Gilmore Eliminates Defending Event Winner, Takes Important Win as Season Winds Down
Former event winner Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) defeated an in-form Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) in a must-make Elimination Round heat between the two surfers currently tied 6th on the rankings just outside the WSL Final 5 cutoff. Despite the Brazilian’s highest-scoring ride of 8.00, it was Gilmore’s impeccable flow and technique on the long rights that built up to a higher heat total of 14.37 (out of a possible 20).
“There’s a lot of water moving but it’s just perfect, pumping J-Bay,” Gilmore said. “That’s what we come here for, we waited a long time but it arrived and it’s just beautiful out there. In the previous heat it was bombing so I adjusted my equipment and grabbed a slightly longer board with big fins. That was a crucial heat with all of us sitting in the same zone. It’s just such a fantastic wave, the feelings that you get when you ride out there are pretty hard to describe.”
Her compatriot Molly Picklum (AUS) and tour veteran Lakey Peterson (USA) picked up the remaining two spots into the event’s Quarterfinals. Earlier in the day, Caroline Marks (USA) lit up on her backhand and found the most critical sections of Supertubes to post a near-perfect 9.63 and announce herself as a threat this week.