While we all seem to spend much time pontificating the best male surfers in the world, let’s have a quick look at the best girls in the water.
Our current number one-rated surfer, Stephanie Gilmore from Australia, is one of the most stylish professional surfers in the world. She has the glide, and she has the trim, enough to make many surfers jealous. Her recent performance in J-Bay at the Corona Open JBay was a deserving win, as she quickly took to Supertubes and its nuances, finding the high lines and sneaking into the barrels. Steph has a number of world titles under her belt (six) and has many more to come. She is also one of the more popular of the women surfers, with young girls the world over wanting to meet her and to watch her surfing. Her massive smile and friendly demeanor earned her the nickname ‘Happy Gilmore’ and it seems to have stuck. With a decent lead this year, she might be able to make it her seventh world title.
Lakey Peterson from the USA is the surfer following closely on Stephanie’s heels, desperate to overtake her and earn her first world title. Peterson is extremely fit, and one of the strongest women on tour, with her strength often proving to be the difference that sees her win heats when the conditions are tough and grueling. Lakey also has an impeccable Big Match Temperament, and when the pressure is on she quickly ups her game and thrives on the stakes. She has suffered from injuries in the past, but at this stage while sitting at number 2, she is fit and healthy and ready for an all-out assault through the back half of the world tour.
Everyone loves Tatiana Weston-Webb, the bubbly and exciting goofy-footer surfing under the Brazilian flag. Formerly representing Hawaii, Tati changed her nationality to be in a better position for the upcoming Olympic Games. She is a powerful and energetic surfer and she loves it when the conditions get a bit bigger, feeling comfortable and confident in waves of consequence. Her dynamic backhand approach in the many right-handers of the Championship Tour has seen her rise to the third spot on the Jeep Leaderboard, but she has yet to reach her potential. Vivacious and forthright, Tati is a much-admired surfer on tour, and should she push through with one more big result on the back-end she could easily be edging her way towards a legitimate shot at her first world title.
Johanne Defay is from France and she is a bit of a dark horse at number 4 on the Women’s ratings. Despite being on the Championship Tour since 2014, she hasn’t been featured in excessive media and press outside of the World Surf League bubble, but most definitely deserves more attention. Her Unique Selling Point is that she focuses on big moves – one big hit – as opposed to the general trend of three medium hits and a neat finish. She has a bag of innovation with her, and when she launches into something big and new, she wins heats. She is also a fitness fanatic and pushes her training hard when she is not surfing. This has also helped her stay in the top ten, as the Women’s Tour expands and moves into some venues where fitness is paramount.
Carissa Moore is from Hawaii and is one of the most polished and dynamic surfers on the Championship Tour. Most men wish they could surf like her. She is fast and powerful, has all the new school tricks, and has all the quintessential moves dialed. When she needs to perform a hard open-face carve, she holds her line, and when the wave requires a long, drawn-out cutback into the foam bounce she keeps her speed lines all the way through. She’s a three-times world champion and is currently on the hunt for motivation to find her fourth world title. With just three events left on the tour for the year, including the Roxy Pro France where she is defending champion and the Hawaiian Women’s Pro at Haleiwa where she is very much at home, the rest of the year looks surprisingly promising for the sprightly natural-footer.