Stephanie Gilmore is considered one of the world’s most stylish female surfers – a leader in women’s surfing, carving out her own path between the highest competition success and her ability to have fun.
Stephanie, when did you learn to surf?
I started surfing by standing up on a bodyboard in the shoreline while my dad surfed out the back. I was around 10 years old. I moved to standing up on fiberglass boards at 12.
Which is your favourite wave?
There are so many, all for different reasons. But my home break, Snapper Rocks, on a good swell with all my friends in the line up is hard to beat.
Who are your best friends on the world tour?
Laura Enever, Coco Ho and Bianca Buitentag.
What are you listening to right now?
Right now I’m loving the new Frank Ocean Album, Blond. It’s a work you have to listen to as an album, not only as individual songs. Take time with it.
Watch Steph’s awesome new film The Tempest
This talented young South African could have chosen a career in a variety of sports like hockey, swimming, biathlon or gymnastics. Bianca chose surfing and it’s opened a lot of doors for her, she gets to surf the best waves in the world with the best surfers. We think she made the right choice.
“Passion is so powerful, and seeing it in the eyes of every person that paddled past me in the line-up made me begin to understand this love called surfing that we all share.”
Bianca, which is your favourite wave to surf?
I enjoy waves more as a result of the atmosphere than the actual quality – waves close to my heart and history are probably my favorite, including Victoria Bay and Jeffreys Bay. But since I have had the chance to travel the globe, one uncovers a great diversity of breaks, water types, and environments, so my favorite wave today will not necessarily be my favourite next month.
What’s been your scariest surfing situation and how do you overcome your fear?
Situations that create fear in the water often have strong similarities to scary situations in life. Fear is mainly birthed from the realisation that we are not in control, and learning to grow more and more comfortable in our dependency, is the only way to overcome, and allows a sense of liberty. That is why surfing has that ecstasy, because every time we cross from shore to sea, its acts as a chance to overcome.
You come from a very academic family. Did you have to decide between going to university and surfing – was it a hard choice?
Yeah I had to decide, but it wasn’t that tough. My parents had a big influence in the decision. My mum always said that she regretted going to university straight after school and that she still wants to travel the world. I think taking the surfing option might have been more risky but I have good support from Roxy and I never wanted the average life. God opened a door in the surfing scene so I decided to grab the opportunity and go for it. And when I look back now, I’m really glad I did.
Watch Bianca’s ripping it up in Hossegor during her stay last year.
Find out what’s happening around Hossegor during the Roxy Pro here
Watch the Roxy Pro live at www.worldsurfleague.com