Today during the Women’s Oi Rio Pro final in Saquarema, Brazil, Stephanie Gilmore stuck to what she knows best–and that’s quality frontside surfing. Not surprising considering the regular-footer’s forehand attack has been groomed on the long, right points of Australia’s Gold Coast. Doubling down on her strength, she somehow found a couple of inside rights to get the job done. Fellow finalist Lakey Peterson, who was hot on Gilmore’s heels in the rankings going into the heat, stuck to hunting down the outside lefts, which were unfortunately rendered burgery by the incoming tide. Ultimately, Gilmore’s waves were more rail-work friendly for the win.

“I’ve been trying to get a victory in Brazil for a long time,” Gilmore said on the podium, about her first ever win in Rio. In the post-heat interview, the six-time world champ expressed her renewed drive, “I love competing, it's such a great challenge to be out there and to have this stage to perform on. I've been doing this for a while but it never gets old. It's so cool to feel nervous and freaked out and challenged.” Gilmore unabashedly claimed that she wants the title this year, “really bad.”

Gilmore also admitted that she’s working on improving her backside surfing. “I want to do airs like Filipe [Toledo- who happened to drop a lofty backside hammer of a reverse earlier in the day],” said Gilmore.”If I ever do an air like Filipe’s I’d probably retire straight away.” Regardless, her backside surfing development will have to wait, because the next tour stop is the Balinese right-hander Keramas, which will commence on May 27th. Congrats Steph!

The Oi Rio Pro finalists and current world #1 and #2, Stephanie Gilmore (left) and Lakey Peterson (right). The smile on their faces is making the commentators’ rivalry narrative a hard-sell. Photo: Miller