Olympics on surf champ Gilmore's mind

Her impressive Bali WSL win not only put Stephanie Gilmore back on top of the world tour rankings but gives her an edge in the race for an Olympic berth.

stephanie gilmore of australia looks on during the women39s qualifying round of the world surf league surf ranch pro in lemoore california
STEPHANIE GILMORE of Australia looks on during the women's qualifying round of the World Surf League Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, California. Picture: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The added challenge of Olympic qualification is igniting the extraordinary competitiveness of world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore.

The seven-time world champion reclaimed the world No.1 ranking on Saturday with victory in the World Surf League event in Bali.

On her way to the title, she defeated Australians Nikki Van Dijk and Sally Fitzgibbons, giving her a boost in the race to secure one of two spots for Australian women at the inaugural Olympic surfing event in Tokyo next year.

Gilmore said the fact four Australians reached the last eight at Keramas hadn't escaped her attention.

"To have myself, Sally, Nikki and Bronte (Macaulay) all in the quarter-finals and with the Olympic qualification being just as important this year ... it's something that's playing on my mind as well," the 31-year-old told AAP.

"It's not just the world title race ... there's so many talented Australians on tour and we're all battling against each other."

The top eight women's surfers from this year's world tour will gain a spot in the 20-strong Olympic field but only two Australians can be selected.

Gilmore said the added lure of adding an Olympic medal to her world titles was definitely driving her in 2019.

"It's cool, it gives me more drive, more excitement," she said.

"It's like a whole new goal and, yeah, I'm into it."

The next stop of the WSL tour will be the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia, with the competition window beginning on May 29.


AAP