Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore has won the J-Bay World Surf League event in South Africa to take the lead in the world rankings.
In a marathon day of competition, Gilmore took down America’s Lakey Peterson 14.24 to 11.50 in the final after beating Brazilian Tatiana Weston-Webb in the semi-finals.
The six-times world champion claimed first women’s event hosted at Jeffreys Bay since 2000.
The win was Gilmore’s third of the season in her first event in South Africa.
“I just do not know why I never came here until now,” she said
“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.
“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.”
Gilmore’s event almost ended in the quarter-finals earlier on Friday when she and countrywoman Bronte Macaulay both earned a 15.00 heat total – with the veteran advancing because she had earned the higher single-wave score, with an 8.00.
Gilmore and Peterson both had two wins to their names this season and victory for the 30-year-old Australian puts her ahead of the American on the overall leaderboard by 2,145 points.
“This is what sport is all about,” Gilmore said.
“This is what I love about competing – you find yourself in these moments where you are challenged and under pressure.
“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.”