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Stephanie Gilmore wins seventh surfing world title, ties record

World Surf League Surf Ranch Open

LEMOORE, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: Stephanie Gilmore of Australia looks on during the women’s qualifying round of the World Surf League Surf Ranch Pro on September 7, 2018 in Lemoore, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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Australian Stephanie Gilmore tied the female record with her seventh surfing world title, mathematically clinching at the season-ending Maui Pro on Monday.

“Surfing means everything to me. It’s given me everything,” she said. “I’ll never forget being a young girl, surfing all day long. It’s all I could think about. It’s still my first love.”

Gilmore, 30, joined retired countrywoman Layne Beachley with seven championships. Only Kelly Slater, with 11, has more among men and women.

“She could easily win a dozen IMO and I hope she does,” was posted on Slater’s Instagram Story.

Gilmore clinched when American Lakey Peterson was eliminated on the first day of the Maui contest on Monday. Peterson needed to win Maui and have Gilmore fail to reach the semifinals for a chance at her first world title.

“So much for me to learn still,” the 24-year-old Peterson said. “Congrats to Stephanie. What a beautiful surfer. It’s so cool to have her kind of as inspiration, really. ... There’s no one more deserving. It hurts, but it’s been a really fun year.”

Gilmore won four straight championships from 2007-10, then again in 2012 and 2014. She is an early medal favorite for the sport’s Olympic debut in 2020, along with countrywoman Tyler Wright (2016, 2017 World champ) and the two or three Americans who will qualify for Tokyo.

Hawaiian Carissa Moore is the lone U.S. woman to win a world title since Lisa Andersen won four straight from 1994-97. Australians Gilmore, Beachley and Wright combined for 16 of last 20 crowns.

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