Athletes by PAGE Magazine April 28, 2020
When I got the opportunity to hang out with a world-class championship pro surfer, a part of me was itching to find out all I could about surfing, and her home, Australia.
Waves and sharks popped up in my mind, and I had some curiosity about the origin of UGGs and the array of remarkably beautiful influencers occupying coastlines.
But another thing that popped up in my mind was the condition of the oceans that surfers occupy and if ocean plastics were becoming more of an issue, coastally and worldwide.
There always seems to be a new source of ocean plastic, going back to the beginning of the past decade. Currently, ocean plastics are becoming like an unnatural-natural resource that can be harvested from oceans and beaches around the globe.
This got me thinking of how, if any, do surfers care to be stylish on open water or dry land, knowing the impact fashion has overall.
Professional surfer, Roxy sponsored athlete, guitarist, environmentalist, and Australian cool-kid, Stephanie Gilmore is leading the way to the 2021 Olympics. Surfing will be premiered for the first time in Tokyo.
She has been making waves since the tender age of 19 in the pro-surfing circuit and is now living a dream while supporting many eco-friendly efforts of various nonprofits and organizations.
She is an influencer of surf culture and people around the world, especially in her Pacific island region.
“I FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL AND WENT STRAIGHT ON TO THE QUALIFYING SERIES AND QUALIFIED STRAIGHTAWAY. AND SO I WAS ON THE WORLD TOUR AT 19 YEARS OF AGE. IT WAS MY FIRST YEAR, AND I WON THE WORLD TITLE AS A ROOKIE, AND I WON IT EVERY YEAR FOR THE FIRST FOUR YEARS. THEN AT THE END OF 2010, I HAD THIS INCIDENT, WHICH WAS A BIT OF A HURDLE.”
“I HAD A BROKEN WRIST AND A FEW DIFFERENT INJURIES AND SOME EMOTIONAL TRAUMA. IT TOOK ME A GOOD YEAR TO REALLY RECOVER FROM THAT. IN 2012, I WAS ABLE TO COME BACK AND WIN THE TITLE AGAIN. I SORT OF BEEN OFF SINCE THEN. I’D WIN A TITLE AND THEN I FEEL LIKE IT TAKES ME A YEAR TO GO BY TO FINISH PARTYING.”
Stephanie has recently spent time on hiatus from the surfing scene. She’s usually traveling and photographing her views from coastlines around the world.
For her, sustainable ideas were far from her daily routine but her livelihood is set in one of the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet, the ocean. Besides balancing on a board, she has realized the balance needed for fashion and the ecosystems of the world to co-exist.
What is evident is the ravaging fires Australia has experienced earlier in the year. The oceans that are swooshing used consumer plastics and other trash from continent to continent, coastline to coastline, ending up in places like Bali, whose infrastructure can’t handle the influx of the trash.
“I THINK NOW IT’S A BIG MOVEMENT. WHICH IS COOL FOR SURFERS! DIVING STRAIGHT INTO SUSTAINABILITY – SURFING IS A PERFECT CANDIDATE FOR THAT BECAUSE WE ACTUALLY LIVE THERE EVERY DAY.”
Born, raised, and living in New South Wales, Australia, and spending time in Malibu during the off-season, this happy-go-lucky girl has been carving a path of her own and celebrating her success around every turn.
As a Roxy sponsored, seven-time world champion athlete, living most of her life on the surface of the ocean, she is avid about their brand’s functionality in design, but more impressed at the eco-friendly production and finish of the garments.
She is honored to be considered cool enough for fashion placement, but she has goals that come with that.
“THERE’S A LITTLE MORE GOING ON THAN JUST TRYING TO BE AN INFLUENCER. I THINK THE MAIN THING, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US IS THAT I WANT TO USE MY PLATFORM TO SPEAK ABOUT THE ISSUES AND THINGS THAT AREN’T GOING TO JUST GROW MY FOLLOWING BUT TEACH MY FOLLOWING.”
“I WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS THAT I’M TRYING TO INFLUENCE PEOPLE ON. AND I THINK THAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR A LOT OF INFLUENCERS TO STOP AND ASK THEMSELVES THOSE QUESTIONS. LIKE, ‘WHAT ARE YOU ACTUALLY TRYING TO TELL ME? WHAT STORY ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME?’”
Roxy swimwear is particularly favored by Stephanie as she can find everything she needs for surfing in any condition while knowing that the brand is countering the effects of human consumption with their Pop Surf Collection.
Roxy makes everything a surfer needs like sarongs, slides, towels, and even poncho towels with hoods, which makes changing at the beach more accessible.
They have everything covered for a surfer with suits for every condition like when the waters are warm but the wind is chilly. Maybe just a vest when it’s a bit warmer or full suit when the weather is colder.
You can watch Stephanie in the latest surfing visuals from the Convicts production house in Electric Wave, featuring two other surfing greats, Coco Ho and Leah Dawson.
“Electric Wave is half surf-film, half arthouse-cinema and all futuristic. Featuring seven-time World Surf League Champion, Steph Gilmore, in addition to the young star Coco Ho and legendary free surfer, Leah Dawson, Electric Wave celebrates sustainability and progression within and beyond the surf world.”
Look out for this article on PAGE magazine.