Australian surfing champion Steph Gilmore shocked to leave Hawaii’s pipeline early: ‘Hero to Zero’

Eight-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore felt like she’d gone from ‘heroine to zero’ after suffering an early shock from two American teenagers at Pipeline.

Gilmore was pushed into the elimination round after posting a two-wave total of just 2.8 in her opening run in Hawaii.

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That meant the 35-year-old Australian had to finish in the top two in her three-person elimination run in the second round, and she found herself in last place with five minutes to go against Americans Caitlin Simmers and Alyssa Spencer.

Gilmore needed a 3.03 score to move into second ahead of the injured 19-year-old Spencer, but her attempt to demolish a barrel with just two minutes to go failed when the wave crashed over her.

This meant 17-year-old rookie Simmers won the run with a score of 12.67 ahead of Spencer (6.63), with Gilmore (6.43) eliminated.

Stephanie Gilmore was bundled into Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline from the Billabong Pro. Credit: Getty Images

“It’s funny, I feel like I went from hero to zero,” said defending champion Gilmore.

“Surfing has a way of keeping you humble, that’s for sure. Caity (Simmers) did really well, she sat and waited and got two really good waves.

“But that’s the sport, that’s the way it is and there’s no better motivation than having a shocker and wanting to come back better.”

The result is by no means a disaster for Gilmore, as she proved last year when she missed the 2022 pipeline event after being forced into quarantine.

She bounced back from that, finishing fifth overall and sneaking into the season finale.

Gilmore then won five straight heats to capture a famous world title.

American Courtney Conlogue was another high-profile casualty of Friday’s elimination round (AEDT).

Simmers and Spencer ended their dream runs in the round of 16.

Two-time world champion Tyler Wright advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating fellow Australian Sally Fitzgibbons in the round of 16.

Wright posted a two-wave total of 10.24 to beat Fitzgibbons (7.27) and set up a quarterfinal showdown against star Brazilian Tatiana Weston-Webb.

Molly Picklum became the second Australian to finish in the last eight after beating compatriot Isabella Nichols in the round of 16.

Picklum meets five-time world champion Carissa Moore in the quarterfinals.

Defending Pipeline champion and local favorite Moana Jones Wong was sent home by American Lakey Peterson in the round of 16.

Peterson will face Costa Rica’s Brisa Hennessy when the action resumes, while the fourth quarterfinals will be an all-Hawaiian showdown between Gabriela Bryan and Bettylou Sakura Johnson.

All seven Australian men, led by world No. 3 Jack Robinson, made it through to the third round on Thursday but there was no further action for the men on Friday.

– with AAP

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Confusion erupts after BBL referee’s howl Australian surfing champion Steph Gilmore shocked to leave Hawaii’s pipeline early: ‘Hero to Zero’

James Brien

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