

Action sports are pretty big in London right now. With the Winter Olympics snowboarding, Southbank’s skate park winning its bid to stay open and the pop up skate park at Selfridges, how can we get more British women into surfing? 

Definitely holidays in the Tropics, and perhaps a wave pool in Hyde Park? We just need them to try it in a fun, warm place. It’s easy to get hooked from there.

Do you look at the length of Kelly Slater’s career and the titles he’s won and think I’d like that?

I think Kelly is almost supernatural. He is such an incredible human, an inspiration; someone I look up to. But that career suits him as an individual. I will never say never, I am not sure if a career that long is for me, but one thing I do know is that no matter what I’m doing I will ALWAYS be surfing.

You seem to be on social media a little less these days, did it start to annoy you!?

I just believe in quality over quantity. A little less crap, a little more cool would go a long way in the online social world. Insert emoji winky face!

Have you been involved in the creative design process with Roxy, for example in this latest Pop Surf Collection, and if not would you like to be in the future?

Yes! Great things will be coming your way!!!!!



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