Steph Gilmore book ends surf season
STEPH Gilmore missed out on the world title to Tyler Wright but the surf champion has achieved something even her compatriot failed to do this season - win two world tour events.
Gilmore book ended the season with her stunning victory in the Maui Pro on Saturday morning - the same event which delivered her the 2014 world crown, the last of her six crowns.
In what she hopes is an omen for next season, Gilmore also became the first surfer to beat newly minted world champion Wright who she took down in an entertaining semi-final before going on to beat local Malia Manuel for the Maui Pro title.
"That was one of the funnest, most enjoyable heats I've ever had," Wright said of the 15.87 to 14.43 loss just a day after securing the world crown with a quarter-final victory.
"There was definitely some heckling back and forth ... it was a nice way to end the year for me."
Gilmore, who went into Maui event fifth on the leaders board but emerged from it in second place ahead of Sally Fitzgibbons, said Wright bought out the best in her.
"I always have such great surfs against Tyler. She always pushes me and makes me feel so nervous," Gilmore said.
"I had to win that one."
Gilmore started 2017 with victory in the opening event at her home break at Snapper Rocks but said prior to Maui she was disappointed with her season.
The victory over Manuel has changed that with Gilmore and American Courtney Conlogue the only two surfers to have won two events this year.
Even Wright, who won five en-route to her first world crown in 2016, was only able to win a single event in Rio with consistency at the others delivering her back-to-back titles.