LOS ANGELES, California/USA (Thursday, July 26, 2012) – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, displayed a remarkable return to form this season to win her fifth ASP Women’s World Title one event shy of the culmination of the 2012 ASP Women’s WCT season. While many critics doubted Gilmore’s return to the top after a rocky 2011, Gilmore quickly answered back this year and maintained her dominant form throughout the season with unmatched authority. ESPN caught up with the Australian beauty to see how she’s feeling now that the ball is back in her court. This… is their story…
ESPN: So, how you feeling?
Stephanie Gilmore: I am feeling great, of course. What a wonderful feeling to have the title back.
What was the defining moment this year, where things kind of clicked?
I think probably the very first event, as far as confidence and remembering the emotions you go through when you’re succeeding at each event. The event at Snapper Rocks, I felt pretty strong, pretty confident. And when I won the event to start the year off — I’m not saying I knew I could win the world title right then and there, but it was kind of like, “Yeah, this is what I needed and I can do it.”
So, what was missing last year?
I was just a little bit lost. It might have come down to something as simple as not being 100 percent passionate about it. The main part was that was missing. I was just so tired and wanted to have a break and I didn’t really take it. I was trying to force things that can’t be forced. So things weren’t falling into place the way things do when you let go of them.
Did the attack incident have anything to do with that?
Of course. It had a lot to do with it. But it made me appreciate everything that much more. As much as it took away, it also gave me perspective as well.
And there was physical injury you sustained during the attack with the broken wrist. Did that kind of throw off your rhythm last year?
Yeah, to not be in the water — that rhtym is so important. I mean, if you’re not injured, you don’t have to go in the water all the time to keep that rhythm. But when you’re injured and you have a lot on your mind, it’s kind of like stepping into another phase and I had to adjust to all these different things. So being out of the water for sure played a different role there.
You must be pretty excited right now about the general level of womens’ surfing with Carissa Moore, Sally Fitzgibbons and the rookies. It’s so much higher than it was before these girls were on tour.
It is so much higher. And there are so many more rivalries between all of us, which is the greatest part. It’s not just the number one and number two at the top. There are rivalries between Sally and Carissa, Carissa and Tyler, me and Tyler, me and Sally, Sally and Coco, and it goes all the way down to the girls that are at the bottom of the rankings, but there are still a lot of rivalries going on and that’s something that has been in the making on the womens tour for a long time. But yeah, I think it’s also one of the most rewarding parts, to be able to come back and step it up again even thought the whole tour has stepped it up.
For the full interview with Stephanie Gilmore log on to ESPN.com