Stephanie Gilmore is closing in on a seventh world surfing crown.
Stephanie Gilmore is closing in on a seventh world surfing crown. WSL / KELLY CESTARI

Steph edges closer to record-tying seventh crown

STEPHANIE Gilmore's second-placing at the inaugural Surf Ranch Pro in California at the weekend has stretched her World Surf League tour lead and tightened her grip on a record seventh world title.

The result was the Kingscliff marvel's fourth podium-finish in a row and her sixth from eight starts this season.

1.	6x World Womens Champion and Captain of Australian Team Steph Gilmore excelled on opening day of the Founder Cup.
Steph Gilmore gets in a groove at the Surf Ranch Pro. Kelly Cestari

Coming off a second-place at the US Open last month, Gilmore, 30, continued her solid form in the States at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch, which is home to the longest engineered open-barrel wave in the world.

That open-barrel was a blank canvas for the world's best surfers throughout the event - one Gilmore managed to navigate slightly better than her main title threat Lakey Peterson, who finished third, while Hawaiian surfer Carissa Moore, excelling on the mechanical wave, took out the win.

Carissa Moore, Stephanie Gilmore, Lakey Peterson and Tatiana Weston-Webb at the Surf Ranch Pro.
Carissa Moore, Stephanie Gilmore, Lakey Peterson and Tatiana Weston-Webb at the Surf Ranch Pro in California. WSL / KELLY CESTARI

Gilmore's second-place finish opened up a a 6,915-point lead over Peterson in the race for title with only two events to go.

The tour now heads to France for the penultimate event of the season, where Gilmore could clinch a seventh world crown and tie Layne Beachley's current record.

Steph Gilmore at the Roxy Pro competition on the Gold Coast. Credit PHOTO: WSL/Cestari
Steph Gilmore is chasing Layne Beachley's record seven world titles.

But Gilmore, for now, is keeping her mind on the task at hand.

"Now we'll head to France and see what happens there,” she said after the event.

WSL Leaderboard

1. Stephanie Gilmore: 61,175

2. Lakey Peterson: 54,260

3. Tatiana Weston-Webb: 41,415

4. Carissa Moore: 41,235

5. Caroline Marks: 41,253