Words by Sam Haddad & main photo by Roxy

Six-time world surf champion Stephanie Gilmore is by far the most decorated female wave rider of the modern era. But that isn’t why you should join the 477,000 other people who follow her on Instagram.

She rarely posts contest pics anyway, though if she does they’re always an original and considered take on competition surfing. No the reason you should follow her is for the pure, unadulterated escapism. The chance to step out of your regular life and into a halcyon world of surfing at its most soulful.

She wins Instagram like she wins surf contests. Not by performing the most progressive and aggressive manoeuvre she can muster but by using style to get things done.

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Instagram can be a tricky thing if you’re an attractive female sportswoman. Do you flaunt your hotness in the hope of gaining maximum likes and maximum coverage for your sponsors? Or do you cover up because you’re an athlete not a model, and want to be judged accordingly.

Stephanie Gilmore has always charted a different path. She doesn’t gaze longingly into the camera or post tonnes of skimpy bikini pics; constant cleavage shots this is not. But she does post stylish shots of her wearing swimwear that wouldn’t look out of place in a fashion spread.

Lil' salute to the Rainbow Bay gods for treating us yesterday haha. Another chance today! I love my job @wsl @roxy #RoxyPro #DinersOnly

A post shared by Stephanie (@stephaniegilmore) on

"Gilmore's Instagram is a chance to step out of your regular life and into a halcyon world of surfing at its most soulful"

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Alongside pictures of her longboarding in hip-looking dungarees, or cold water surfing in Iceland, or riding an endless tube that looks so blue and pleasurable you almost want to dunk your head into your phone.

It honestly feels like a feed that she runs for her own pleasure, rather than a sponsor-pimping exercise. And we’re more than happy to go along for the ride.

You can follow Stephanie Gilmore here. Looking for more Instagram inspiration? Check out our Adventure-gram series.

To read the rest of Mpora’s June ‘Peace’ Issue head here

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