Gilmore makes history

Surfing great Steph Gilmore clinches a record eighth world title.

Women’s surfing champion and Audi ambassador Steph Gilmore, has won a record eighth surfing world championship to become the most successful female surfer of all time.

Courtesy WSL

12 September, 2022

Gilmore had to win three consecutive heats just to have the chance to challenge for the crown

Already considered one of surfing’s greats, Stephanie Gilmore has rewritten the history books winning a record eighth World Title to eclipse Layne Beachley’s previous record of seven world crowns.

The historic win came at the final round of the 2022 season and the second-annual Rip Curl WSL Finals at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California. In an event that would make a compelling movie screenplay, Gilmore – ranked number five in the world in the competition – had to win three consecutive heats against higher ranking surfers just to get the chance to faced off against five-time WSL (World Surf League) Champion Carissa Moore of Hawaii for the title.

Having seen off Brisa Hennessy, then Tatiana Weston-Webb and finally Johanne Defay, Gilmore backed up for a best of three showdown with the reigning Champion and five-time world title holder for her shot at history.

The 34-year-old from New South Wales stamped her authority on the competition from the very start, surfing in four to six foot waves, she produced a commanding performance to win the first heat to put all of the pressure back on the Hawaiian. Unable to match Gilmore’s precision on the day, Moore fell short, handing the Australian the tournament win and her eighth World Title in the process.

“There really are not many words that can describe this feeling right now and that’s why I now really love this format. It puts the pressure on you, it puts you under the pump, can you do it, it’s truly incredible,” Gilmore said following her historic victory.

That she had to battle it out with the reigning champion made the victory all the more special for Gilmore who considers the Hawaiian as one of the true greats of the sport, calling her ‘one of the greatest surfers of all time’.

“I’m really proud that I was able to make it past Brisa (Hennessy), Tatiana (Weston-Webb), Johanne (Defay), all of the most incredible female surfers in the world," said Gilmore. "And then to be able to make it all the way to the Final against Carissa, who in my mind, she’s the real world champ this year. I was out there thinking, if this happens, this is freaking cool because I’m out here against Carissa - the greatest of all time in my opinion.”

Gilmore has been a popular favourite on the women’s circuit since her historic debut in 2007, in which she won her first World Title in her rookie year – the only surfer, male or female ever to do so. Proving that that first win was no fluke, Gilmore backed up her 2007 title again in 2008 and then again in 2009 and 2010, becoming the dominant female surfer in the sport and the one to beat.

She slipped momentarily from the top spot in 2011 but was back with a vengeance to claim number five in 2012 and then a sixth title in 2014. At the start of 2018 Steph Gilmore became a global Audi ambassador, attracted to the brand by a shared commitment to a sustainable future. Later that year she equalled Layne Beachley’s long-held record of seven World Titles in 2018, and with her win at Trestles, becomes the most successful female surfer of all time.

No stranger to big moments, Gilmore won her first world title in her rookie year – the only surfer ever to do so