Stephanie Gilmore
Stephanie Gilmore is taking a break from surfing's world championship tour this season. Image by HANDOUT/WORLD SURF LEAGUE
  • surfing

Eight-time champion Gilmore to take year-long WSL break

Murray Wenzel January 24, 2024

Eight-time surfing world champion Stephanie Gilmore has announced she is taking a break from full-time competition in the upcoming World Surf League championship tour season.

However, the 35-year-old Australian superstar says she intends to return next year and the WSL says she will receive the wildcard for the 2025 championship tour, ensuring she can do so.

The move officially rules Gilmore out of a second Olympic campaign in Tahiti later this year.

Although an Olympic tilt was never likely with Sally Fitzgibbons firming as the third Australian women’s entrant – behind the already-qualified Mollie Picklum and Tyler Wright – should they secure an extra quota spot with victory at next month’s World Surfing Games.

Stephani Gilmore.
 Stephanie Gilmore plans to pursue other projects this year on a hiatus from tour competition. Image by HANDOUT/WORLD SURF LEAGUE 

“I am planning to take this time as a refresh for myself physically, mentally, and enjoy following swells and free surfing in new places,” Gilmore said.

“I have some projects and trips I want to do, which haven’t been possible while travelling during the season.

“I am still passionate and dedicated to competing, and I have goals and dreams that I am still chasing.

“I’m excited for this year to activate those and I look forward to returning in 2025.”

Steph Gilmore
 Gilmore plans to return in 2025, seeking to add to her record eighth world title won in 2022. Image by HANDOUT/WORLD SURF LEAGUE 

WSL chief of sport Jessi Miley-Dyer backed Gilmore’s decision to step away, having started competing on the championship tour back in 2007.

“While we will miss Steph’s presence on the CT this season, we wholeheartedly support her decision to take this time for herself,” said Miley-Dyer.

“Steph’s influence on surfing and sport has been profound, inspiring countless people around the world.

“We eagerly await her return in 2025, where she will be welcomed back with the season wildcard, ready to continue her incredible legacy.”

Gilmore has accumulated a record 33 championship tour event wins and won her record-breaking eighth world title in 2022.

She earned seven top-five event finishes last season.

Gilmore’s decision follows a similar announcement from defending Olympic champion Carissa Moore, a long-time rival, who will step back from the WSL but still compete in Hawaii’s season-opener and the Olympics.