From the bluff overlooking a firing swell roping into Honolua Bay this afternoon, Stephanie Gilmore clinched her seventh World Title. She watched on as wildcard Alana Blanchard eliminated the only threat to it, Lakey Peterson, during Round 2 as her friends, fellow competitors and coach cheered at the sound of the hooter. Gilmore dug her yellow jersey out of the back of a car, put it on and made her way to the interview area, champagne in hand.

“This is, just, I don't know, I was not expecting this right now. I just went home to chill out and get ready for battle,” said Gilmore, the newly crowned 7x World Champ Most weren’t expecting the title race to end the way it did either. Peterson, who had competed fiercely all year long, and was expected to continue to give Gilmore an unrelenting run for her money, struggled to find a rhythm in her heat. Wildcard Blanchard surfed with what seemed like a renewed energy and commanded the heat with her turns and barrel-riding prowess. The Beachwaver Maui Pro is Blanchard’s first contest in over a year since taking a sabbatical to give birth to her son. “Oh my gosh, Alana just went to town,” Gilmore said about the heat. “Then I was feeling nervous for Lakey, myself. That was intense. Oh my gosh, I can't believe it.”

Throughout this season, Gilmore’s been repeatedly vocal about her commitment to gunning for a seventh title. She hired Jake Paterson as her coach and her performances at each event backed up her stated intentions to win. Her choked-up responses to Barton Lynch’s post-title interview questions proved she’s still passionate about putting on a jersey and smashing heats.

With teary eyes, Gilmore dedicated this World Title win to the late Pierre Agnes, the French CEO of Quiksilver who’s been missing at sea since January, 2018.

SURFER Magazine congratulates Gilmore on her seventh World Title, which ties her with Layne Beachley’s record.

Stay tuned for a detailed report from all the wild surfing that went down today in Hawaii.