With the ASP Women's World Tour beginning next weekend in Queensland, Stephanie Gilmore looks ahead to a fierce season-long battle with Red Bull wave rider and 2011 champion Carissa Moore…
After losing out on last year's title to our very own Carissa Moore, Australia's four-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore will be hoping to get off to a flying start at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast – the first of the seaon's seven ASP Women's World Title meets.
The 24-year-old, who's been doing some charity work in Senegal alnogside her training, is raring to go. “I want to be the best," she says, "I feel like I've already accomplished more than I ever thought I would and I'm proud of that. There's nothing forcing me to compete, I do it because I enjoy it and because I want to win. If you're winning events, you're winning world titles, so yes, the title is still very much the goal."
Gilmore faces a tough task in reclaiming top spot, though. This year's ASP Top 17 is the strongest it's ever been, says Gilmore, and no-one is safe with 19-year-old Carissa Moore around. The Red Bull surfer made it to an impressive six finals last year – not bad when there were only seven meets.
Gilmore had this to say about Hawaii's reigning ASP World Women's Champion:
"Carissa is a really impressive surfer. I don't think anyone was surprised that she started doing so well on the tour as we've all watched her grow up and have seen her coming down the tracks for a while. She can do it all – big turns, fin releases, airs, barrels, and she has a pretty impressive rhythm in all her surfing. Last year, she showed how dangerous she can be and there aren't a lot of events on the tour so every one of them counts. If you stumble early on then you need to make up the ground quickly, or Carissa, or someone else, will run away with it."
The Roxy Pro Gold Coast run from February 25 to March 7.