Stephanie Gilmore will shoot for a seventh world surfing championship in Hawaii next week.American pair Sage Erickson and Alana Blanchard are the first obstacles in Stephanie Gilmore’s path as she aims to secure a seventh world surfing championship in Hawaii.
Gilmore has been drawn against the two United States surfers in the opening round of next week’s season-ending Maui Pro.
If Gilmore reaches the semi-finals, she’ll claim the title and match Layne Beachley’s record of seven women’s world championships.
Gilmore, the defending event champion, holds a 6915-point lead over nearest rival Lakey Peterson in the title standings.
Blanchard, a former full-time tour competitor, is competing under a wildcard for the Maui Pro in what will be her first World Surf League event since giving birth to son Banks in January.
“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous but I’m just so excited and I need to settle down,” the 28-year-old said.
“It will be good to see everyone and to have the chance to surf such an amazing wave with just one other girl.”
Peterson has been drawn against fellow Americans Malia Manuel and Zoe McDougall in her opening heat.
The American must win the event to have any hope of forcing the world title into a surf-off.
The window for the Maui Pro begins on Monday AEDT, with Gilmore’s heat the third in the first round.
HOW THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE DECIDED
* Gilmore will win her seventh world title with a third or better at the Maui Pro
* If she finishes fifth or worse, Peterson must win the event to force a surf-off for the title
* In the event of a tie for any world title at the end of the season, the tied surfers will have a “surf-off” during the final event and the format will be determined by the Commissioner’s office.