Like a story from the Age of Discovery, Stephanie Gilmore is on a quest to find the rare treasure of a World Surf League trophy deep in the jungles of Indonesia.
For the first time on the women’s tour, the world’s best surfers will compete in an event at the isolated G-Land break – a venue that hasn’t featured on the WSL’s top tier since 1997.
It’s a thrilling experience for Gilmore as she ticks off another historic step in women’s surfing history in her 15th year on the world tour.
“It’s such an iconic location … it’s really special that Roxy and Quiksilver were willing to go work with the WSL and I’m sure it’s an absolute nightmare to run an event out here in the jungle but they’ve made it happen,” Gilmore told AAP.
“It’s one of those things now where I’m looking at these new locations and I’m so excited to keep pushing and to keep testing myself in these new waves.
“To be back at these idyllic locations is part of the the lure of why we love being on tour and why we love being professional surfers because it’s the dream tour. That’s what we want.
“Super special that we’re able to have the men and the women here, and for the first time it’s a women’s event too.
“Hopefully, I can get my hands on the trophy. That’d be really cool.”
The G-Land Pro is the first WSL Tour event since the mid-season cut which whittled the field on the women’s tour down to 12 competitors, with Australian veteran Sally Fitzgibbons among those who will miss out on the rest of this year’s events.
Having successfully negotiated the cut, seven-time world champion Gilmore is now fully focused on getting the results she needs to lift herself into the top five in the rankings to compete at the WSL finals in California in September.
“We can sort of sit here and just say this is just a lot of fun to be on a surf trip type of event but we’re all here to push for that final five and make that final event there at Lower Trestles,” she said.
“I had a really bad result there last year, to lose in the first heat was such a bummer.
“So I’ve got some unfinished business over there in California and there’s a lot of work to do before I get to that point.
“I’d like to try again in the finals day and see if I can make it. So to be in that you’ve got to win or be at least in the semis or the finals in every event from here on out.”
The window for the G-Land Pro opens on Saturday.