Gilmore now the real deal
By ADAM WRATTEN
KINGSCLIFF surfer Stephanie Gilmore could become a millionaire within five years after signing a sponsorship deal with surfwear company Rip Curl.
The 17-year-old schoolgirl signed a five-year performance-based sponsorship agreement yesterday, which has the potential to provide her with a seven-figure income over the term of the contract.
The deal could put Gilmore, who became surfing's hottest property when she beat the world's best to win the Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks in March, among the top five highest-paid female surfers in the world.
Surf industry leaders believe she will become the face of a new generation of emerging women surfers.
"A contract like this really shows how far women's surfing has come in the past few years," Gilmore said yesterday.
"I'm so happy to be part of that.
"I think competing in the WQS (World Qualifying Series) next year, a lot of the girls are going to be thinking 'Wow, she's the girl to beat', so I'll have to produce the goods."
ASP president Wayne Bartholomew said Gilmore was destined to lead the next generation of women superstars.
"Steph is definitely at the leading edge of a new generation and she will be the leader of that generation," Bartholomew said.
In March, Gilmore stunned the international surfing community when she become the youngest winner of a women's World Championship Tour (WCT) event, winning the Roxy Pro only five weeks after her 17th birthday. Gilmore beat reigning world champion Sofia Mulanovich and six-time world champion Layne Beachley to claim the title.
Gilmore will look to add to her reputation when she heads to California in October to compete in a WCT event before defending her junior world title.
Then, she's straight back to school to complete her HSCs.
Gilmore intends to put a deposit on a home on Duranbah hill with her new-found riches, although she will have to wait until she is 18 before she can get a mortgage.
"Hopefully, I'll get some good deposits on a house and set myself up," Gilmore said.
"My dad always tells me about the surfers that have had money in the past and thrown it away. I think it's important to use it wisely."