Gilmore wins world title at Target Maui Pro
KAPALUA – Stephanie Gilmore won her sixth ASP world champion title on Thursday, Nov. 27, at the final stop of the 2014 ASP Women’s World Surfing Tour: the Target Maui Pro at Honolua Bay.
Gilmore entered the event as the defending world champion, having claimed consecutive victories at this world-class break in 2007, 2008 and 2009 (the last time a world tour event was held at Honolua Bay).
Gilmore won the title after making the quarterfinals and seeing Sally Fitzgibbons, ranked second in the world, eliminated from the contest by Bianca Buitendag in their quarterfinals heat, as well as world number three and fellow Aussie Tyler Wright eliminated by Hawaii’s Carissa Moore in the contest final.
“This has been the most intense title race of my career. This season brought us to the best waves we’ve seen on tour, and the level of women’s surfing is better than it’s ever been. I won my first world title here and am speechless that today I’ve won my sixth world title at Honolua Bay – a break I dreamed about surfing as a kid,” said Gilmore.
“I didn’t win an event last year, and I think that was a bit of a wakeup call for me. I came into this season with the goal to surf better, and I think the improvement in wave quality on the women’s tour was very motivating for me. To open up with a win at home on the Gold Coast and, maybe more importantly, feeling like I was surfing at a level I was pleased with, was really important in setting the tone for my year.
“It’s been one of the most exciting title races in the sport’s history. All the girls at the top were really close, and it came down to the last event. I fell back a little bit in the ratings through the midway point in the season, but I was still getting results and always felt like I was in the race,” Gilmore continued.
“That was probably the most emotional I’ve ever been watching someone else surf in my life. I know how focused Tyler is, and I was completely prepared for a surf-off. However, I also knew how incredibly capable Carissa is at virtually every venue. I feel like I had a year’s worth of emotions packed into one heat. I won my first title here at Honolua Bay, but after my loss in the quarterfinals, I was prepared for anything to happen. I’m really emotional right now.
“The caliber of surfing on tour this season is the highest it has ever been. There are no easy heats. This was the hardest title I’ve ever won. The talent level is only going to increase in future years but I’m so pleased I’ve won and want to thank everyone who has supported me this year – my family, my friends and my sponsors.”