Stephanie Gilmore's Secret Travelling Skill


If the six-time world surfing champion ever tires of the waves, there’s a baggage-handling job with her name on it.

How often do you travel?

I’m on the road from the end of March until Christmas. This is my 12th year on the World Surf League tour.

What makes it into your suitcase?

It can be hard when I’m jumping between different climates but I make sure I have good outfits I can wear during the day, plus bikinis, a couple of wetsuits and between four and eight surfboards. As long as I have those basic ingredients, I’m set. 

How do you transport that many boards?

I take two board bags – each of them about six-foot-three long – and pad them out with bubble wrap or wetsuits.

Does anyone help you carry them?

Sometimes I’m with friends or my sister and they’ll help but I can make it happen myself. I can carry two board bags plus my travel bag, my wheelie bag that turns into a backpack and my handbag. It’s actually like a workout between flights!

What other surfing gear do you need to take with you?

Four sets of fins, four or five leg ropes and wax. You can’t travel with ding-repair equipment so there are a few things you have to buy on the road. Other than that, a good bikini and sunscreen.

What do you wear on the plane?

Anything linen, a pair of tracksuit pants that don’t look super-daggy or yoga pants with an oversized hoodie. I travel in slip-on shoes so I get through security faster.

What goes into your carry-on?

A glass water bottle, a hydrating lip balm, headphones and a notebook – I prefer to put pen to paper than type something out on a phone. I also take this eucalyptus sinus clearer; after 12 hours on a plane, it’s nice to breathe in some essential oils.

How do you entertain yourself during the flight?

I love listening to music – putting on a great song can change your frame of mind. I’m a big movie geek, too. It’s tough when you need to sleep and there are really great movies available; before you know it, you haven’t slept at all because you’ve watched 40 movies in a row!

Do you find it easy to fall asleep on the plane?

I use melatonin [tablets], which is a natural way to fall asleep. I like them because you don’t wake up drowsy. I travel with T2 Sleep Tight tea as well.

When you’re flying to a competition, how do you make sure your body is in good nick when you land?

I wear compression socks to help with swelling. I walk to the galley and stretch my hamstrings and quads and move my ankles around to get the blood flowing.

How many days before an event do you like to arrive?

Two full days is good. If it’s somewhere like Brazil, on the opposite side of the planet, I like to arrive three or four days earlier to get in sync with the time zone.

What do you do to combat jet lag?

Going for a surf is the best way I know to fight jet lag. I try to do that as soon as I can, no matter where I land. If the waves aren’t good, I’ll swim some laps in a pool or go for a walk. 

SEE ALSO: Travel Tips With Olympic Aerial Skiier Danielle Scott

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