SAN CLEMENTE, California/USA (Monday, March 18, 2013) -Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, five-time ASP Women’s World Champion, is touted by many as one of the most stylish surfers of all time. From her grace and poise in the water to her style on land, Gilmore has established a presence as one of the most unique icons of her generation. Recently SURFER Magazine sat down with Steph to talk about style and femininity. This… is their story…
You’re consistently recognized as one of the most stylish surfers—man or woman—in the sport. How would you define good style?
I think style is someone’s confidence in their own personality and confidence in the way they approach a wave. There is no hesitating, no second-guessing what maneuver will lead into the next. It’s the composition of grace and power. It’s everything all mixed together, and style is the way it’s sewn together. But I love that there are so many different styles out there—some are aggressive and some are more feminine, some are beautiful to watch, and some are way more assertive. But that’s cool, that’s punk. It’s sort of like different genres in music. When I think of the word “style” the first people that pop into mind are Tom Curren, Lisa Anderson, Dave Rastovich, Kelly Slater, and Joel Parkinson—people who have flow and grace.
Do you think style is something you can consciously change?
I definitely think style is a natural thing. I feel like you’re born with a certain style and you can change things here and there and work on technique, but I think the most beautiful styles are the ones that people have been born with, where from Day One they have that intuition and are going for that feeling rather than some technical aspect.
In competition, how much do you think that someone’s style dictates scoring?
Put it this way: Human beings love to watch something that is beautiful, something that is pleasant to the eye. I think you’ll find that, yeah, a lot of times it affects judging. When the judges are watching someone, they can see the difference between a surfer who is aggressively, tactically doing things on a wave compared to someone who is spontaneously going for that feeling. It’s a different approach, but I think that having nice style and being pleasant to watch is still important and the judges definitely enjoy that. I mean, they’re watching surfing all day, they want to watch something appealing to the eye. The most powerful word when I think of style is grace—I mean, even the most sexy male surfers have that grace.