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Stephanie Gilmore is due to return to the sport competitively in 2025.
Surfing is about to experience a seismic change in 2024 as two of the standard-bearers of the sport are stepping away from the board and waves.
Eight-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore is taking a break from competitive surfing – for a year, at least.
Australian Gilmore, widely regarded as the greatest female surfer of all time, announced that she won’t be competing in the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour season, instead focusing on enjoying other things in life.
“I am planning to take this time as a refresh for myself physically, mentally, and enjoy following swells and free surfing in new places,” Gilmore said in a statement released by the WSL.
“I have some projects and trips I want to do, which haven’t been possible while traveling during the season. I am still passionate and dedicated to competing, and I have goals and dreams that I am still chasing – I’m excited for this year to activate those and I look forward to returning in 2025.”
The news comes just days after Team USA Olympic champion and five time world champion Carissa Moore announced she was stepping away from the sport after she defends her Olympic gold at Paris 2024.
“I don’t like the word retirement,” she told the New York Times on January 19. “I like to say a departure from the tour, or just stepping back, or switching gears, or, like, evolving.”
The surfers’ absence will surely shake things up, leaving space for the next generation of competitors: between them, Gilmore and Moore have won 13 out of the last 16 world championships since 2006.
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Carissa Moore still plans to compete in Oahu and Tahiti for the Olympics before stepping away from the sport for good.
“All those wins, the competitive part that’s so much of my identity, I’m taking that away, and I’m facing myself this year,” Moore told the Times. “And that’s scary. Like, who am I? Am I going to be OK? Will I be able to love myself and think that I’m worthy without this?
“I’m excited to see what else there is, outside the jersey,” Moore, who still plans to compete in the World Surf League’s season-opening event at Banzai Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore and in Tahiti for the Olympics, said.