Stephanie Gilmore Is a World’s Greatest Surfer. Pay Her Accordingly.



Apr 3, 2019

Stephanie Gilmore carves her baby pinkish house opposite a bluish waves during Mākaha Beach in Hawaii with a totalled force. While other surfers quarrel a waves, she slices by them in double a time. She emerges from a swarming break, and beachgoers arise from their towels and flicker to see who she is. Her appetite ripples by a throng as her seemly speed—not to discuss a fact that she’s wearing a hot-pink anorak for a print shoot—captures onlookers’ attention. Gilmore is roller royalty.

And she’s creation waves where it all started. Just thirty miles north of Honolulu with a Waianae Mountain Range in a credentials this tiny slot of bliss was a hearth of large call surfing. Mākaha, in Hawaiian, roughly translates to “savage.” Gilmore upholds a legacy.


Gilmore, 31, grew adult in New South Wales, Australia and started surfing during age 11. At 17 she won her initial foe and hasn’t slowed down since. Like all pro surfers, she’s chasing a ideal call competing in one roller debate to a next. She still calls Australia home, though keeps semi-permanent outposts in Hawaii, California, and other cities where a waters swell. She’s a internal favourite to any surfing community, thanks, in part, to her relentless positivity. Her hometown nickname is Happy Gilmore. She calls herself “happy” 4 times via a speak with a tinge of piety that belies her 7 universe championships.

Just don’t tell her she surfs like a man.


“Most compliments for womanlike surfing are like, ‘Oh, we roller so well, we roller like a guy,’” she says, adding that she’s listened her roller character described as “masculine” before. It’s a usually time via a march of a speak that her sunshine-y tinge shifts. “No, we consider a best man surfers indeed roller like girls.” She explains: “Generally we consider that many females tend to float with a wave,” she says. “They’re arrange of adjusting their maneuvers and all since physically, we’re not as clever as a guys. […] We have to do maneuvers formed on what a waves will concede us to do. Guys, they’re a small some-more aggressive. They roughly have an disintegrating proceed where they’re fighting opposite a wave.”

She pauses, and backtracks. “There’s no gender to [surfing],” she says. “You can see a attribute that this tellurian has with a sea when she’s roving a call and that’s what’s unequivocally special to watch.” Genderless, however, is not what surfing in 2019 is. But Gilmore has high hopes for a destiny of a sport, that will be strictly famous as an Olympic competition for a initial time during a 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Surfing is scandalous for being a boys’ club, with a prolonged story of sexism and inequality. It’s a territorial sport, all about throwing a wave, and women mostly have problem violation by line-ups dominated by men. The World Surf Tour, a ruling physique that runs veteran surfing competitions, consists of 16 women and 36 men. More mostly than not a best competitions sets are indifferent for men. Gilmore explains: “if a waves are unequivocally good, afterwards they put a group on, and if a waves aren’t so good, afterwards they put a women on.” But there’s no place where a inclination in surfing is some-more starkly apparent than when it comes to esteem money.


In Mar of 2018, a men’s leader of a Gold Coast pro perceived $100,000, while a tip lady was paid $65,000. A few months later, a photo of dual youth surfers went viral, display a dual teenagers with their oversized checks. The inconsistency was blatant; a womanlike leader won half as most as her masculine counterpart.

Female athletes in scarcely any competition are fighting a same fight: Serena Williams’ new debate for Nike explored a gender disposition opposite women that so mostly paints them as “crazy” (instead of ardent or desirous or driven). The U.S. Women’s inhabitant hockey group withdrew from competing in an general contest until they perceived compensate allied to a men’s group (the accurate amounts were never disclosed); And in Feb 2019, a U.S. Women’s Soccer Team sued for their joining for gender discrimination, compensate equity and operative conditions.

“When group and women are crowned champions and they mount on a lectern together and they have an equal esteem check, that’s so adult front and core for everybody to see that this should be normal,” says Gilmore. In further to surfing finally being famous by a Olympics, a swell Gilmore and her contemporaries have finished marks with a swell finished in some-more renouned sports. For Gilmore, it’s about legitimizing surfing with “more atmosphere time on promote and to assistance grow a sport,” she says. “If there are immature girls out there that wish to select that trail of being an central surfer, now they demeanour during me and go, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s a legitimate career.’”



Gilmore worked directly with a WSL, and in Sep 2018 they announced that masculine and womanlike winners would accept a same esteem money. A few months after Gilmore cumulative her final win in Dec 2018. ”It’s [about] not being fearful to only mount adult and use your voice for something and I’ve always been flattering still on that part,” Gilmore admits. “I consider for [the WSL], it was only a matter of righting a wrong.”

It’s interjection to large changes like this, and smaller some-more incremental ones along a way, that surfing is finally apropos a girls’ bar too. “We’re like a family on a road, either we like it or not,” Gilmore, a Roxy ambassador, says of a associate women on a tour. The register includes some of her best friends like Tyler Wright and Kelia Moniz (lovingly famous as Sis, whom we might have spied on Hailey Bieber’s Instagram—the dual a re good friends). She gushes about them but pretense. “We unequivocally honour any other. So we know that once a event’s done, we can come behind and all celebration and applaud together and it’s not an issue.” Pro surfers are constantly appearing on any other’s Instagrams, commenting congratulations, retweeting any others’ accomplishments. It’s rise women ancillary women, solely they are also any other’s fiercest competitors. Their friendships and feeds are indirectly ripping down poisonous roller enlightenment Instagram like by Instagram like.


During a photoshoot, fans immature and aged proceed Gilmore her any twenty or so minutes, like clockwork, to take a selfie or honour her. Gilmore is so, well, happy, and easy to speak to, if it weren’t for a consistent interruptions it’s easy to forget that she is a best in a universe during what she does. But afterwards she reminds me. When we ask if she can roller in a knee-length cloak she smiles, “I can roller in anything. I’m a rival person.”

Photography by Tyler Joe; styled by Justine Carreon; hair and makeup by Jasmine Mullins; video by Tom Law; modifying by Tyler Joe


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