"It would be strange to crown an Olympic champion in the ocean one Games and then in the pool in another."
Of course, Stephanie Gilmore is the most pleasing of all surfers to watch at Surf Ranch. The six-time world champion was raised among the girlish sand-bottom points of Coolangatta and while stodgy men (Joel) and uninterested men (John John) struggle with the pool’s reductive precision, Stephanie’s delicate gestures reveal a nobility impossible to imitate.
Just prior to the women’s event at Jeffrey’s Bay, Stephanie enjoyed a week-long “Olympics readiness” training camp at Surf Ranch courtesy of the government-funded body Surfing Australia. This was questioned by the shaping great Maurice Cole who wondered, very loudly, why the Australians were practising in a pool when the Games will be held in Chiba’s crummy little beachies.
But, perhaps Stephanie knows something you and I, the shielded, protected public, don’t. Yesterday, she told The Daily Telegraph,
“If we knew it would be in an ocean where the waves were consistent and there was a perfect reef break then for sure I’d be down for it… But there are so many counties where the waves aren’t there, who might not even have an ocean. I think it would be good to be consistent from the very beginning. It would be strange to crown an Olympic champion in the ocean one Games and then in the pool in another. I think they need to start it in a wave pool and keep it going. It would be terrible if you worked for four years and then there was no surf.”
She ain’t wrong.
Can you imagine the gloom and the resentment if the gold medals were awarded to some child for exaggerated turns in two-foot bouillabaisse?
Interestingly, Stephanie also said the Ranch had been excellent training for J-Bay.
“It was pretty perfect preparation for here actually. The waves are pretty similar.”
Read the entire story here. (Spoiler: the meat’s already been picked off the bone.)