Steph Gilmore win J'Bay, takes ratings lead

JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa (Friday, July 13, 2018) - Today, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) won the Corona Open J-Bay, Stop No. 6 on World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), in pumping four-to-seven foot (1.3 - 2.3 metre) conditions at the world-renowned Supertubes. 

In a marathon day of competition, Gilmore took down Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Final,Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) in the Semifinals, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) in the Quarterfinals, and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in Round 3 to claim the win at the women’s first CT event hosted at Jeffreys Bay in almost 20 years. 

The Corona Open J-Bay win for Gilmore marks her record 29th CT victory and her third in the 2018 season (Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Oi Rio Pro). In her first-time visiting and competing in South Africa, the six-time WSL Champion made herself at home at Jeffreys Bay with stunning performances. 

“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.” 

Ahead of today, Finalists Gilmore and Peterson both had two CT wins to their respective 2018 Title campaigns. The J-Bay win would determine who would take the lead in the World Title race and the coveted Jeep Leader Jersey heading into the back half of the season. Gilmore’s  2.74-point lead over the American now puts her ahead on the Jeep Leaderboard by 2,145 points. 

“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,”

Although she fell short in the Final, Peterson dropped some massive scores and was consistent throughout the event. During the second heat of the morning, Peterson earned a 9.00 (out of a possible 10) to kick-start her campaign. She then went on to eliminate wildcard and local favoriteBianca Buitendag (ZAF) in the Semifinals. Peterson now sits at World No. 2 heading to into the Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch. 

Lakey Peterson of USA. Credit: © WSL /  Tostee

“Today was a great day,” said Peterson. “I am so stoked the WSL waited so we could get these waves, and thank you to the local community for letting us have these waves at your beautiful break. I know it is not easy sitting on the beach all day watching us. This year has just felt super fun for me and I am just enjoying myself. To make the podium here is a dream. Steph (Gilmore) and I are so back and forth this year and it is just making the back half of the year that much more exciting.”

Event wildcard Buitendag went toe-to-toe with Peterson in Semifinal 1. Peterson started early with a solid 7.67 on her opening ride and continued to improve with a 7.83. The South African had the crowd to their feet throughout the heat as she attempted big maneuvers but was unable to meet the required scores, The wildcard, although recovering from a back injury, shined throughout this event and eliminated Coco Ho (HAW) in the Quarterfinals for a 3rd place finish.

“I am going to go straight to do some work on my back,” said Buitendag. “It locked up a lot and I am going to focus on it for the next three-to-four weeks. It has been a struggle for me for a really long time and it seems to be getting worse and worse, so I want to go figure it out.”

The second Semifinal featured WSL Title contenders Gilmore and Weston-Webb fighting for a spot in the Final. Gilmore locked in series of big turns to open with an 8.17 and a 7.50. Weston-Webb lost her rhythm in her third heat of the day and was unable to complete her rides. Having already scored a near-perfect 9.77 (out of a possible 10) in her previous heat, the Brasilian was not to be counted out with ten mins remaining. But with time running out, Weston-Webb did not meet the 8.84 requirement and finished with her 5th Top 3 result this year to maintain her World No. 3 position. 

2018 CT Rookie Caroline Marks (USA) was eliminated in Heat 4 of Round 3 by fellow goofy-footers Weston-Webb and Macaulay. The American will now focus her attention on the Vans US Open of Surfing, Stop No. 7 on the women’s CT. 

“It is going to be so nice to go home for a little while and be with my family,” Marks said. “I actually really like Huntington. It is such a fun wave. I love beach breaks, and it will be really nice to go left. The Vans US Open is going to be a really fun event and hopefully, I can take that one out. I feed off of the crowd and just want to impress everyone. It is going to be an exciting event and I am really looking forward to it.”

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


SurferSam's picture
SurferSam's picture
SurferSam Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 11:08am

Man I love Stephs surfing. That style is like butter.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 11:16am

Excellent wrap! Monumental parade of Sealife & Waves and first rate surfing.
Big J Bay was being belted by the Chix ...Bigger the wave the better the surfing.
Tatiana's monster backhand assault in Quarter Finals was mindblowing. (A must see!)

