I’m just going to come right out and say it: I love Steph Gilmore. Ever since I saw her in Vogue magazine last May I’ve been enamored. What’s not to love? She shreds on a surfboard, has long sun-bleached blonde hair, and a smile that seems to never end. Not to mention she did right by the sport of surfing and won another ESPY tonight.
At ESPN’s annual award show, Gilmore took home her second ESPY award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete. The last time she won the award was in 2010 in the same category. The competition included skateboarding’s Leticia Bufoni, snowboarding’s Kelly Clark, and motocross rider Laia Sanz.
Last week the five-time World Champ was the center of a controversial sexy promo video for the Roxy Pro Biarritz, which intended to generate excitement about her role as Roxy’s newest team rider. A debacle ensued that led to the resignation of a Quiksilver employee, and the Internet literally exploded with powerful opinions about the way she (and women more generally) are portrayed in marketing. But all that evaporated at the 2013 ESPY awards. At least momentarily.
No matter your opinion of sex in marketing or the current state of women’s surfing and beyond, one thing is for certain: Steph Gilmore is smiling from ear-to-ear as she adds that new hardware to her collection. And I’m still enamored.