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Stephanie Gilmore revelation sends shock waves through surfing world

The eight-time world champion has announced she is stepping away from professional surfing in 2024.

Pictured Stephanie Gilmore
Eight-time surfing world champion Stephanie Gilmore has announced she is stepping away from the professional circuit to focus on her physical and mental health. Image: Getty

Eight-time surfing world champion Stephanie Gilmore has announced she is stepping away from professional competition to focus on her physical and mental health. The 35-year-old surfing star says while she won't compete in the World Surf League (WSL) championship tour season this year, she intends to return in 2025.

The Aussie revealed that she has been promised by the WSL a wildcard for the 2025 championship tour, which means if she chooses to return she can. "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.

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"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."

SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 8: (L-R) Seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore of Australia and Filipe Toledo of Brazil after winning the World Title at the Rip Curl WSL Finals on September 8, 2022 at San Clemente, California. (Photo by Pat Nolan/World Surf League via Getty Images)
Stephanie Gilmore and Filipe Toledo after winning the World Title at the Rip Curl WSL Finals in 2022. Image: Getty (Pat Nolan via Getty Images)

The decision also means Gilmore will not compete at the upcoming Olympics. However, an Olympic tilt was never guaranteed with the likes of Sally Fitzgibbons providing stiff competition for a third Australian spot. Mollie Picklum and Tyler Wright have already secured a spot at the Games.

Gilmore's call to step away from the sport comes days after defending Olympic champion and long-time rival Carissa Moore decided to step back from the WSL circuit. However, Moore will still compete in Hawaii's season-opener and the Olympics.

World Surf League throws support behind Stephanie Gilmore

WSL chief of sport Jessi Miley-Dyer says she fully supports Gilmore's decision to step away, having competed on the championship tour since 2007. "While we will miss Steph's presence on the CT this season, we wholeheartedly support her decision to take this time for herself," Miley-Dyer said.

"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."

In her career, Gilmore has accumulated a record 33 championship tour event wins and won a record-breaking eighth world title in 2022. Last season she earned seven top-five event finishes.

- with AAP

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