Film offers a rare glimpse of Stephanie Gilmore’s life

WAVE OF SUCCESS: Five-time world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore.
WAVE OF SUCCESS: Five-time world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore. Morgan Maassen

"LIFE could not get any better, and then the universe just flipped upside down."

A rare and intimate glimpse into the life of world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore will be revealed tonight at the Byron Bay screening of the documentary, Stephanie in the Water, charting the darkest times of the young surfer's career - and her return to champion status.

Described by Gilmore as an "intimate portrait of a young girl who is a world champion surfer", the film, by Ava Warbrick, daughter of Rip Curl co-founder Doug "Claw" Warbrick, follows Gilmore over three years from 2009-2012.

The film covers the hardest period of Gilmore's life, when a violent turn of events in 2010 abruptly ended her winning streak and left her unable to enter the water for six weeks, which in turn led to her losing the 2011 ASP Women's World Championship Tour.

The young Tweed Heads surfer has been world champion five times and is now one of three Aussies vying for the coveted surfing world crown this year in Maui.

It is this gritty determination to regain her title that provides the inspiration behind the "fly on the wall" style film, and Gilmore said she was only a "little nervous" at people's response.

"I truly love the film myself, so that's all that matters to me. (The film) is very genuine to me and my personality," she said.

The documentary's old-school style of filming on 16mm was a "direct nod to surf filmmakers who have not only come from the surf heyday of the 1960s, but also from my years as a teen in the 1990s," filmmaker Ava Warbrick said.

Five time world champion surfer, Stephanie Gilmore and director of 'Stephanie in the Water', Ava Warbrick.
Five time world champion surfer, Stephanie Gilmore and director of 'Stephanie in the Water', Ava Warbrick. Contributed


  • Stephanie Louise Gilmore is five-time world champion on the Women's ASP World Tour (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012)
  • Born in Murwillumbah, January 29, 1988
  • Resides in Tweed Heads
  • First started to surf aged 10
  • She appeared nude in ESPN's 2011 "Body Issue"
  • Stephanie in the Water
  • Screens tonight only at the Byron Theatre at 7pm
  • Steph and Ava will both be at the show for Q&A straight after the screening
  • Limited tickets. Go to

Topics:  editors picks stephanie gilmore surfing

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