Rage against the machine.
Surf fans do not generally agree on much. The World Surf League Championship Tour is either too long or not long enough. There are either too many surfers or not enough. Kelly Slater either should have retired a decade ago or should surf until he’s seventy. The judging either rewards floaters too highly or not highly enough. The only area of universal agreement is that Surf Ranch is not an appropriate place to host an event. Or, rather, Surf Ranch is not an appropriate place to host an event and Stephanie Gilmore is absolutely without reproach.
The eight-time world champion is as graceful as she is stylish, and charming as brave. Her ability, tenacity, dignity all 10 out of 10. When she speaks we all listen and she just spoke to Stellar magazine, telling honest truths about the sometimes nasty surf industry.
Gilmore, who appears on the cover surfing in a yellow sundress, declared, “For my first eight years on tour, my pay was probably $12,000 to the men’s $40,000. But I didn’t question it because all I wanted to do was surf,” adding later that (the surf industry) can be a tough place for women to not feel intimidated” and “Yes, there were moments where I felt pressure as an up-and-coming surfer to look good in a bikini and to have that hot beach-girl vibe. But I’ve watched other female athletes like Serena Williams be fierce and feminine, and I feel like the older I get, I realise how fun it is to embrace both sides.”
The $12,000 to men’s $40,000 is truly egregious and it is a fine thing that it is now all fixed up. The early pressure she felt to have that “hot beach-girl vibe” is also unfortunate and should have been layered onto Mick Lowe instead.
Gilmore perfect just the way she is.