Slater, Gilmore Dominate World Surfing League Awards
Veteran champions win top honors
Surfers Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore were honored by the World Surfing League on Wednesday at the annual WSL Awards in Coolangatta, Australia, according to Surfer Today.
The award for Best Heat went to Slater and John John Florence in honor of their matchup in the Billabong Pro Tahiti last August. The two surfers each performed at an outstandingly high level and tied with near-perfect scores in the semifinals, necessitating a tiebreaker, which Slater narrowly won.
“The pinnacle of pro surfing for me is to have a heat against this guy in big barrels,” Slater said in an interview with Surfing Magazine following the competition. “It’s easy for me to say, ‘cause I won the heat, but I think in a few years, we’ll probably be like, ‘That’s cool. We tied.’”
The award for Women’s World Champion was handed to Australian Stephanie Gilmore in acknowledgement of her performances at the Cascais Women’s Pro in October, the Swatch Women’s Pro in September, and the Roxy Pro Gold Coast in March. The 27-year-old surfer, whom Outside profiled in February, took first place at all three events and won her sixth world surfing title in November, according to the Guardian.
“The level of talent on tour has never been higher, and the surfing has never been more exciting,” Gilmore said during her acceptance speech on Wednesday, according to the WSL website. “To come away with a win in that kind of environment was incredibly rewarding on a personal level.”