Gilmore takes Bells Beach surfing crown
Posted on 12/17/18 5:03 PM
n surfer Stephanie Gilmore has won her fourth Bells Beach title.Anyone who’s lost their wallet, only to have it handed back a few minutes later, knows how Stephanie Gilmore felt on Thursday at Bells Beach.
With seconds left in the women’s Rip Curl Pro final, the n surfing great took a calculated risk and gave up wave priority to Hawaiian opponent Tatiana Weston-Webb.
Gilmore looked on from the line-up with that growing sense of dread in the pit of her stomach as Weston-Webb clearly ended the final with a solid score.
Weston-Webb needed 6.80 to win and clapped in anticipation as she returned to the beach.
But then the judges’ scores came through – 6.57.
“Of course I was stressing … of course it was a silly mistake,” Gilmore said.
“That was a crazy way to finish a final, I think I chewed off all my fingernails.
“I had faith … if she needed a 6.40 I for sure would have stressed.”
Gilmore won her fourth title at Bells Beach the six-time world champion also is the new world No.1
“Yeah I like yellow – yellow is nice,” she said of the tour leader’s jersey.
Gilmore and Weston-Webb hugged after the final and while disappointed, the Hawaiian was also rapt to come so close to an epic win.
“It’s not like my heart being ripped out of my chest, because I’m so happy, but it was a little bit of a letdown, of course,” she said.
“A final at Bells with Stephanie was a dream come true.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more … except for a win.
“It was really close, but it was OK.”
Gilmore is the first n winner of the women’s title at Bells since 2012 and she most recently rang the iconic Bell trophy in 2010.
Earlier on Thursday, Gilmore also had a riveting semi-final against 16-year-old American rising star Caroline Marks.
Marks still had the lead with less than five minutes left but Gilmore unleashed a 9.07 wave score.
The American prodigy then had one last chance to regain the lead but wiped out.
Gilmore, 30, last won the world title in 2014 and she is one behind compatriot Layne Beachley, who holds the women’s record of seven.
“I thrive on this stuff. I love competing and the stress and the nerves. It’s cool,” Gilmore said.
“Last year I started the season with a win and I kind of let off the gas. I think I got too relaxed. It was a good lesson.”