5 QUESTIONS: With 2008 Rip Curl Pro Mademoiselle Champ Steph Gilmore

After your long hiatus from the tour, how was it to be back in competition mode?

I think the first round was a little rusty on everyone's behalf, but once we had one heat under our belts, the fire was there and then the focus and competitive natures really kicked in.

You scored almost a perfect 20 in Round 3! Did you just get lucky, or do you think that your travels and time off to freesurf have got you really on your game?

I was definitely feeling fresh and happy with the amount of things I got to work on in the time off, and I think sometimes that's exactly what athletes need to fire up again and get back on your game, but the waves in this event were small little right-handers and I guess that just suits my surfing well.

Lee Ann Curren, after just having won the Junior's event, is knocking out seasoned CTers. Will you just talk a bit about her skill level and her future on the WCT?

Lee Ann is an insane little surfer and she's really starting to discover more of that "Curren magic" within her wave knowledge and positioning, so I'm sure she's going to have a great year on the WQS soon and be joining the ASP Women's World Tour ready to kick some butt.

What went down the final day?

Finals day was long but fun; the waves got even smaller and we didn't start the event until midday, and it seemed to get better as the tide came in. LeeAnn was killing it and helping out my world-title campaign [by knocking out Sofia Mulanovich] (laughs) and then it came down to Layne and myself in the Final. The waves stopped breaking so we waited until 7 p.m. to run the Final (I had dinner and then returned for the final) and once I got past Silvana in the Semi, my confidence was pretty much too high to lose to anyone. So I won (laughs)…and then we ruled the latin dance festival in the center of Rockfood like it's never seen before!

The next event is is Brazil. How should people adjust their fantasy surfer teams—who do you think will do well, given the wave and how the girls have been surfing?

Well I'm sure all the girls that have done well here will be dangerous in Rio too. Silvana, Sofia, Jaquie Silva, Bartels, Layne, Jessi….the usual suspects.