Seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore is both fiercely competitive and a friendly, relaxed presence in the lineup, which is to say that there’s something of a Jekyll and Hyde thing at work. When she burst onto the scene in 2005, winning the Roxy Pro Gold Coast at age 17, I was captivated by her giant smile. She seemed to just sort of grin her way up to the winner’s podium. I thought: “How can it be so easy?”
About a decade later, when we became neighbors in Malibu and surfed together often, I found out. In this inaugural episode of Soundings, Stephanie and I sat down and talked through her approach in the water, maintaining competitive focus, making the jump from high-school straight to the world tour, Snapper Rocks etiquette, and the virtues of smiling while dropping in.—Jamie Brisick
Follow Stephanie at @stephaniegilmore.
Produced by Jonathan Shifflett.
Music by Little Wings.
Feature image by Todd Glaser.