Teen sensation sends world champ Gilmore packing
WORLD champion Stephanie Gilmore has felt the full force of the next generation after being knocked out of her local World Surf League event by Caroline Marks.
Gold Coaster Gilmore had tipped the 17-year-old Marks to shine this year and she did just that with a masterclass in the pair's quarter-final on Saturday.
Florida's Marks (16.80 points) shocked the big crowd on Duranbah Beach with 8.33 and 8.47 waves to leave the seven-time world champion scratching for answers.
Gilmore (8.77) managed a 7.17 but could only couple it with a 1.60 as she scoured the horizon for something to help her contend with the teenager.
"Just mistake after mistake basically," Gilmore lamented.
"Being my home break - I surf this beach every day when I'm home - you'd think I would've been able to figure it out a bit more."
It is a missed opportunity for Gilmore, with fellow contenders Lakey Peterson and Courtney Conlogue also eliminated, but a major boost for Marks' title hopes.
But the teenager was not thinking that far ahead.
"Steph's my idol, been my idol since I started surfing and still is," she said.
"I'm still starstruck by her, so to be like competing against her an beating her is insane.
"I'm super humbled. It definitely gives me tons of confidence."