Switched-on Gilmore wins Oi Rio Pro
STEPHANIE Gilmore steamrolled through four opponents on Thursday, including fellow Australian Sally Fitzgibbons, to win the Oi Rio Women's Pro surf event in Rio de Janeiro and extend her world championship lead.
On track to win the title for the first time since 2014, Gilmore admits to having been"half-hearted" at times in recent years on the World Surf League tour but says those days are over.
The six-time world champion scored 6.43 and 5.10 to take the win over American Lakey Peterson, who landed a 3.67 and 4.33.
If she does win the title again she'll equal the women's record of seven, which is held by Australian surfing legend Layne Beachley.
"I've been trying to get a victory in Brazil for a long time ... I've been doing this for a while but it never gets old," Gilmore said.
"I just want it. I want it really bad and that is what it takes. It feels good. I just love competing.
"It is such a good challenge to be out there and to have this stage to perform on is really special. I've been doing this for a while but it never gets old. This is just the beginning."
She said she has undergone a recent attitude change and it had helped her pile up the victories on Thursday over Fitzgibbons, Caroline Marks, Nikki Van Dijk and Peterson in the final.
"For a few years there I was sort of half-hearted with things and I realised that you can't be that way if you want to win," said Gilmore.
"You have to have the eye of the tiger, you have to want to win, and you have to be fierce and committed to these things."
Meanwhile, in the men's event, Julian Wilson won his fourth-round heat against America Kolohe Andino and Kanoa Igarashi of Japan.
The Australian meets Brazil's Michael Rodriguez in the next round.
Aussie rookie Wade Carmichael scored an upset win in his heat when he and Yago Dora of Brazil advanced ahead of Hawaii's reigning WSL champion, John-John Florence.