Our hometown girl power team of Steph & Swellnet truly deserved winners.
Win! Win! for Surfchix & Swellnet live action fans...Best comp & waves of 2018!

[factcheck] Swellnet webcast cutout thru final then resumed in wrap. Webcast Wars?
Final was held in fading conditions as scores reflect ! WSL cross was fine... All ended well !

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 12:12pm

Pott's wholly agrees with SurferSam & so do I ...Steph easily Queen/King of Power Style.
No man on the tour can surf those top rad lines so smooth... not even Parko.

A crying shame that Judges are rewarding style less each day.
Her rad "S carve" is the coolest smoothest perfected power turn in surfing today.

Steph scores 1.5 higher for her standard cutties/ floaters/re entries than her insane carves.
Judges can't fathom how Steph mixed super rad with super cool. (We don't do that here!)

The champ has to dumb down to standard rad moves to compete on same level. Not fair!
Note: Steph toned down power carves towards the finals...Give the judges an even chance!
Steph has perfected old school..So easy none else can do it & Judges aren't buying it!
They say life is tough at the top ...this being a case in point.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 12:28pm

Smooth as silk tbb

ojackojacko's picture
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ojackojacko Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 12:34pm

steph is a legend. unreal to watch her on that wave - also lakey and tatiana. bronte macaulay is going to be a serious contender in tbe coming years

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 5:29pm

4 to 7ft. There is no such thing as a 7ft wave.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 10:42am

Thanks goofyfoot but smooth talkers were higher up the seafood chain.
Local J bay Pros/competitors commentating on judging of Steph's Swoop...

Prior to Semi Finals: Steph masks her take on the circus...
"Judges like the repetitive backhand slaps" adding they do look good.
Judges alternatively like natural foot mix up combo adding as surfed by Lakey
Steph said it's tough as she wants to wrap & barrel with the flow of J Bay.

Read that how you like! I say she's giving judges a wake up call. No Yo-Yo @ Classic J Bay.
Contest arena seemed well shortened compared to line-up...bookends Corona Beach Bar.
In every way possible Steph's grace thru the J Bay lineup was being cartooned by WSL.

Local Pros calling Steph's Semi Final... Describing Steph's monster Swoop of the day!

Rosy : "So Tough to do...If that is Technically the best surfing your gonna see...
...and no one else can do that type of surfing then it has to be rewarded !"
Score will be in Excellent range...

Pottz : Someone laying down turns that big you gotta throw them some big numbers...
Don't You!... It's gonna be pretty Big!

WSL Judges : Pretty Big Excellent score for Monster Swoop of the day is.....7.1
The day the circus came to town.

kanethomas86's picture
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kanethomas86 Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 9:15pm

your comments are very hard to read

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 12:46pm

I love the way Steph surfs but i think she needs to lay off the' fun boards' for a while , at times you can see she goes into morning of the earth mode,thinks shes cruising on a twin fin in mexico or something and as for Lakey ,well she is probably the best womens surfer i have seen when shes doing those big wraps,just needs to build her confidence and strengthen her approach in ordinary waves....future world title holder for sure...maybe this year.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Monday, 6 Aug 2018 at 1:44pm

U.S Surfing 'Crawl of Fame' this week inducted Steph as "Woman of The Year"
Settle down lads...Cooly kid... brother Mick also scored "Champion of the Year"

Sideshow U.S. Open just wrapped up with Steph finishing runner up to CC.
'Just saying CC' was injured most of the season. Rosy's gossip girls will get a second wind.
Steph gingerly ladders her WSL Ranking lead over nearest rival Lakey (Quarter Finalist)
Femlin ladder so thoughtfully provided Swellnet remains unchanged at the top...

Steph...53,375 ('Happiest' in her 'her' Yellow)
Lakey...48,175 ( Tracing Steph's Footsteps)
Tatiana 38,330( Hold'n out for some left of centre bombs)
Tyler sadly drops from the 5...

(WSL OZ Chix have cemented their pillar in Oz Sport)
Swellnetonians salute Steph. Surf Queen's accolades may fuel the fire of sister Oz surfers.
Swellnet Crew wish to gift a pack of Razzamatazz sealegs! Ladder them all you like!

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 12:06pm