July 13, 2018 6pm World Surf League
Author: Ali Shrode
There was a full week of lay days at the women's Corona Open J-Bay before the action picked up again in round three, and luckily the wait was worth it.
The women arrived on site this morning in the dark, eagerly waiting for the sun to come up. When it did, perfect J-Bay lines stretched to the horizon and the day was completed in double-overhead conditions with the women seeing the best waves of the event.
Women's J-Bay Final: Gilmore is the New World No. 1
Stephanie Gilmore tops Lakey Peterson to regain the leader's jersey.
Going into the event, Gilmore's style seemed to be the perfect pairing with the long walls on offer at J-Bay. She also declared her affection for the place as, "love at first sight." Known as the queen of style and flow on Tour, there were a lot of expectations placed on Steph especially as this was her first time surfing Supers.
But her performance on Friday wasn't all dominant.Gilmore struggled to find her rhythm during the first few heats of the day. In the Quarterfinals, the Australian narrowly made it past Bronte Macaulay. The two both earned a 15.00 heat total but because Gilmore earned the higher single-wave score, with an 8.00, she advanced.
"I think I was just stressing too much about everything," Gilmore said when asked about her slow start. "Everyone was telling me that this is my wave, this is my place. And then I saw Lakey smash it and get huge scores ... so I started thinking that maybe this isn't my wave."
Post-Win Interview: Gilmore Soaks Up J-Bay Win
After reclaiming the No. 1 spot on the rankings, her advice to young surfers? "Have fun, because this is a hell of a life."
Luckily for Gilmore, she clicked into gear right when she needed to. The six-time World Champ defeated an in-form Lakey Peterson in the Final, taking back the Jeep Leader Jersey. The Australian now has 45,575 points and Peterson with 43,430.
"It's been really fun to battle back and forth with Steph," said Peterson. "She's won most of the Final match-ups we've been in. I've gotta start winning some of these soon."
"It's nice to be a part of a rivalry again," said Gilmore. "Rivals are what make this sport exciting and beautiful. I get inspired by great rivals."