Hot on the heels of Carissa Moore announcing her retirement from the WSL World Tour, Steph posted this on on Insta:

“ I am planning to take this tour season off as a refresh for myself physically, mentally, and to enjoy following swells and free surfing in new places. I have some projects and trips I want to do, which haven’t been possible while traveling for the tour season. I am still passionate and dedicated to competing, and I have goals and dreams that I am still chasing – I’m excited for something fresh this year and I look forward to returning to competition in 2025.”

Then the WSL announced the departure and guaranteed Steph a 2025 wild card

“While we will miss Steph’s presence on the CT this season, we wholeheartedly support her decision to take this time for herself,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Chief of Sport.
“Steph’s influence on surfing and sport has been profound, inspiring countless people around the world. We eagerly await her return in 2025, where she will be welcomed back with the season wildcard, ready to continue her incredible legacy.”

“Under the WSL Rule Book, Gilmore’s spot continues down the 2023 CT rankings, and it is not allocated to the first replacement as this is a pre-season withdrawal. The next qualifier on the CT is Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), who is tied with Brisa Hennessy (CRC) and wins the tiebreak due to heat wins (4 to 3). Fitzgibbons as Gilmore’s replacement via the CT opens up a spot via the Challenger Series. Luana Silva (BRA), as the next ranked surfer on the Challenger Series, then qualifies for the CT in Fitzgibbons’ absence on the Challenger Series’ rankings. Silva will start her 2024 season at Pipeline, marking her return to the CT.

“With Silva previously holding the WSL Replacement position and now gaining full-time entry on the CT, Sophie McCulloch(AUS) has been allocated the WSL Replacement spot by the WSL Tours and Competition team. Following Carissa Moore’s withdrawal from the 2024 CT season after the Pipe Pro, McCulloch will compete in Moore’s place as the first replacement.”

With two of the biggest surf legends not competing on the World Tour this year we look forward to seeing what they will be getting up to. Good luck ladies, you deserve this time out!