OUR GIRL: Seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore rates the 2019 Corona Bali Protected as the highlight of the season that saw her named Surfer of the Year. 

Picture: Matt Dunbar/World Surf League
OUR GIRL: Seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore rates the 2019 Corona Bali Protected as the highlight of the season that saw her named Surfer of the Year. Picture: Matt Dunbar/World Surf League

Gilmore: The 2019 event where it all “fell together”

KINGSCLIFF born, Tweed Heads-based surfing phenomenon Stephanie Gilmore took home the 2019 Female Surfer of the Year Award at the virtual 2020 Australian Surfing Awards on May 24.

The seven-time world champion was a special guest at the event screened on Channel 9's The Hold Down, hosted by surf media brothers Ronnie and Vaughan Blakey.

The highlight of the 2019 surfing year for Gilmore was the Corona Bali Protected competition where "the whole event fell together," she said on the show.

This year she had her sights on representing Australia at the Olympics in Tokyo where surfing would have made its debut.

 

BALI, INDONESIA - MAY 13: Seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore of Australia advances directly to Round 3 of the 2019 Corona Bali Protected after winning Heat 3 of Round 1 at Keramas on May 13, 2019 in Bali, Indonesia. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)
BALI, INDONESIA - MAY 13: Seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore of Australia advances directly to Round 3 of the 2019 Corona Bali Protected after winning Heat 3 of Round 1 at Keramas on May 13, 2019 in Bali, Indonesia. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

 

Gilmore said the postponement of the event due to COVID-19 had given her a welcome rest.

"It's been 14 years of touring life. I'm enjoying the break and time to look at what I can achieve," she said. "I've got plenty of juice in the tank. I'd like to keep evolving."

Gilmore said competing in the Olympics was a dream and the chance to hear sprinter Cathy Freeman speak of her experience at a recent pre-Olympic camp brought it even closer.

"I was 12 when she won the gold medal in the 2000 Sydney  Olympics. I remember watching her in her full Lycra suit. She was like a ­superhero," she said.

"To represent my country to go and win a gold medal - awesome."

Gilmore said the greatest impetus to her surfing success was the competition rivalry from surfers like Sally Fitzgibbons, who pushed her to achieve more.

Winning the 2019 Male Surfer of the Year Award was Jack Robinson, and Jodie Cooper was named the latest Hall of Fame inductee.

Watch the line-up of winners in the 36th Australian Surfing Awards on 9Entertainment.

Articles contributed by Margie Maccoll were supported by the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas.