Lady a champ! | Photo: WSL

From the consecrated-whisky-rainfall department: Stephanie Gilmore wins seventh world title!

Lakey melts, Stephanie's aura glows…

Surprising nobody, given Lakey Peterson had to win the final event to force a surf off, Stephanie Gilmore has just claimed her seventh world title.

The title equals Layne Beachley’s seven (let’s not count the Masters contest, oui?) and makes her four off Kelly’s eleven. Stephanie won the title in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 and, now, 2018.

Gilmore, who is thirty and lives in an adorable bungalow in Malibu (I presume it ain’t ash), was recently profiled in The Weekend Australian Magazine by the writer Will Swanton.

It’s a harrowing read and pivots on the 2010 attack when a homeless schizophrenic junkie beat hell out of Stephanie with a crowbar. (He was jailed for four years.)

Let’s step inside the pages.

Blue jeans. White T-shirt. Big hair. Ocean-coloured eyes with small brown specks that resemble grains of sand she does not wish to rinse away. She taps her right foot on the stool when she talks about the incident. Throughout our hour-long conversation, Stephanie Gilmore declines to call it what it is. A bashing. An assault. An attack that could have killed her. She furrows her brow and squints as if she’s still trying to make sense of it all. “Yeah,” she says quietly. “There was the incident.”

It was early evening, just getting dark, when Gilmore pulled into her Tweed Heads unit block. “And I see this guy. Strange guy. He’s not wearing any shoes. He’s pottering around in the garage area, right at the front of my apartment,” she remembers. “He’s tinkering with a piece of wood, something like that. I remember thinking, ‘That’s a bit weird.’ Human intuition is an incredible thing, eh? I know it’s bad as soon as I see him. I can feel it.”

She talked to herself as she edged towards the stairwell to her second-floor apartment. Look straight ahead. Don’t make eye contact. Keep moving to the door. “I walk about 15 to 20 metres in front of him. I look up the stairs and I’m thinking, ‘How fast can I run up there?’ You have a split-­second to make decisions, I guess. But it still feels like there’s all this time to ask yourself questions.” Do I have time to get my key in the door? Will I be able to get inside? “I know he’s going to come after me before he even does it. I feel sick. It’s so bad. It took me years to be able to talk about all this without wanting to cry. I can see my front door. It’s right there and I just keep staring at it. He’s following me. He’s coming up behind me.”

Don’t turn around. “I can’t help it. I turn around,” she says. “A glance back, to see where he is. And he’s sprinting. He has a crowbar in his hand and he’s running at me. I can’t run up the stairs. I definitely don’t have time to unlock the door. I can’t get away — there’s nowhere to go. He’ll chase me and catch me, whatever I do. He has that look in his eyes. It’s terrifying. I know I can’t talk to him. He’s going to get me. I freeze, and he starts hitting me over the head with a crowbar. I remember exactly what I was thinking: Why are you doing this to me?

He hit her four times. He didn’t rob her. Didn’t sexually assault her. “He just keeps hitting me with a crowbar.” There was blood everywhere. He ran to a BMX bike in the corner of the garage and took off, leaving Gilmore on the ground screaming. “I have my handbag. I have my phone in my hand. It’s bent in half. Caved in. It’s protected me a bit. When I’ve put my hands over my head to protect myself, he’s hit the phone a couple of times. He rides off really fast and I’m thinking, ‘Well, I’m still alive. There’s a good thing.’ More than anything, I want to know why it’s happened. Do I know him? Have I done something to him that I’ve forgotten about? Have I looked at him the wrong way? Have I deserved this? Is it my fault?”

Anyway, eight years later, she’s got seven titles and is, I’m imagining, filled with a slow wave of silky electrical currents.

Watch her title video here. 

Promotion: Win a silky three-board quiver from your pals at The Critical Slide Society!

Glide, shred and bounce!

Although they may deny it, Sam Coombes and Jim Mitchell, are one of the few real geniuses of the surf biz.

Jim was one of the original Mambo artists (1990 to 2001). His wonderful, and now frightfully expensive, pieces included a rabbit with its head split asunder by an axe (Splitting Hares) and a tropical shirt that made the wearer looked like he was festooned with tattoos (Show Us Your Tats, Back).

In 2009, Sam and Jim started The Critical Slide Society. For years, the company dominated Stab magazine’s board short of the year contest. Their 2013 short, I think it was, is still my favourite-ever pair of trunks.

Recently, TCSS opened a store up the hill from Bondi beach. It is classic Mitchell/Coombes. A mural of Point Break’s Bodhi (the Patrick Swayze) version festoons the eastern wall; tiles at the entrance are laid to read Beach Business.

Earlier today, TCSS announced they had a quiver they wished to give away, three boards from Thomas Surfboards, Josh Keogh & Catch Surf. The sleds, they say, reflect, the swinging aesthetic of the company.

Here’s the spiel.

Dreamed of walking into the garage and having your pick of 3 fresh slices of foam? A longboard from the king himself Thomas Bexon (Doc), a perfectly hand shaped fish from Josh Keogh and a soft top from Catch Surf for those smaller fun days.

Free boards aren’t something we take for granted, in all honesty, we’ve never got any freebies, and why should we. There’s definitely been the barter economy, a nice piece of art for an addition to the quiver. So the labour cost should roughly balance each other out! In this don’t have to be on the world tour… just be the lucky name that gets drawn out of the hat.

Simple as that.

Want to win? All you have to do is sign up below, the winner will be drawn close of biz Friday the 14th of December.

Winners receive ~

– 9’9 Thomas Step Deck

– 5’6 Keogh Fish

– 8′ Catch Surf Plank

Obviously, it’s a play to get a few more eyeballs on their mailing list. Which ain’t a crime, I think, and a very small price to pay for your shot at the boards.

The contest is international, too, so let’s toast TCSS’s mail-order powers.

Sign up, maybe win, here.

Subscribe to our mailing list



Breaking: Jaws just called off with commissioner Mike “Snips” Parsons saying, “Too risky!”

Dave Kalama adds, "We must protect the surfers from themselves!"

The second I pressed publish, extolling you to cancel your dentist appointment and tune in to the technological miracle of Jaws and Honolua running simultaneously, the powers in Santa Monica’s high castle smote me for insolence. The waves at Jaws became to0 big to surf safely, lips too thick and drops too severe according to the Big Wave World Tour commissioner Mike “Snips” Parsons.

What did you miss?

Only the benchmark for the next generation Billy Kemper packing a massive barrel. Only men and women putting on a marvelous show, dancing on God’s fury.

And other assorted “hero moves” according to Pete Mel. Now, the swell should be more “approachable” tomorrow but what if the swell disappears entirely? I trust the buoys as far as I can throw them so what if everyone wakes up tomorrow and there is no Jaws?

Will people be sad and call for Snips’ head on a pike or will people understand that safety should always be first?

Big questions for tomorrow.

Keala Kennelly won the woman’s side of the draw as they went first. Bravo to her but I couldn’t help but feeling that the World Surf League missed a grand opportunity. As you are aware, WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt recently found herself in spot of bother for allegedly telling female surfers trying to get in to Mavericks/get equal pay that it was “an abuse of the #metoo movement.” So what if today, they truly flipped the tables, called off the men because too risky for them, but sent out the women?

Front page news around the world!

Jaws/Honolua live now: “It started as a haunted house, now it’s a haunted mansion!”

The World Surf League unveils technological miracle!

I think you must drop what you are doing right now, even if it is very important, even if it a much needed dentist appointment, and tune in to the World Surf League’s groundbreaking split screen hosting of Jaws and Honolua, both on Maui, both featuring feats of physical and emotional strength.

Back to the split screen, it is a technological miracle. You can silence Joe Turpel (Honolua) and listen to Kaipo (Jaws). You can silence Pottz (Honolua) and listen to Pete Mel (Jaws). You can silence everyone or play both streams at full volume.

All very genius and I think twice as genius in light of the colossal technological fuck up that was Tiger vs. Phil.

Bravo World Surf League!

But wait, who is going to win? Besides us the viewers if we silence everyone?

Watch now!

Listen: Gerry Lopez says SUPS suck! Ryan Callinan says Medina has the heart of a “smooth-nippled lion!”

Up the Swellians etc!

Have you fallen under the spell of the podcast Ain’t that Swell yet? God knows how many years it’s been going now, six, seven, eight?

Like all things, it’s evolved from a modest back and forth between the writers Jed ‘Smivvy’ Smith and Adam ‘Vaughan’ Blakey to something so deeply Australian, so idiosyncratic and sure of its way, there isn’t a podcast on earth like it.

Rogan looks like fake Disney dollars next to Ain’t that Swell.

This episode, which was released two days ago, is a new high point. It is four hours long but you’ll keep listening until your bladder stabs into you.

It is world title themed and features interviews with Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Gerry Lopez, Tom Carroll and Ryan Callinan who “talks about the paddle battle with Medina and calls out Aussies for getting dark on Medina afterwards,” says Vaughan.

Late last night, I recorded a short interview with Vaughan, he in a hacienda that looks like a sinner’s palace in Crescent Head, your writer, in the dirty city.

I am excited even though my thing has long been cured of its ability to have erections.

BeachGrit: God I love this so much it hurts. I feel jealousy, joy etc.
VD: Same! All love should hurt. Otherwise it’s lukewarm likey at best.

Gabby shouldn’t be torn down by misguided nationalistic nonsense for having the heart of a roaring smooth-nippled lion. R-Cal goes right into the whole Subertubos paddle battle which is great to hear with a bit of retrospect, especially cause he loved it until he got to shore and saw that everyone was blowing up.

Talk to me about the Ryan-on-Medina interview. 
It’s a snippet from one of the best interviews I’ve heard in a long time (Smivvy did it) but the crux of our cut is that Gabby shouldn’t be torn down by misguided nationalistic nonsense for having the heart of a roaring smooth-nippled lion. R-Cal goes right into the whole Subertubos paddle battle which is great to hear with a bit of retrospect, especially cause he loved it until he got to shore and saw that everyone was blowing up. I guess the thing is that it’s not wrong to let your passion go mad in the heat of the moment, hate as much as you like between hooters, but let it go after that. Joel and Mick have similar sentiments in the same episode, but probably the best observation of Gabby comes from Ronnie who reminds us how much a world title race without a true villain sucks. Gabby is happy to be that guy, and one day I reckon we’ll all end up loving him for it.

Gerry Lopez goes ice cold on SUPS and says that catching waves might be a bit of fun and all, but padding around on your belly on a surfboard is truly the best thing ever. He also says Arnold Schwarzeneggar can’t build model planes because his fingers are too big.

I ain’t eaten the whole four hours yet. What’s the highlight?Ah, the lament of the modern human is always a lack of time. Let’s cook flesh while the irons are fresh from fire! But talking to Parko a few hours after he won Haleiwa, Bainy and Tom Carroll jiving on how scary Pipeline is, and Gerry Lopez going ice cold on SUPS and saying that catching waves might be a bit of fun and all, but padding around on your belly on a surfboard is truly the best thing ever. He also says Arnold Schwarzeneggar can’t build model planes because his fingers are too big. Man, there are so many gems.

Four hours long! How?
Man, we just love the woozle so much and a world title climax at Pipe is the best because there’s just so much to talk about. And when you have Mick, Joel, TC, Gerry and Bainy on hand you let it roll because every one of those guys have won and lost out there and they all have insane shit to say about it. And most importantly, they’re psyched as fuck surf fans who are stoked out of their minds on the whole show. It’s wild how frothy and into it they are. We could have gone for 24 hours.

Do Mick and Joel phone in?
Ronnie and I interviewed Mick in the White House on the Goldy. If you listen close enough you can hear his dog panting into the mic most of the convo. Parko buzzed in from Hawaii after visiting the Moniz house to celebrate Seth’s qualification. He was with Occy, Dog Marsh and Louie. It was like dialling back in time. Biggest buzz.

Tell me how everyone’s character has evolved in the show, yours, Jed’s, Danny Johnson, Pauly-B etc.
Mate, the only thing that’s really changed is that once upon a time we were talking to 2,000 people an episode and now we’re talking to 20,000. And it’s the sickest thing because we’re just fucking around but maybe that’s how people want to consume surf shit when they’re not in the water themselves? All I know is every single person who listens to our podcast loves surfing as much as we do and judging from the questions they send in they know their shit and love taking the piss as well. Actually, I probably scream and swear way way more than I used to. I might have to tone that down a bit. And Pauly works way harder on all our songs and sound effects than he used to too. Smivvy’s exactly the same; wild fighter for the underdog and a total surf mad lunatic. It’s all just stupid fun.

Is the Swellian Army now…a force?
Oath! Swellians are fucking the gnarliest legends ever. Nobody has a better handle on how fun surfing is. UTFS for life!