EVENT: ‘This Is What Sport Is All About!’ Says Steph Gilmore After Win At Corona Open J-Bay
EVENT // 2018 CORONA OPEN J-BAY
2018 IS the year of change. As far as the World Surf League is concerned, as we learned in the on-air convo between CEO Sophie Goldschmidt and Joe Turpel, the WSL are committed to making the men and women’s events equal. They have made significant changes in just a couple of years, but still have a long way to go. (Watch the full convo here).
The women have wrapped up their sixth event overnight as the waves turned up after a week of lay days. Defending world champ Tyler Wright bailed with the flu early which allowed some fun wildcards including local Nicole Pallet, this year’s luckiest injury wildcard Macy Callaghan, local wildcard and former WCT surfer Bianca Buitendag. Silvana Lima also conceded to knee injury during her round one heat.
After the lay day break, the women picked up with round three, which saw similar scenarios to play out to what we’ve seen this year. The world title battle really looks like it will, at this point, come down to a healthy and tight see-saw between Lakey Peterson and Steph Gilmore. That’s exactly how the final at J-Bay played out.
Finals day was a sheer marathon of excellent surfing in great waves at Supertubes as part of the Jeffrey’s Bay stretch of over ten incredible surf sections. Even the dolphins thought so, catching waves with Lakey Peterson in the quarterfinals was magical to watch.
Highlights of finals day were the dynamic strength and agility of Bronte Macaulay, almost landing one of the craziest backhand re-entries of the event. As well we saw Bianca Buitindag’s levelling, showing she’s more and worthy of being back on tour, finishing with a semifinal finish against Lakey.
For Steph Gilmore, the win at J-Bay was significant for a few reasons. She’s been nominated for her third ESPY award as the single professional surfer representative, the win is her 29th since qualifying for the WCT and it is her third event win for 2018.
“I just do not know why I never came here until now,” said Gilmore. “I always felt I’d have some special connection with J-Bay. It is just so much fun and it is just a magical place. The waves are just so powerful and perfect. The sunrises, sunsets, dolphins – it is just never-ending. Thanks to everyone.
“To wait a week and to make sure we were in great conditions is so important for all of us girls. The waves came and all the girls showed up with incredible performances. To come out with the win is crucial knowing that both Lakey (Peterson) and I are so close to each other. This win was crucial to the World Title, so I will take it and I will wrap it.”
“This is what sport is all about,” said Gilmore. “This is what I love about competing – you find yourself in these moments where you are challenged and under pressure. You think, ‘Okay, can I compose myself? Can I rise to the occasion and make it happen?’ That is what the magic of sport and rivalry is. It is nice to be up front again. I’ve been doing the Tour for quite a while and I’ve had a lot of wins, but I just love it. I love performing and seeing if I can do my best. Lakey (Peterson) is getting better and better every single event, so this is definitely not the end by any means,”
The win takes her to the top of the Jeep Leaderboard, just ahead of Lakey, Tatiana, Johanne and Tyler.
Women’s Corona Open J-Bay Final Results:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.24
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.50
Women’s Corona Open J-Bay Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.66 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 9.33
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.67 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 10.33
Women’s Corona Open J-Bay Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 12.33 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 8.90
QF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.83 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.30
QF 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.00 def. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 15.00
QF 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 18.54 def. Sage Erickson (AUS) 10.60
Women’s Corona Open J-Bay Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.40, Johanne Defay (FRA) 14.30, Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.36
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.83, Coco Ho (HAW) 15.10, Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.07
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.50, Sage Erickson (USA) 11.57, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.04
Heat 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 15.40, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 13.34, Caroline Marks (USA) 12.76
2018 Women’s WSL CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Corona Open J-Bay):
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 45,575 pts
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 43,430 pts
3 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 35,245 pts
4 – Johanne Defay (FRA) 27,050 pts
5 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 26,190 pts
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.